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SMU 101 - Session 02: The Basics of Branding - Branding Identity

image showing toys building the word 'brand'

Purpose/Aim of this session

In this session you will be exploring the general concept of a brand. This session acts as an overview before we delve more deeply into specific aspects of branding over the remaining sessions.

Learning Aims for this session:

  • You will be introduced to further concepts of what a brand is
  • You will explore some basic aspects of a brand
  • You will explore some basic components of that make effective branding stories

Learning Outcomes for this session:

At the end of this session, you will be able to:

  • Define what a brand is
  • Identify some of the basic elements of a brand
  • Distinguish between a brand and a product/service
  • Explain the importance of strategic storytelling in the branding experience

How this Session Works:

  1. Read through the Overview that accompanies this session. This provides an overall context for the session.
  2. Work your way through the items on the Preparatory section that accompanies this session.
  3. Listen to the Lecture that accompanies this session.
  4. Work your way the branding scenario in the "Scenario" tab. The scenario is a practical exercise activity to develop your initial understanding of the branding concept.
  5. Work your way the template in the "Template" tab. The template will support you as you take the first steps in developing your understanding of your brand.
  6. You can browse through some carefully selected material in the "Reading Room" tab. These materials will build upon your initial Brand concepts.

SMU 101 Session 2 Study Activities

  • Overview
  • Preparatory Activities
  • Lecture
  • Scenarios
  • Template
  • Reading Room

the branding flow

So what is branding? It is the foundation upon which all of our marketing efforts and strategies are built.

Branding is the art of strategic story telling. We craft a narrative in order to give our brand a personality, a character, in order to make deeper connections with audiences. These stories need to be strategic. In other words, they need to be crafted in such a way that leads to action - namely engaging with our products and services.

Traditional marketing storytelling is typically a 'buy this' message. In a world saturated with 'buy this' messages, consumers turn a deaf ear. This end result for a business is an ever-diminishing cycle of return where more and more 'buy' messages yield ever diminishing returns.

Strategic storytelling doesn't focus on customers, it focuses on audiences - audiences potentially interested in what a business, organization or service provider has to say. And its products or services. Audiences participate. Customers do not. This is branding at its most effective.

With strategic storytelling, we know what it is we want to say about our products and services. However, we need to frame our stories from the audience's perspective and not our own. We need to frame our stories not from our expectations but theirs. We need to convey an experience that is important to the audience and not ourselves. That's not to say our storytelling doesn't include a 'buy this' message. It means that message is implied but never stated - almost appearing ancillary, peripheral, to the story itself. Think IKEA. Name one story experience where it explicitly says 'buy IKEA'. You won't find one. The story is 'think IKEA'.

A brand story is never about you. It will always be about your customer and their experience and feelings.

Your brand story should always have your audience at the heart of it. Use it to explain a story scenario from their point of view. Let them take your story and embellish it so they can deliver it with passion. Through this, your audience can picture the scenario your story relays, identify with the emotions involved within it, remember it, act upon it - and, most importantly in our 24/7 connected world - re-tell your story.

Looking at branding in this light, a brand acts as our ambassador, speaking on the behalf of our products or services.

Ignoring this basic building block - or getting it wrong - results in, well, basically going round and round in ever diminishing circles.

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1. A short video to kick things off.

Before we kicks things off, we want to address a common question that gets asked in the classroom. Is there a difference between brand experience and customer experience? Yes. The short video below does an excellent job in explaining the difference between the two.

2. Watch the short video below from Darren Persinger.

This video re-caps the notion of storytelling introduced in Session 1. Darren provides an excellent overview of what we call strategic storytelling (he refers to this as story selling). In this video, Darren demonstrates his point using a real estate story. Think about your brand as you listen to his key points, adapting his scenario to fit your own brand. Also think about the strategic storytelling points raised by Darren in the first preparatory video as you watch the video below.

3. Watch the Stanley Hainsworth video below

Stanley Hainsworth has been a creative director at Nike, Lego, and Starbucks - each an iconic brand. While Hainsworth has a formidable and remarkable eye for design and style, he insists that the key to creating a brand that attracts fans, that people love, is telling the company's story. This is the focal point in the video which follows below.

Hainsworth covers companies have a persona, using Apple as one example.  This video also builds upon the idea of differentiation.

4. Before starting the lecture, please read the short articles listed below.

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The video below is the first half of our formal lecture for this session. This video covers the topic of storytelling, audience memory and how these relate to branding.

The video below is the second half of our formal lecture for this session. This video covers the topic of essential brand story elements and attributes. You may find the document that appears below this video a helpful reference to download, print and to have to hand. It will help you visualize the relationship between two key concepts covered in the video below: the 7 Storytelling Elements and the 6 Levels of Meaning. Once you have watched the video below, please continue on to the final to videos which you will find beneath the embedded document. 

Brand Stories - 7 Story Elements & Six Levels of Meaning Diagram

Work your way through the lecture videos below, which builds upon the introductory concepts outlined in the lecture videos for this session. As you view both videos, think about the seven elements of storytelling, the six levels of meaning and the personality trait table. Apply these to the examples given in both of the videos below.

The video below provides a great overview covering how to discover a brand personality.

In the video below, Carmine Gallo demonstrates how extraordinary leaders such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and others communicate the vision and the value behind their service, product, or brand.

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Before starting to work through the scenarios, please read the article below. The article frames some of the main aspects you will cover in the scenario for this session:

van der Loo, H. Caught in the Authenticity Paradox, Living The Brand. http://www.livingthebrand.com/USER/Caught_in_the_Authenticity_Paradox.html?CompID=3&pageId=6&componentContentID=4

Scenario 1: Case Studies

Scenarios have been provided to prompt you to demonstrate your understanding of the concepts introduced in this session. It's an assignment designed for you to reflect on your own brand. This reflection will inform the answers you'll be providing on the Template that accompanies this session.

In this session, the article below outlines four scenarios (British Airways, Skype, Dove and Unilever) that are relevant to this session. The scenarios are presented as case studies. The article provides a mixture of reading and watching a few short videos. As you work your way through the case studies, think about the concept of audience, an audience's point of view (POV) and strategic storytelling.

The scenarios can be accessed via:

Bolger, M. Brand storytelling: campaigns with real life stories, The Marketer.
http://www.themarketer.co.uk/analysis/trends/brand-storytelling

Scenario 2: SWOT Analysis

S.W.O.T. is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. A SWOT analysis is an organized list of your business’s greatest strengths, weaknesses, available and tangent opportunities, and the threats it faces.

Doing a SWOT analysis forces you to think about your business in a whole new way. It also forces us to think about our brands in a different way.

The point of a SWOT analysis is to help you develop a strong business strategy. This, in turn, will inform your brand strategy.  Business strategy and brand strategy share a symbiotic relationship - the two should always be inter-linked.

Strengths and weaknesses are refer to the internal aspects of a company or organization (think: reputation, patents, location). You can change them over time but not without some work. Opportunities and threats refer to external forces that impact on your business or organization (think: suppliers, competitors, prices, drought, war, government policy making, etc.)—they are out there in the world and in the marketplace - happening whether you like it or not. In other words, opportunities and threats are beyond your control. You can't change them.

Existing businesses can use a SWOT analysis, at any time, to assess a changing environment and respond proactively. In fact, it's recommended that a business or organization should conduct a strategy review meeting at least once a year that begins with a SWOT analysis.

New businesses and organizations should use a SWOT analysis as a part of their planning process. There is no "one size fits all" plan for your business, and thinking about your new business in terms of its unique "SWOTs" will put you on the right track right away, and save you from a lot of headaches later on.

Before you begin your SWOT analysis (You will find a template below), please familiarize yourself with specific aspects of SWOT analysis in the short articles below:

Your Online SWOT Analysis

  1. Visit Business Model Fiddle https://bmfiddle.com 

  2. Return to this page and click the following link to open up our Branding Model Canvas in a new window: https://bmfiddle.com/f/#/TbkM3
  3. Click the black widget icon in the upper left hand corner of the canvas. You can rename this canvas and add any information you feel appropriate.  Then click the Green arrow which will appear in the upper right hand corner of the canvas. This will save a copy to your account.
    business fiddle save icon

  4. Read the Business Fiddle help / guidance notes via: https://bmfiddle.com/tour.html  This will show you how to enter text, move the colored blocks around, add more blocks, delete blocks, etc.

We have also provided a PDF on Google Docs which you can print and/or download:
https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1PUY1j04IFn59vfLN4ZE73PaWM1nAjXCGeTwOXs-7WZo/edit?usp=sharing

British Airways launched a campaign in the US to promote the routes from North America to India and to encourage more ex-pat Indians to buy airfares to their homeland. The campaign “A ticket to visit Mum”  was launched to coincide with Mother’s Day in the US. It featured a real-life mother in India talking about how much she misses her son Ratesh who emigrated to the US several years ago. America. Ratesh moved from his home in Mumbai to New York when he was just 17 and in the film reveals that he longs for his mother's homemade Bhindi, his favourite childhood meal.

 

His mother is shown shopping for food and then cooking her son’s favourite meal for BA to fly to him in New York. But she is surprised when he pays her a visit in person after BA flies him back to India to reunite with his Mum – just in time for dinner.

 

The five-minute ad was created by Ogilvy & Mather, New York and garnered over 75,000 views on YouTube in the first couple of days after being posted.

 

A genuine and honest approach helps reinforce or potentially change our own opinions and therefore affection for brands, says Pedro Martins. “For brands like BA that connects people every day, it’s about travellers’ journeys and how it affects their relationships.”

- See more at: http://www.themarketer.co.uk/analysis/trends/brand-storytelling/#sthash.z8TnhAu4.dpuf

British Airways launched a campaign in the US to promote the routes from North America to India and to encourage more ex-pat Indians to buy airfares to their homeland. The campaign “A ticket to visit Mum”  was launched to coincide with Mother’s Day in the US. It featured a real-life mother in India talking about how much she misses her son Ratesh who emigrated to the US several years ago. America. Ratesh moved from his home in Mumbai to New York when he was just 17 and in the film reveals that he longs for his mother's homemade Bhindi, his favourite childhood meal.

 

His mother is shown shopping for food and then cooking her son’s favourite meal for BA to fly to him in New York. But she is surprised when he pays her a visit in person after BA flies him back to India to reunite with his Mum – just in time for dinner.

 

The five-minute ad was created by Ogilvy & Mather, New York and garnered over 75,000 views on YouTube in the first couple of days after being posted.

 

A genuine and honest approach helps reinforce or potentially change our own opinions and therefore affection for brands, says Pedro Martins. “For brands like BA that connects people every day, it’s about travellers’ journeys and how it affects their relationships.”

- See more at: http://www.themarketer.co.uk/analysis/trends/brand-storytelling/#sthash.z8TnhAu4.dpuf
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Part 1: Reading with questions to answer

Read the article below and answer the questions it asks as you read through it. At this stage of the course, don't worry if you don't have either full or definite answers. All of these questions will be addressed in the other courses offered through SMU.

We invite you to contemplate some initial questions to enable you to focus on the overall branding areas you seek to develop as you take all of the courses. This exercise will also show you how the different aspects of integrated marketing, branding and brand messaging will all fit together.

Here's the article: 

Murray, M. 2014. How to Prepare Your Brand for Business Storytelling Success, Content Marketing Institute, 23 April 2014. http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2014/04/brand-business-storytelling-success/

Part 2: Mind Mapping Exercise.

To help you build on your introductory understanding of branding, we're providing you with a mind mapping exercise to complete.

If you are unfamiliar with mind maps (and most of you probably will be), a mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks - or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea. Mind maps are used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing.

Mind maps are a very visual and interactive way to explore create ideas and concepts.

Here's an example of one below:


Create your own mind maps at MindMeister

Your template for this session will be to mind map your strategic brand storytelling strategy. Draw on the concepts that have been explored in this session. Feel free to use the above as a reference for some of the things you might like to address in your won strategy. However, your mind map should reflect your business, service, industry or organization. The above is solely presented as a generic example.

We recommend using Mind Meister. While it's free mind mapping option has certain limitations, it's fully functional for this exercise. It comes with great 'how to' information and guidance. It also works on smartphones and tablets. http://www.mindmeister.com

Here's a short video showing just how easy this tool is to use:

We recommend you re-visit your mind map as you work your way through the remaining sessions within this course. As you develop and refine your branding knowledge and understanding, you adapt, amend and update your mind map.

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The Reading Room for this session provides carefully selected resources for you to further explore the basic components of brands. The reading for this session delves much more deeply into the concepts of brand congruence and continuity.

While this reading will develop a deeper understanding of the concepts covered in this session, it is not mandatory.

Achouri, M.S. and Bouslama, N. 2010. The Effect of the Congruence between Brand Personality and Self-Image on Consumer’s Satisfaction and Loyalty: A Conceptual Framework, IBIMA Business Review, BIMA Publishing, Vol. 2010 (2010), Article ID 627203, 16 pages.
http://www.ibimapublishing.com/journals/IBIMABR/2010/627203/627203.pdf

Bergvall, J. Brand Small Brands, COCOS. http://www.metro-as.no/Artikler/Brand%20small%20Brands.pdf

du Plessis, E. 2005. Chapter 16: Recognition, Recall and Persuasion, The Advertised Mind, Kogan Page, pp 164-169
http://www.aef.com/pdf/advertised_mind_16.pdf

du Plessis, E. 2005. Chapter 17: Advertisement memories and brand linkage, The Advertised Mind, Kogan Page, pp 170-179 http://www.aef.com/pdf/advertised_mind_17.pdf

Hallward, J. 2007. Building the Brand Memory, IPSOS.
http://www.ipsos.com/asi/sites/ipsos.com.asi/files/pdf/Ipsos_LL4_BrandMemory.pdf

Keller, K.L. 1993. Conceptualizing, Measuring, and Managing Customer-Based Brand Equity, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 57, No. 1 (Jan., 1993), pp. 1-2.
https://faculty.fuqua.duke.edu/~moorman/Marketing-Strategy-Seminar-2013/Session%203/Keller.pdf

Labrecque, L.I., Krishen, A.S. and Grzeskowiak, S. 2011.  Exploring social motivations for brand loyalty: Conformity versus escapism, The Journal of Brand Management, Macmillan Publishers, Vol. 18, 7, 457–472.
https://faculty.unlv.edu/anjala/Labrecque_JBM_2011.pdf

Martin, B. Storytelling about Your Brand Online & Offline: A Compelling Guide to Discovering Your Story, Happy About. http://www.happyabout.com/bookinfo/Storytelling_about_Your_Brand_wp.pdf

Pincott, G. 2009. The Keys to Brand Success, Millward Brown.
http://www.millwardbrown.com/docs/default-source/insight-documents/points-of-view/MillwardBrown_POV_KeysToBrandSuccess.pdf

TNS. The Brain Game: Making Memories, In Focus.
http://www.tnsglobal.com/sites/default/files/whitepaper/TNS_Making_memories.pdf

Yalain, G. and Haider, A. Brand Attitude and Image Congruence Amongst Teenagers. Cranfield University.
https://dspace.lib.cranfield.ac.uk/bitstream/1826/321/2/SWP0299.pdf

 

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