After sitting down for an impromptu talk with Markus Kramer of Brand Affairs, AG (formerly Aston Martin and Harley Davidson global marketing director), it was intriguing to discover exactly what he would recommend about branding. Today’s world is much more ephemeral than previous, leading many people to become confused about what exactly constitutes a brand.
Despite the development of social media, Internet and the myriad of other innovations, branding is as similar today as it always was. The reality is that a brand is basically a label applied to a set of products. what makes the brand is the initiative which goes into it — products, ideas and promotion.
Markus gave us the biggest insight, which was that the core of branding was – and always will be – history. The more history that’s tied up in a brand, the more value – and responsibility – it has. Unfortunately, and this is especially true in the US, history is often disregarded in search of trends. We’re seeing this even more so now we have more waves of “technology” to infuse into older offerings… nonetheless Markus was insistent that history was the main deal.
The big difference between branding and promotion is that a brand is meant to denote a certain way of doing things… a lifestyle in many cases. Promotion is for a specific product. Branding is inherently more expensive than promotion as its MAIN purpose is to create demand. If you’re able to create demand, you have a strong chance at becoming a potent brand. This is why many of the world’s greatest brands only do things they actually “want” to.
If you’re inherently interested in creating a resonant brand, you need to focus on the core “innovation” the brand stands for. This “innovation” can be tangible, or intangible. The core of it is that it needs to provide its community with a completely different take on the world – another dimension. All the best brands are started by individuals, and eventually teams, who wanted to do things their own way.
Whilst creating a brand can be relatively difficult, the simple reality is that if you’re able to focus on what you want to do, you’ll start attracting a community who values your ideals & thoughts. In all honesty, creating a brand takes at least a decade of commitment / focus. You cannot expect people to just switch onto what you’re doing straight away.