Skip to main content

Is it a box of Kleenex or a box of facial tissues? Are they cotton swabs or are they Q-tips? Is it a bottle of Coke or a bottle of soda? The panicle of branding is reached when the product itself takes on the name of the brand.

Yet branding goes beyond just the product. When you see Coca-Cola’s signature logo you may want to “Taste the Feeling” or have “A coke and a smile,” or, if you’re old enough, you’d “Like to Buy the World a Coke…”

So, is the brand a tagline, a jingle, a logo, the product itself, or does branding and corporate identity go way beyond these things?

Branding and Corporate Identity

If you’re going to help a company “brand” themselves or create a corporate identity, a logo, a tagline, and a jingle will be helpful but the brand will only be as good as the company and the products produced by that company.

Paul Rand, the famous American art director and graphic designer, explained that a logo “only by association with a product, a service, a business, or a corporation takes on any real meaning.” And that the logo’s meaning or significance will only be as good as the product it represents.

So, if you like Pepsi you may not think much of the Coke logo. Does that mean that the Coca Cola logo is not effective?

Rand also said, “A logo doesn’t sell, it identifies.” So the logo represents the brand. The same goes for the tagline and jingle. To develop a brand or corporate identity you must start with the product itself.

Examine a Brand

Let’s take Apple as an example. The beauty of Apple products, in my humble opinion, is their ease of use. This goes all the way back to the first time I used a Macintosh computer. The idea of a using a mouse and a GUI interface instead of having to enter programming code on the keyboard was a stroke of genius. I know that it was Xerox and the developers at PARC that came up with the mouse and GUI, but it was Apple that had the vision to make it accessible to the public at large.

The vision to make products that are easy to use is just part of the Apple brand. Apple products are also sleek, clean and stylish. Once you understand that Apple’s goal is to offer consumers easy to use, stylish products then you can see how their branding follows suit. Their logo is simple and stylish. Their products come in plain white packaging with minimal text and graphics. Their stores are open, clean, and inviting. Even the employees at the Apple stores are dressed in simple, plain, and comfortable clothes.

The truth is, if Apple products were cumbersome and hard to use no amount of sleek packaging and simple, clean logos would sell their products. As Paul Rand said, the logo is only as good as the product it represents.

It’s interesting to note that Paul Rand and Steve Jobs had a similar approach to design. Rand’s designs were simple and clean. Take for example his UPS logo and the logo design for ABC television. In fact the two worked together after Jobs left Apple and founded NeXT, Inc. And Rand was later featured in one of Apple’s Think different campaign.

Lessons Learned

To create a brand you must understand the goal of the product or service. Is the goal of the service to make life easier? Is the goal of the product to make you healthier? Is the goal to make your automobile run smoother? Once you understand the goal of the product then you can create the logo, tagline, jingle, packaging and all of the other necessary advertising and marketing devices to present the product to consumers.

A big step in the branding process is finding a company that can assist with developing your product along with designing and producing the marketing pieces. You’ll need a company that provides quality graphic design services along with the ability to create video, produce and disseminate online content and a print production facility that can produce and distribute your marketing materials. Depending on your product you may need a facility that can take a unique package design or point of sales design and produce a point of purchase display.

When it comes to developing a brand for yourself or someone else, remember to start by examining and understanding the product or service. And who knows, with the right logo, tagline and jingle you may come up the next big brand.