Head of client services, Roz Chiro, breaks down the psychology of branding
Branding is a collection of activities which I’ve seen described as an art. It’s a cycle of aligning what you want people to think about your company or products with the reality. It’s about constantly managing perceptions and ensuring that the messages you put out about your brand are authentic and true to your company or products. A sign of great branding is the ability to create shortcuts in the mind of your customer, to help them remember you when they filter the myriad of messages we’re presented with on a daily basis.
In a full service agency, why’ve you chosen branding?
My love for brands dates back to the early days of my career when I was an account executive on a Coca-Cola account. Up until then, I’d only ever read about brands, how to establish them and look after them. It was the first time that I’d encountered a living and breathing brand: it was fascinating. I’ve been hooked ever since.
How does branding match your personality?
I find people fascinating. How our mind and feelings work is amazing. I enjoy psychology and the study of what drives us to feel, think or behave in a certain way. Psychology Today recently published an article that talks about a nonconscious form of human memory concerned with the perceptual identification of words and objects. For example, a person sees the word ‘yellow’ will be slightly faster to recognize the word ‘banana’. This happens because yellow and banana are closely associated in memory. Remember the shortcuts I was talking about earlier? This explains how we can recognise the product in the picture below. Fascinating isn’t it?
Part of being a great marketer is understanding how (and why) people think and act the way they do. Understanding some key principles of the human psyche can be what takes a marketing campaign from good to amazing.
What’s the newest thing in branding?
Consumers are sick of being lied to. They are buying more responsibly and are prepared to pay more for it. They are using their money to speak for them. They are choosing brands that have a purpose or acting in the best interest of society. And brands will have to adjust.
If the brand doesn’t have a purpose nowadays, it can quickly become irrelevant. Brands that truly understand their role in the world and make it a positive one are the ones that are winning.
What’s the future of branding?
Authenticity reigns supreme. The drive for authenticity will become a benchmark for which the viability of a brand performance will be measured. Inauthentic claimers of a purpose can lead to the brand being criticised or ignored.
How does creativity factor into branding?
Branding has been described as an art. It doesn’t get any more creative than that!
What’s your favourite brand?
I don’t play favourites!
Coca-Cola: What was instilled in me many years ago, remains a part of me. I only opt for the blue and red competitor drink if my choice is really limited! They inspire moments of optimism and happiness through their brands and actions.
Dove: Unilever is using the brand to help improve the self-esteem of girls worldwide. Their product packaging is celebrating the variety of shape in women’s bodies.
Starbucks: They’re using the brand to improve people’s lives worldwide – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time. This starts internally in how they look after their staff – paying tuitions fees and housing allowance.
What’s your dream branding project?
MOLESKINE! They have a great product that I adore. But its soul is buried corporate jargon, so its personality doesn’t come through. I would like to set MOLESKINE’s brand soul free!
If a creative agency were a car, what part would you be?
The body of the car. It’s what everyone sees and recognises before they even see the badge.
What superpower would help you with branding?
Enhanced mental acuity, which will give me advanced analytical skills and out of this world perceptive skills.