Branding — is it about repeating patterns, not messages?

Michael SemerHere’s an excellent post about the cognitive processes behind effective branding from Fast Company.  Its point?  That branding should address our propensity for pattern recognition, versus simply re-stating messages time and time again. Those kinds of patterns don’t have to be graphic, or communicative in the traditional sense:  They can be about patterns of behavior, for example, that define you in the audience’s mind.

Apparel market Uniqlo, for example, has “no brand message: Instead of selling a lifestyle to a target market, it creates small, unique projects that become tools for the user.  Each new project…differs from the others as related parts to a whole.”

That behavior becomes branding, in the minds of consumers.  And it’s incredibly flexible and adaptive, as new tools and behaviors can be layered atop the prior ones, allowing the brand to “live” organically — it’s very much in the mind of its audience, versus being a doctrinaire “look and feel” projected strictly by the marketer.

By extensions for the B2B marketer or SME, this means the way you behave has real branding value in the marketplace, so be conscious of how your interactions with your target audience can deliver a nuanced impression of brand identity. Be consistent, deliver value, and you may find that “effective branding” is much more than just a logomark or a positioning statement.


Graphic courtesy of Fast Company.

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