By Joe Heapy
Engine's Martta Oliveira hosted a group of MBA students from Brazil in our studio today as part of International Brand Week 2017 at Brunel University. The discussion reminded us of a quote attributed to Walter Landor, arguably the inventor of modern branding who said, "Products are built in factories; brands are built in the mind".
Branding describes a set of actions that have the objective of engendering a particular perception of your business in the minds of your consumers. These actions are often carried out by a marketing department. It's their job to do the 'engendering'. A marketing approach to branding (brand marketing) focuses on the externalisation (through image and tone) and enactment (through behaviours) of a brand's values, personality and positioning. Furthermore, a well-formulated brand is as much a mirror held up to its target audience as it is a presentation of the values and market positioning of the business.
Traditionally, marketing has operated on the premise that brands are to be communicated. That a brand is a message to be broadcast. Yet, consumers experience a service and a business through every interaction they have with it, not just marketing communications but every touchpoint in every channel. So, if a business only focuses on the message (what the brand says it is) and ignores the experience (what the brand does) and indeed the value proposition itself (what the business is actually offering) then it can't truly say it is in control of the 'perception it is engendering'. It can't truly say it is in control of its brand. If brand is about engendering perception then 'branding' is about more than communication. It must include the design and management of the complete customer experience.