Every company brand is an image. It is an image that is activated in us and, as we open a box or package, pours a series of assessments of that company. Thus, the image acts as a label that defines for us the box of associations and meanings connected with the company.
The brand, the image and the label act as a promise, a promise that within the box we will find what we seek. However, one does not seek just one thing: you do not really want to buy a suit, not even a commodity like wheat grains, but the desire to acquire an specific suit and wheat in order to feel satisfied. Here is where the representative of the product, the company, takes form through the brand image, because from here it is embodied and exercises its influence. Do I want any suit or the one that makes me feel good personally and socially? Do I want any wheat or the one that guarantees me quality and gives me confidence in the person who sells it? That is why we do not just look for and buy things. We look for and buy things with stories attached to them.
As such, every brand is an image, and every picture tells a story, one that is only developed in the imagination of those who think and feel the brand. There, the story frames a cause and effect, i.e., exerts a phenomenon of anticipation on the part of who it is representing, where it projects something that they consider will happen when you consume that brand.
For example, an outdated and old fashioned brand of clothing may awaken various emotions in the person who imagines it: some imagine using old and out of fashion clothes, as is the feeling of walking in a modern world wearing clothing from the past and so to be seen and evaluated by the world as one that belongs to the past. Another is the story of someone who buys clothes for its price and that brand could embody a good deal.
In this way, this or any other story will categories the brand starting with existing associations and prejudices. Because from this classification, the person will assess their strengths, differentiate the brand from others and will define it in particular. Also, the person will associate the brand with issues that don’t seem to relate to the company, such as physical sensations and emotions, childhood memories or other bodies. These can also include memories of people who had used similar brands as well as memories of shapes and objects that may belong to other scenarios of life, yet still share with the brand a certain rhythm or shared history.
Moreover, the history of the brand will be categorized by prejudices such as those related to the country of origin of that brand, about the business of the corporation itself, of those working in it, about the social intentions and environmental impact of such enterprises, i.e. about the imagined or real history of the company.
In conclusion, we can think that a corporate brand is a connection point between what a person looks for and what the company can give. Thus the label, the brand image, is the intermediary of the relationship between the consumer and the product because it functions as a door that opens or closes this potential relationship.
Therefore, all this makes us think that what we see through the story of the brand tells us not just the history of the company or product but makes us see ourselves acting in a possible future history.
Finally, we could consider that the trick of branding is not just working on what’s inside the box, but on the label that identifies the box from other boxes.
© Sebastián Guerrini, 2010