HI(NY)LIFE ハイ ニューヨーク ライフ by Hitomi Watanabe Deluca
As mentioned in the post “About Branding“, at HI(NY), the Brand System is guiding light in the creation of all other touch points including websites, stationary, interior decoration, advertisements, etc. Any of these ancillary products are called Brand Collateral.
The main purpose of the Brand System is to capture the true essence of the brand by carefully researching and analyzing, bringing it to life in a visceral way so that it becomes easily understandable and shareable. We divide this Brand System into two main categories: Brand DNA and Visual Identity.
The Brand DNA is the basis of the brand.There are many factors that go into creating the brand DNA and they can change from project to project. Here we will introduce three of them.
The brand story, which is often thought of as just a brand history or a description of the brand, is one of the most important elements as it shapes the identity of the brand itself. When you tell people about your brand, company, or product as if you were telling a story, they are far more likely to be interested, support, and become a fan.
A good brand story resonates with the customer on an emotional level, rather than just stating the facts. Through the story, the customer gets to “experience” not just the brand or product, but the essence of who you are. In order to appeal to the heart, it is necessary to actually connect to the humanity of a brand. There is nothing that shuts people down faster than conventional one-sided advertising. You must be human. You must be real.
Now that the Internet and SNS have become widespread, creating and transmitting high-quality content is one of the most important ways to grow a brand. If the brand story is solid, consistent content will be produced. It’s easier to make, and convey the message to customers. All that consistent content forms into one big cohesive brand story.
The best way to tell this story is to truly be a fan yourself, actually use the product and service and share how it has benefited you. Share your journey and treat your audience like friends and family. The ideal brand story allows the audience to know, like and trust you.
Brand personality is all about crafting the brand story from a “human perspective”. It considers the brand as a “person” and defines who that person is. People feel close to those who have similar ideas and values as them and love to connect to those who they aspire to be like.
The first step is to brainstorm other brands that would resonate with your target customers. Next, find the celebrities, historical greats, movie and anime characters that they would also enjoy. From there you can summarize the brand personality in an easy-to-understand manner.
For example, we are working on a beauty brand, that is for women by women. The primary target market is independent and proactive women. We wanted the brand to feel aspirational so we selected Amelia Earhart and Lara Croft as some of the personality touchstones. This allowed us to extend their target market to younger millennials. Amelia Earhart, a female aviator, is one of America’s leading national heroines, loved and loved by all ages, and has contributed significantly to the advancement of American women. And we chose Lara Croft, a popular character, intelligent and brave, to reach the hearts of younger people. Her personality was “aspirational,” “friendly,” “adventurous,” “reliable,” and “witty.”
By clarifying the character of the brand, the thoughts, behaviors and characteristics of the brand are organic in nature and the tone of anything that the brand sends out naturally aligns.
Brand attributes can be divided into two categories: “Rational attributes” and “Emotional attributes”.
Functional Attributes describe the practical strengths of the brand. In the case of the beauty brand mentioned above, the Rational Attributes included “transparency of materials”, “healing power”, “natural materials”, “self-care”, “conscious capitalism”, etc.
And Emotional Attributes are the emotions that consumers want to feel when they touch the brand. Again referencing the above beauty brand, we wanted the audience to feel “lively,” “compassionate,” “noble,” and “full of hope.”
With the brand attributes defined, we then determine the brand values, a topic which I will elaborate on another time.