Digital branding is more than the visual representation of what the brand stands for. It is about designing and managing the larger visions, values and financial goals of the organization and shaping its future. It works at many levels: emotional, physical, intellectual, spiritual, digital/virtual, political, social, cultural, environmental and so on.
Successful brands know that keeping the long-term trust, loyalty and active participation of their customers or brand guardians is key to success. Branding is the most important aspect and process in any business – it is the heart, body and soul of any organization.
Digital branding = direct experience + larger purpose + active participation
Whether you do it consciously or not, you are already projecting a brand image.
• Is your brand authentic?
• Is your brand authoritative?
• Is your brand active?
• Is your brand congruent with your larger purpose?
• What direct experience do you want to design for your brand, inside and outside?
• What larger purpose and active participation does your brand provide?
Branding can present you to the world in your best possible light. Surely, it is the most important event to have within your control (even when the current social trend is ultimately about people owning brands – read more about Holistic Branding below).
What is branding?
A brand is a mixture of attributes, tangibles and intangibles, which if managed properly creates value, influence and business success. Digital branding is now the most important aspect of the business. Whether the business is a bank or a toy shop, it is the brand itself that will dictate whether it succeeds or fails. Brand success equals business success.
Branding is of paramount importance. It is all about the name, tagline, appearance, design and style. It has got to have these elements that play a part in making you want to be associated with the brand and be enticed into buying a product or services.
Starting off with the right brand image is crucial to any business. It is a priority to get the branding right at the very beginning. You are only new once, so you need to have a clear brand strategy. What is the core of your business, what is the key differentiator and does your branding reflect that?
The most important thing to spend on branding is time. Entrepreneurs tend to rush in and make decisions quickly but prevention is definitely better than cure with branding. Get it right and it pays dividends – if not, it’s a lot of effort to change things halfway through.
The first step is to manage to reduce it down to what you are selling, what is the key essence of your brand and make sure you reflect that in the name and the tagline. A cracking name and tagline can give you a massive leg-up. Research suggests that launching a brand online without proper branding research is the major reason behind the collapse of many start-ups.
Companies need consumers. In the majority of cases, consumers are spending the largest segment of their media consumption time online. The exponential force of online networks of all kinds will increasingly determine success for any brand. The ultimate function of online branding and marketing is to get you more traffic to your website and thus more loyal clients.
What is holistic branding
It’s perceptual design, construction and management of brands on all levels from spiritual/virtual to intellectual to emotional to environmental and back. Holistic Branding goes beyond traditional branding – it is a paradigm shift from what a brand is (dissociated experience of a brand) to what it does to how an individual co-creates it (associated experience). It ultimately is about people owning brands.
What holistic branding does
It different/cities. Differentiation is the construction of brands from the virtual to the actual. Differentiation is the construction of brands from the actual to the virtual. (The virtual is made up of Brands and intensities. The actual consists of actual things or actualities.) The use of ‘from’ here indicates the way in which different intensities are related in a Brand as they are expressed in actual brands.
It associates so people feel that they own the brand and they are the creators of it. The neurologist Donald Calne put it neatly: “The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to a conclusion.”
It verbalises. Brands are not nouns. Brands are verbs, they are dynamic. Holistic branding transforms core brand values into verbs.
It individualises/ personalises.
How holistic branding works
Brands become determined when they are expressed in actual things, in a sensation that accompanies an actual brand, and when that sensation is accompanied by a change in the relation of envelopment of intensities. This is a process of differentiation where actual differences allow for brands to become determined in terms of clarity and obscurity. A brand only becomes clear when it is incarnated sensually.
Holistic Branding = percepts + affects + sensation (vibration)
How to brand holistically
To brand is to mediate through the expression of intensities in an actual sensation. We call this mediating process dramatisation. Dramatisation depends on triggering sensations. Intensity is the determinant in the process of actualization. It is intensity which dramatises. Intensity creates sensation and lights up brands. Brands give sense to sensation and sensation expresses brands.
A brand must be dramatised in particular sensations for it is to be expressed in actual situations. Without such sensation, there is no creative movement in the actual – sensation is the sign that something has changed, both at the level of brands and at the level of actual things.
Brands cannot be compared through their sensations but only related through their different dramatisations of the whole brand. (This brand moves me to do this. How does it move you?)
Holistic branding – summary
Dramatise your brand to touch and move the hearts and spirits of people. Verbalise your values.
History of branding
Were Mesopotamians the first brand addicts?
25 April 2008 From New Scientist Print Edition.
Product branding first emerged in ancient Mesopotamia, the birthplace of cities and writing. So claims David Wengrow, an archaeologist at University College London, who says that bottle stops stamped with symbols some 5000 years ago are evidence of the first branded goods.
Around 8000 years ago, village-dwelling Mesopotamians began making personalised stone seals, which they pressed into the caps and stoppers used to seal food and drink.
Originally these goods would have been traded directly with neighbours and travellers. But when urbanisation began – a little over 5000 years ago – city residents increasingly had to deal with products of uncertain origin.
Wengrow says the symbols in caps and stoppers came to play an important role in telling people about the quality and origins of products such as oils and wine. He has described how the seals might have been used to ensure quality control, to give provenance for goods or to show that they conformed to a standardised system. By looking at the symbol on a wine stopper, says Wengrow, consumers came to know whether or not to trust that bottle (Current Anthropology, vol 49, p 7).
Many stoppers have been found in the ancient city of Uruk, now in Iraq, where some 20,000 people lived 5000 years ago. The symbol impressions are the first images produced mechanically in human history, says Wengrow. The images have long been regarded as works of art, but he believes that what we now consider art may actually have been promotional branding.
“I think Wengrow is onto something,” says Mitchell Rothman, an anthropologist at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania, although he is not convinced that the ancients were using branding “in the commercial sense”.