The symbols, names, designs, terms, or other aspects that identify good or service from a seller as unique from those of different sellers denote “a brand”. Brand experience underscores sensations, cognitions, emotions, and behavioural reactions induced by brand-associated stimuli that are components of identity and design of a brand, wrapping, communications, and surroundings (Neumeier, 2006, p. 18).
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Originally, branding sought to distinguish the cattle of an individual from those of another by way of a characteristic mark burned into the skin of the animal using a hot iron stamp.
Branding was afterwards employed in marketing, advertising, and business (Neumeier, 2006, pp. 19-20). A current instance of branding is the Coca Cola used by the Coca-Cola Company. The most precious fixed asset to a company is its brand. A first encounter at the undergraduate dissertation briefing a month ago could make someone feel his or her heart sink at the massive books that one must read.
I went to Starbucks to have a nice coffee, took out my Apple laptop from my Zara message bag, dropped a note on Moleskine notebook using a Muji ballpoint, and noticed that brands are surrounding us. Brands actually use our emotions to divide us into numbers of tribes and choosing a brand turns out as our symbol of personal identity. Marty Neumeier has supported this view in the book, ‘The Brand Gap’.
I cannot live without brands, everything I am using is related to a specific brand, all the products or services have a label or logo on them and take over our life (Lindstrom, 2011, p. 123). After having conducted research, there is a conclusion that people cannot live without brands and thus I am interested in comprehending more about how people choose a brand. Martin Lindstrom wrote in his book, ‘Brandwashed’, that our taste preferences of a brand are firmly embedded before we were even born.
In addition, a research carried out by Yeh and McNeal found that by the age of six months, babies are able to form ‘mental images’ of corporate logos and mascots (Lindstrom, 2011, pp. 124-125). Besides, in what way do we choose brands (service or product) based on the taste fondness given by our parents?
Moreover, the society has in particular shifted from an economy of bunch manufacture to an economy of bunch customisation and hence our purchasing options have multiplied. In our each day lives, habitually the initial thing we arrive at in a brand is the logo (logotype or brand gap).
A study done by Meyvis along with Janiszewski found that individuals select a brand and not another due to a novel logo. Furthermore, the quality of the logo indicates the quality of the company, particularly to potential consumers who have not already had an experience with the company (Neumeier, 2006, pp. 21-22).
Nevertheless, branding does not only denote a logo design. The five different disciplines of branding that exist include validate, differentiate, innovate, and collaborate. The aforementioned five disciplines assist in creating a stage to commune with clients with the intention of manoeuvring their mentality and persuading them.
Similarly, the objective of design goal is to communicate a message, by using design principles to generate a clear idea of what a designer is trying to communicate (Neumeier, 2006, pp. 23-24). This paper will discover the resemblances between branding disciplines and design standards and to give insight into the manner in which the experience of a brand is influenced by its design.
Interview of Designer from Hong Kong
Branding process takes strategy and creativity together with sometimes there being a rift between them caused by two kinds of people that favour to use different sides of the brain. The left-brain thinking is linear, analytical, verbal, rational, numerical, and concrete. On the other side of brain, right-brain thinking is intuitive, emotional, spatial, visual, and physical. How about the reality branding process?
Therefore, I interviewed a designer Khendi Lee who is the art director of STEPWORKS creative agency, his works also gained several recognitions like D&AD 2007, Future Talent Award 2008, and Crowbar Awards 2008. He claimed that there are four stages of the branding process, viz. research, identity, testing, and brand guideline, which is familiar to the five branding disciplines, mentioned before (Lindstrom, 2011, pp. 126-129).
Firstly, the initial stage is research, and it all depends on the budget. For a large company, the branding project would be very complicated. On the other hand, for a small company, it would be more simplified as they have a small team. Branding requires research strategy to build up the project and target marketing is important as it deals with the main consumer of the brand.
For example, Samsung has many products from television to mobile phones, starting with analysis of the core business of brand, vision, and mission. Different products have different target markets (Lindstrom, 2011, pp. 130-132). Therefore, it is important to determine the right consumer in order to expand the business further. After collecting all these data, marketing strategy is the next. If there is a new product or new brand, finding out the disciplines of its unity helps the stage to continue.
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The second stage is identifying. After modifying all the direction as well as examination, the next aspect would be brand identity where one is tangible and the other one is intangible, which is a very interesting phase for designers. The tangible factors include packaging, logo, design language, and texture (Neumeier, 2006, pp. 25-27). However, the details are not hard to apply, as the hardest would be the concept, which denotes the core idea that is the backbone to live with the brand.
For example, Apple always talks of simplicity and team difference, which are the core ideas (concept) and the backbone of the corporate. Once the concept materialises, it is simple to do the brand DNA for people to easily understand and distinguish internal concepts from external ones. 10 years ago, branding was not important but now it turned out to be different, because of story telling.
Storytelling is important for certain brands. For example, Moleskine notebook claimed that they were the legend of notebook used by Picasso but they did not actually prove it. They related the feeling when touching Moleskine notebook they made to consumers becoming creative people. Therefore, story telling would be important if it can be translated to become tangible (Lindstrom, 2011, pp. 133-137).
Intangible factors include vision, mission, and tone of vocals coupled with whether a person is friendly. The tone of vocals could extend its significance to the app, Facebook, Twitter and many other applications, and thus they all have to be in the same language.
The case Study of Khendi was worked on a brand identity of education centre located in Indonesia. Firstly, he shortened the name to Yoho from Yoholala and applied the colour blue (which is always used in education institutions such as Harvard) in their logo, which made it appear old and classic (Lindstrom, 2011, pp. 155-157).
In order to make it playful enough for the kids who actually are the true consumers at the study centre, he switched to using the baby blue and brought out the contrast by applying colour red, which made it stand out more. Khendi also chose to use a plus sign on the logo because it is a symbol of improvement and it acted as an increase in semiotics.
The third stage is testing. Testing would be in the way to launch the brand, which could be both internal and external if the corporate is big enough to do internal and external launch. For internal, they have to hire a focus group (Brakus, Schmitt, & Zhang, 2008, pp. 65-66). This group of people would be interviewed and their comments collected to learn the reaction before launching the brand (product) to the community.
A good example of brand where excellent external launch was done would be Uniqlo. They hired many designers to collaborate, create noise, and invite celebrities to parties (Brakus, Schmitt, & Zhang, 2008, p. 67). Using social media can create a lot of word-of-mouth travel to the audiences. Testing is thus very stressful for the designers as is as well significant where there is a certain time and budget allocations.
Finally yet importantly, after the launching, we come to brand guideline. It is a recommendation to pass the brand to another designer who will have a certain project, which is always to look back. Another vital thing is brand book. Though small and more relaxing, the brand book is an account of the brand telling the vision, mission and language as a way to try and make people become inspired by the brand and know their attitude.
Nonetheless, brand book might be less serious as it could be fun just like a cosmic book. Once brand guideline and brand book are ready, brand guidance is another position for branding as it keeps and protects the brand contingency. Additionally, brand management is as important as brand guidance when it comes to creating the brand unity (Brakus, Schmitt, & Zhang, 2008, pp. 68-70).
As a result, he said that design and branding are inseparable. However, clients usually trust the marketing research more than design; therefore, it would be important to have innovation. In order to launch a successful brand, understanding the disciplines of branding and design can be integrated as needed.
Many practical measurements and constructs have been built up of late in the branding literature that encompasses brand trust, brand individuality, brand attachment, brand society, and brand love (Carroll, & Ahuvia, 2006, pp. 79-81). Nonetheless, a conceptualisation and extent of gauging brand experiences is yet to be developed. Moreover, circumstances where certain experiences for products come up have been set up by study that has however largely overlooked the precise dimensional arrangement and nature of brand experiences.
Particularly, brand experience has drawn a lot of consideration in marketing practice where marketing practitioners have recognised that comprehending the brand experience by consumers is vital for extending marketing policies for products and services. Numerous trade writings have shown that present practical concepts in addition to some specific experience measurements.
Consumer and Marketing Researches
Consumer and marketing researches state that experiences come about when consumers hunt for goods and services, when they purchase them and obtain service, and when they use them (Brakus, Schmitt, & Zhang, 2008, pp. 57-62). The following section discuses these experiences.
Product experience comes about when customers interact with products; for instance, when customers hunt for products, scrutinise, and assess them. Product experiences can either be direct (in situations of contact with the consumer) or indirect (in situations of offering a product virtually).
In either case, respondents are characteristically requested to reflect on an amalgamation of both indirect and direct product experiences with the aim of investigating the way the combination influences product views, attitudes, tastes, purchase intention, and recall (Brakus, Schmitt, & Zhang, 2008, pp. 62-64).
This element takes place in circumstances where customers interact with the surroundings of a store, its employees, and its policies and carry out window shopping or real shopping. Therefore, study in this area examines the manner in which atmospheric variables as well as salespersons influence the experience. A number of articles have examined consumers’ interaction with salespersons coupled with how that experience influences consumers’ sensations, brand attitudes, and contentment (Lindstrom, 2011, pp. 139-141).
This occurs in situations where customers consume as well as make use of goods and services. Consumption experience is multidimensional and contains hedonic measurements, such as sensations, fantasies, and excitement. Lots of interpretive study based on this kind of experience evaluated hedonic aims that come about at some point during and/or following the use of products. In brief, experiences occur in a diversity of surroundings.
Most experiences come about directly when customers shop, acquire, and use products (Lindstrom, 2011, pp. 142-144). Experiences as well take place indirectly, for instance, when customers are rendered to the promotion and marketing contacts, encompassing Web sites.
Conceptualising Brand Experiences
The majority of studies on experiences thus far have concentrated on utilitarian product qualities and class experiences and not on experiences presented by brands. In situations where customers pursue, purchase, and utilize brands, they are rendered to useful product aspects.
Nevertheless, customers are as well presented to a scope of precise brand-associated stimuli like brand-categorising, catchphrases, and brand nature. The brand-associated stimuli emerge as a component of a uniqueness and design of brands, wrapping, and marketing communications (for example, adverts) and in settings where the brands are sold.
The brand-associated stimuli comprise the major basis of subjective, internal customer reactions that we denote as brand experience (Brakus, Schmitt, & Zhang, 2008, pp. 70-72). Therefore, we conceive brand experience to be individual, internal customer reactions and behavioural reactions induced by brand-associated stimuli that are component of a brand’s uniqueness and design, surroundings, packaging, and communications.
Further clarification of Brand Experience
The differences in brand experiences occur with respect to potency and strength; that is, a number of brand experiences tend to be stronger or more potent as compared to others. With respect to product experiences, differences in brand experiences arise in terms of valence. This denotes that various brand experiences are more beneficial as compared to others; in other cases, numerous experiences are possibly negative.
Furthermore, some brand experiences come about spontaneously devoid of much consideration and are brief; others arise more purposely and last longer (Lindstrom, 2011, pp. 145-147). In due course, the long-lived brand experiences kept in customer remembrance works to influence customer faithfulness and satisfaction.
Brand Experience as compared to Brand Constructs
Distinctively, brand experience is different from the following constructs:
- Brand attachment
- Brand involvement
- Consumer satisfaction
- Brand outlooks
- Brand personality
Outlooks are general assessments derived from beliefs or automatic emotional responses. On the contrary, brand experiences do not denote general evaluative findings concerning the brand (Lindstrom, 2011, pp. 148-151). They consist of particular sensations generated by particular brand-associated stimuli.
Brand experience is as well different from motivational and emotional concepts like involvement, consumer satisfaction, and brand attachment. Involvement anchors on requirements, values, and concerns that motivate a customer toward an item (for example, a brand). Contrary to involvement, brand experience is not associated with motivational stipulations. Furthermore, brands that customers are exceedingly involved with are not essentially brands that induce the greatest experiences.
Contrary to brand attachment, experiences are not emotional affiliation concept but are, as aforementioned, sensations evoked by brand-associated stimuli. Similar to brand attachment, consumer satisfaction, as typified by stimulation and positive influence, can be deemed the affective part of contentment. Contrary to consumer satisfaction, brand experiences do not arise just after consumption but they arise every time there happens to have direct or indirect contact with the brand.
At last, brand experience has variations when judged against brand image as well as brand association. Brand personality is the most researched construct of brand association (Brakus, Schmitt, & Zhang, 2008, pp. 73-76). Clients have a tendency of providing brands with personified attributes in circumstances where the brands bring about a brand personality. On the contrary, brand experiences are real sensational reactions.
Brand Experience Dimensions
In a bid to categorise aspects of brand experience some philosophers consider experience to be the interlocking of individuals and their environments. Philosophers consider the cognitive Kantian perspective of experience to be information, affirming that information is just one facet of an individual’s comprehension of the globe. Besides rational experiences emanating from knowledge, brand experiences as well comprise perceiving (via senses), achieving, and feeling (Lindstrom, 2011, pp. 152-154). Furthermore, people are attached to others.
Cognitive science labours to examine psychological components, or unique purpose computational structures that react to particular environmental signals and resolve a limited class of setbacks. Four psychological components that match closely to the pleasure dimensions include sensory insight, inventiveness and reasoning, social affiliations, and feelings and sensations (Carroll, & Ahuvia, 2006, pp. 82-85).
Nevertheless, as opposed to a detached achieving unit, there prevails motor actions, and performances component of the sensory-motor unit, resembling the notion of personified cognition.
Recognition is fundamental in a competitive market. In a state of great competition, markets are frequently saturated by a steady flow of designs and messages from several brands. Consequently, the formation and management of brand recognition becomes an essential communication objective.
There are different ways employed by different companies to realise brand recognition. One of the ways employed by companies is product design, which has been presented as a central ingredient in promoting a powerful visual brand identity and in establishing brand value (Carroll, & Ahuvia, 2006, pp. 86-89).
In this section, it is clear that design element heavily influences brand experience. Some companies have effectively articulated their brand values by means of product design. For instance, the Caterpillar brand articulates its key brand values as regards performance and comfort not just via its web site, slogan, and adverts but as well in the design element of its products.
With respect to design element, Caterpillar loaders and trucks are equipped with soft interiors in addition to dust and noise avoidance features. In addition, the well-built colour and logo design indicate that the products do well in rough conditions. The aforementioned design elements pertain to the heavy machines of the company as well as to its shoes that are intended for the consumer market (Brakus, Schmitt, & Zarantonello, 2009, pp. 52-55).
Accordingly, the core brand values of the Caterpillar Company are associated to identifiable and significant features of its designs. Additionally, recognition may be conscious or unconscious. Thus, customers can identify the product and its elements without much attentiveness of it. Design element is employed to reveal brand experience, corporate values, and to identify the distinguishing characteristics of brands of a company.
A significant foundation for exploring this concern is in the use of case studies that look at the way companies manage their tactical design effort. Such a study illustrates the significance of design element that creates a link amid the core potential of the company, its policy, and brand image. Design element can be instrumental in establishing visual identifiable designs that articulate the core values of the brand.
Design element is a significant media employed by companies in communicating core brand values in a bid to generate brand experience. The articulation of brand value must be conducted in a harmonised manner so that every communication modes convey an intensive brand communication to consumers.
This holistic perspective implies that design and branding are intertwined and they together bring about a commanding mix of connections that give rise to the core brand values. If design elements give rise to the required communication, additional forms, such as advertising, could be utilised more successfully and efficiently.
The link between the design element and brand experience is anchored in more than recurred exposure. The recognition of products as components of a brand is reliant on visual manifestation, which can hold a set of connections of its own (Batra, Ahuvia, & Bagozzi, 2012, pp. 1-11). Therefore, the design elements are a direct embodiment of (interconnected) brand and product relationships, able to communicate core brand values in their own unique way.
Hence, product design can play a key role as an unrelenting reminder of the core values of a brand. Every product can be observed as uttering something via their design, deliberately or by chance, actively or passively. The intentional approach of design is the one of a strategic action, involved in the way things should to be, and formulating artefacts to achieve goals (Hanna, & Rowley, 2011, pp. 458-466).
Design carries the potential to steer tactical innovation based on a design philosophy that includes a stylistic identity (anchored in value-founded design elements) as well as core design principles (a consistent set of values regarding the advance to design by a company). It is crucial that design philosophy co-advances with other forces to assist designers associate their work to major concerns of competition in addition to market positioning.
The choice of two cases was anchored in purposive sampling to ensure that the cases were consciously selected and judged on a theoretically prepared distinction. Particularly, this move aimed at finding companies that consider design element as a crucial instrument for ensuring visual brand recognition in a bid to influence brand experience. Nokia has turned out to be a universal leader in cell phones, amid other things due to the strong emphasis on the design element as a competitive aspect (Schmitt, 2003, pp. 97-101).
More significantly, the wealth of implications assigned to cell phones and their link to Nokia brand identity resulted in the continued success of the company. At the start of the 1990s, there was already a declaration from the Nokia design policy that Nokia products are recognisable and global and include soft design language.
Volvo has gone through a planned renewal progression from the 1990s to 2000s, which has been an outstanding process where design has played a significant role. Some articles and studies in the automotive press focussed on the steady and significant relation involving new design course of Volvo and heritage and brand values of the company. For instance, the S80 model launched in 1998 won the European Automotive Design Award (EADA) the following year (voted by certified car designers as well as design learners from 33 nations).
Volvo S80 represented a radical modification without affecting the stability of Volvo design. The design endeavours of both Nokia and Volvo were extensive. Therefore, the two cases clearly illustrate the influence of design element on brand experience (Batra, Ahuvia, & Bagozzi, 2012, pp. 12-16).
Branding and Design Element
As products and services continue to serve as sensational expressions for customers, design element has appeared as a significant strategic benefit for numerous companies.
Design is a clear foundation of differentiation. Additionally, design element has turned out to be a significant factor for branding; not just because aesthetically pleasant products and services compete better short attention extent of the for customers, but as well because design might serve as the unified aspect for every element that constitutes a brand experience (Brakus, Schmitt, & Zarantonello, 2009, pp. 55-58).
Customers can comprehend what a brand signifies, and what it accomplishes for them if every one of its brand elements is constant. This constancy is attainable through design. The brand has to steer the design. A strong integration must link design and brand management.
Nevertheless, regardless of the fact that recently both branding and design have turned out to be strategic for corporations, brands have developed into being vital organisational assets and design, through promoting product aesthetics. Brands have also been revealed to create positive influences on customer inclination and organisational performance.
Branding and design management
Brands have turned out to be tactical assets for numerous organisations and rise beyond the services or products they assist recognise. Brands are strategic grounds for companies to interact with their clients, and are considered as emotional concepts that decrease observed threat, offer worth, and exemplify an entire experience. In this regard, brands must capture the anticipations of and signify the set of assurances for every one of its target sections, hence turning the brand into a collection of implications.
Design has a key role in generating consistency within the collection of the meanings of a brand. On the other hand, design management denotes a holistic course of formation and judgment making that boosts both professional and strategic choices (Hanna, & Rowley, 2011, pp. 467-470). The effectiveness of design management relies on the way it aligns with other managerial roles.
By incorporating design management with building of the brand and New Product Development (NPD) practices, it turns out to be easier to extend services and products that create positive relations with the consumer. Thus, customer-centred design is rising as the best practice in numerous sectors and market research practices that assist translating statistics into sensory dimensions.
Design acts as a device for generating intense, combined brand experiences. Given that visual representations have gained greater significance in the market than words, brands are carrying symbolic signs that centre on the formation of experiences and influences.
Since artistically attractive product designs initiate positive brand assessments, aid product and brand classification, and promote customer relations, the artistic characteristics of design can assist build satisfiers in the customers’ experimental worlds that are capable of generating loyalty and a feeling of exclusiveness or eminence. In short, artistic aspects present benefit for the consumer and create positive results on organisational performance (Schmitt, 2003, pp. 102-105).
Despite the fact that little effort has been applied in this field, design and artistic aspects have been recognised as tactical tools for companies to acquire a competitive advantage. There is an agreement amongst designers and marketers that design must be combined with other organisational tasks, as it appears to be a daily more critical element in the pursuit of building a distinguished brand.
Brand design management
Design should be part of a company’s business policy, engaged from the initial steps of the New Product Development process, and must eventually reflect on the philosophy or briefing of a company (Schmitt, 2003, pp. 106-118). As a way of coordinating practices within the novelty process of a company, design controls innovation at both functioning and strategic levels. The four major activities that constitute innovation policy include:
- Concept generation
- Design strategy
- Resource procurement
Concept generation involves the gathering of external and internal ideas and stimuli.
The commencement of the design progression involves analysing the manner in which design can be engaged in the creation of fresh ideas, the description of new product impressions, the marketing practice, and with different organisational tasks and departments. At least sixty-one ideas must be approved to be necessary prior to a product finally gaining authorisation in the market (Hanna, & Rowley, 2011, pp. 471-476). It is the responsibility of designers to define concepts and make them clear for the entire organisation.
This aspect consists of examining the function of design within the company, growth of new products, and branding policies of the firm. As a strategy, design can assume three stages of participation in the business policy (Brakus, Schmitt, & Zarantonello, 2009, pp. 59-62). For instance, design can be the head of the entire NPD progression where design is perceived as the chief driver of novelty and designers direct the entire development progression of the offering.
Resources serve to identify the way external and internal design groups are exercised, the way existing requirements are managed to increase human resources, and the way information is generated, utilised, and protected (Schmitt, 2003, pp. 109-110).
This activity denotes the execution and completion of the design progression. It permits measuring the extent of innovation that design brings about within the company, comprehending the way different design progressions are organised, and assessing design and its outcomes for the company.
Given that the innovation process could be costly and time-consuming due to unanticipated technical and market hitches that may arise, it is vital that the design be accurately engaged in the NPD progression to decrease the effect of these situations (Brakus, Schmitt, & Zarantonello, 2009, pp. 63-68). The accomplishment of this activity relies mainly on the integration of the entire organisational tasks.
In this paper, brand experience has been regarded as sensations, cognitions, emotions, and behavioural reactions induced by brand-associated stimuli that are components of identity and design of a brand, wrapping, communications, and surroundings. The five different disciplines of branding mentioned include validate, differentiate, innovate, and collaborate. The five disciplines assist in creating a stage to commune with clients with the intention of controlling their mentality and persuading them.
This paper discovers the resemblances between branding disciplines and design standards gives insight into the manner in which the experience of a brand is subject to design element. During an interview of a designer from Hong Kong, it was clear that there exist four stages of the branding process, which include research, identity, testing, and brand guideline. Lots of practical capacities and constructs have been built up of late in the branding literature.
The effectiveness of design management relies on the way it aligns with other managerial roles. It is clear that design element heavily influences brand experience. Additionally branding and design are inseparable. Some companies have effectively articulated their brand values by means of product design. For instance, the Caterpillar brand articulates its key brand values as regards performance and comfort not just via its web site, slogan, and adverts but as well in the design element of its products.
Design element is useful in revealing brand experience, corporate values, and identifying the distinguishing characteristics of brands of a company. The differences in brand experiences occur with respect to potency and strength, viz. a number of brand experiences tend to be stronger or more potent as compared to others. This paper presents two instances of companies (Nokia and Volvo) that have tactically used design to generate visual identification for their products.
In these two instances, it was clear that the companies took intentional and strategic attempts to interpret their core brand values to a design attitude. The design philosophies of these companies specified some design values and design elements to be employed in the design of their products. Management of this process allowed managers of both companies to generate strategic judgments over the kind, strength, and generality of the interconnection between design elements and brand experiences.
The design attempts of the two companies in creating visual recognition hinged on a constant renewal of the link between brand value and design elements. The findings from this study can be utilised as a foundation for further research on the role of design in innovation progressions and NPD. In this regard, further research could, for example, consider companies that lack such a strong concentration on design as a tactical instrument as the one in the case of Nokia and Volvo.
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