Le Brief: The Branding Charm

Have you ever wondered what is so cool about sipping from that paper cup with the green mermaid emblem? Or why has it become a measure of class to rock a shiny smartphone with the unmistakable bitten apple on its back? Why are some brands perceived exceptionally higher, while not necessarily offering the best? The world is full of hidden gems and overlooked talents that are actively trying to innovate and provide a better value. But if you fall short of having one of those fancy logos that most people are dying to show off, you stand a little chance of taking your brand above the ‘average’ spot.

From my experience in branding, I understand that there is much more to it than the physical package you pay for. There is this emotional connection that only a handful of brands succeed at developing and maintaining for long enough, until one day they become engraved in people’s subconscious. To do them justice, multi-billion-dollars brand names are never built overnight. Which, in a way, explains why they might be entitled to charge more for less. Yet, there is still part of me that just won’t let it go easily. It is an unsettling fact that no matter how excellent you are at doing what you do, you may still not receive the recognition you deserve. And it is all because the people whom your success counts on are self-isolated inside big glossy bubbles, lining up for canned utopia.

You’re not a villain, you’re just too prevalent.

The people whom your success counts on are self-isolated inside big glossy bubbles, lining up for canned utopia.

Perceptions are everything.

That was only one step forward in a long-term plan to reposition the company as a lifestyle brand. Think of the fashion industry and the way designer clothing is perceived higher compared to fast fashion, and apply that same exact concept to any other category of consumer products. Only then may things start making sense, sort of. Today, Apple is hardly seen as the computer manufacturer that it used to be known as in the eighties and through the nineties, and Starbucks is no longer just another coffee shop franchise selling java and some sandwiches. The secret for these two was managing to evolve beyond the point of selling products and services, entering a new arena where they could confidently charge a premium for the emotional experience.

Status is value.

To some people, status can be more valuable than any practical benefits.

The thing about loyalty.

People do influence each other, and for that, consumers can practically make or break a brand. The more love you show to a brand, the more popular and influential it gets. Which, as a result, would convert in even more people. The next time you make a purchase, think about which brands deserve your support, and which ones perhaps need to show more respect and appreciation to their customers or to the whole society. Rooting for the wrong team may only encourage them to become greedier and more vicious.

Brands are as flawed as human beings themselves. We should never expect otherwise.

A few years ago, I had a thought-provoking conversation where I was honored to speak in front of a group of amazingly talented people. I asked whether they ever questioned the boundaries of branding. It was interesting to hear their thoughts, with some of them being relatively more concerned about the ethics of branding and how far it can go before crossing the line. Personally, I love seeing brands, and I love crafting their identities. But I have also accepted the fact that brands are as flawed as human beings themselves. We should never expect otherwise.

Le brief is a non-periodic series of short articles where I share snippets of my personal perspective on topics related to visual design, branding, marketing, and technology.

If you find this post interesting, sharing it will help my voice reach more people—and it will also make my day. It’s always a pleasure to connect with you on the social networks: LinkedinBehanceInstagramTwitter

Stay healthy and inspired.

Ramy Elbasty

Originally published on LinkedIn on April 23, 2021

Independent visual designer and writer.