We found some more games, but what intrigued me about the exchange is that it was the first time I can remember that my daughter could understand, conceptually, the idea of a company, an entity of people responsible for the existence of one or more products. Furthermore, she had made the natural connection that if she enjoyed one product by the company (Backflip Studios, in this case) that it was reasonable to assume she would like others by the same company.
It might seem natural to think that if we like one Apple product we’ll like another, or that if we enjoyed our last Toyota we will probably enjoy another, but that connection is not natural; it has to be learned. While almost no one would have trouble understanding that one book by Stephen King will be similar to another written by Stephen King, even many dedicated Coca-Cola (or Pepsi) aficionados will not be sure which of 7-Up or Sprite is owned by Coca-Cola (or Pepsi.)
As simple as it sounds, constructing brand awareness, and subsequently, loyalty, happens at multiple levels. The consumer can be made aware of the brand of a specific product, the company that made it, the division of the company, the individual people involved in the product. Movies are an excellent example; the branding for a movie could involve not just the individual movie (New in theatres: Maximum Velocity IV, Speed Kills!) but the distributor (brought to you by Disney!) studio (Legendary Pictures, makers of Inception!) director (from the director of Bridget Jones’s Diary!) screenwriter (from the writer of Pulp Fiction!) actors associated with the product (starring Tom Hanks, Cateherine Zeta-Jones, and Shrek!) and merchandising tie ins (get your Maximum Velocity video games now!) Gosh, now I want to see this movie. I wish it existed.
Finding the precise branding level approach will vary from product to product and audience to audience. The branding for the new “Harold & Kumar” film concentrates almost wholly on the favourable brand impression of the movie series and its stars; the identity of the director isn’t much mentioned. Conversely, any Steven Spielberg movie will be heavily branded with Spielberg’s name, no matter who stars in it. Pixar’s next film, “Brave,” will largely be marketed as being a Pixar film; the director and actors are of far less importance in establishing the product’s brand.
What product or service are you branding next – and are you branding at the right level?