The Rhyme and Rhythm of Branding: Using Sound to Build Sense, Symbol and Story into your Brand

Aug 08 2016 Published by Neil Gains under sensory branding

Sound is often the most neglected of the senses when it comes to branding, although it is only second to the visual senses in terms of its importance and has a very specific role that helps the brain to create stories from cause and effect.

There is more to using sound in branding than music and song, important as they are. Of course, music and song are particularly powerful in creating links to specific emotions. However, in the esSense® framework outlined in Brand esSense, other aspects of sound can also contribute to building a brand through the senses, symbols and stories.

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Building Meaning into Brands

Apr 16 2016 Published by Neil Gains under book review

I’ve just read the second edition of Brand Meaning by Mark Batey and although there is some additional material and up-to-date examples the core argument of the book is the same (you can read a review of the first edition here). Successful brands are ones that create and nurture strong meanings to consumers, and the more symbolic and value-driven that meaning is, the more powerful it becomes. Read more »

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Principles of Design #67 – Propositional Density

Dec 23 2015 Published by Neil Gains under design

Propositional density refers to the relationship between the meaning conveyed by a design and the individual elements that comprise the design itself, with high propositional density coming from the richness and complexity of the meanings of a design relative to the simplicity of the elements that make it up. That is, high propositional density is the semioticians dream of richly layered meanings that derive from a simply designed feature, object or visual. Read more »

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6 Reasons to Create a Winning Sound Environment

Nov 27 2015 Published by Neil Gains under sensory branding

“Music can move us to the heights or depths of emotion. It can persuade us to buy something, or remind us of our first date. It can lift us out of depression when nothing else can. It can get us dancing to its beat. But the power of music goes much, much further. Indeed, music occupies more areas of our brain than language does – humans are a musical species.” – Oliver Sacks

We all know the power of music to move both our bodies and our emotions. So how can you use music to create more immersive brand experiences giving you the commercial edge over your rivals?

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Using Sensory Signature to Build Brand esSense: Bringing experience to the heart of your brand identity

Oct 01 2015 Published by Neil Gains under sensory branding

“Unify, simplify, amplify” – Ken Carbone

When asked to define brand identity, many people brand logos and names as well as the history and values of brands. Some even mention the design of a product or experience, but very few immediately mention the role of the senses in creating distinctive and memorable experiences. Many dictionary definitions focus solely on the visual look and feel of brands, but a better definition might be, “the elements of a brand that together identify and distinguish the brand in the consumer’s mind”.

For Keller, Aperia and Georgson, brand identity answers the fundamental question, “Who are you?” However, my favourite definition comes from Alina Wheeler’s Designing Brand Identity. She states that, “Brand identity is tangible and appeals to the senses. You can see it, touch it, hold it, hear it, watch it move. Brand identity fuels recognition, amplifies differentiation, and makes big ideas and meaning accessible. Brand identity takes disparate elements and unifies them into whole systems.” Read more »

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Using Price to Your Advantage

Jul 14 2015 Published by Neil Gains under book review

I’ve written a few pieces on the psychology of pricing recently, so now it’s time to turn to the business of pricing. The Price Advantage is definitely one of the best books on using pricing to create commercial advantage, and avoiding common mistakes that businesses make. While it doesn’t touch much on the psychology of individual customers it does provide a great overview and frameworks for thinking about pricing strategy and maximising profitability through price.

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The Mind of Metaphor

Dec 19 2014 Published by Neil Gains under brain science

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances” – William Shakespeare

In I Is An Other, James Geary explores the power of metaphor and its pervasiveness in everyday life, arguing that it is not just a literary device but fundamental to human thought across domains as diverse as economics, advertising, politics, psychology and many more. Metaphor is “essential to how we communicate, learn, discover, and invent”.

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Mind the Gap: Why Great Brands grow their Way to Success

Dec 09 2014 Published by Neil Gains under branding

On October 6th 2010, Gap introduced a new logo designed to make the brand more contemporary, reducing the prominence of the iconic blue box associated with the brand. On October 12th 2010 after less than one week the original logo design returned.

A larger sales (and PR) disaster befell Pepsi in 2009 when they rebranded Tropicana Pure Premium. In the words of a company statement, the new pack was “designed to reinforce the brand and product attributes, rejuvenate the category and help consumers rediscover the health benefits they get from drinking America’s iconic orange-juice brand”. Between 1 January and 22 February, when Pepsi brought back the original design, sales dropped around 20% costing the company tens of millions of dollars. Read more »

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The Perils of Packaging Redesign

Aug 27 2014 Published by Neil Gains under sensory branding

I recently wrote an article for Singapore Institute of Management on the perils of changing branding, citing examples such as the GAP logo change and Pepsi’s disastrous reducing of the Tropicana packaging (which cost them millions of dollars). It seems that brand and marketing managers never learn the lessons of the Tropicana disaster (which I discuss in more detail in Brand esSense) and still love to tinker with brands, moving strategies, changing logos and ‘updating’ or ‘modernising’ their packaging.

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Sweet talking emotions

Jul 01 2014 Published by Neil Gains under sensory branding

A recent paper by a team from Princeton University and the Free University of Berlin has shown that taste related words engage the emotional brain more strongly than equivalent literal words. They showed that the brain processes everyday metaphors differently from more literal language, with greater emotional engagement. For example, ‘she smiled at him sweetly” created more activation of the emotion centres of the brain than the expression “she smiled at him kindly”, even though they have equivalent meaning and were understood equally well.

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