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Brand Management

How Belief Transforms Products Into Brands

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How Belief Transforms Products Into Brands

Santa Claus. Father Christmas. St Nicholas. Whatever you call him he is a symbol of Christmas for everyone, regardless of age.

But for children he represents so much of the joy, vitality and energy of Christmas – because they believe.

When we consider brand there are two key areas; the ‘things’ and the ‘concepts’. The things are the elements we can experience directly through our senses. In the case of Santa and Christmas some of these are the red suit, the red face, the white beard, the reindeer, sleigh bells. I won’t go on, we know the symbols of Santa Claus. The ‘concepts’ are the more immaterial and ‘conceptual’ elements which we relate to Christmas. These might be happiness, giving, family warmth, friendliness, joy, etc.

Although immaterial, the ‘concepts’ are what give brands their meaning.

Without the ‘concepts’ which we relate to the ‘things’ the red suit, the white beard, the reindeer would simply be things. It is the linked ‘concepts’ which give a brand any meaning, and these ‘concepts’ are developed through our own experiences. The ‘things’ are factual, but for the ‘concepts’ to have meaning then we have to believe in them.

A product is a fact, but for a brand to have meaning relies on faith and trust.

We believe that a brand will help us / be effective / be useful / etc, but this belief is based on our experiences.

Let’s go back to Santa Claus. Children believe in Santa Claus for two reasons:

• they are told by people that they trust (parents, teachers, etc) that he exists

• their belief is confirmed by their experience of receiving presents on Christmas Day

Children believe in Santa as people they trust told them he would bring them presents, and on Christmas morning they got them, so why wouldn’t they believe that he will continue to deliver presents next year. Their belief of future actions is based on their previous experiences.

This is how successful brands work. By creating a belief which is strengthened by experiences a brand can become a part of someone’s life rather than simply being a product.

All it takes is belief.

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Paul Bailey, Strategy Director at Halo

At The Blake Project we are helping clients from around the world, in all stages of development, redefine and articulate what makes them competitive at critical moments of change through online strategy workshops and extended engagements. Please email us to learn how we can help you compete differently.

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education

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