“Post-Advertising” and the future of product branding

There is speculation that the traditional way of company branding is dying; if not dead already. No doubt a loaded phrase such as this will cause a few shaking heads, but look around you; while it’s not really fair to say that traditional branding is dead just yet you cannot argue that the paradigm is shifting. No longer is branding about your company calling out to an audience to follow you; it’s now about a brand immersing itself into the surroundings of its audience.

 

You see, the days when branding campaigns were fixed around the rigid public image that a brand portrays has been replaced by a more fluid rubric of branding that adheres to the context that the brand fins the audience in. So, rather than advertising and brand persona being adopted for just one platform, creating just one brand experience, it is now multi-faceted with a brand adapting to several different platforms.

Of course, there are exceptions; gastro-brands such as Nike, Apple, Coca-Cola and Fed EX are titans (though the image below demonstrates Fed Ex’s adapted logos and colours across their brand facets) and therefore still prevail in the sense of traditional advertising, but when it comes to companies of a smaller calibre successful branding involves immersing into the surroundings where its target-audience dwell.

 

This new wave of advertising has been coined ‘post-advertising’ by many. It involves a company becoming ubiquitous in their branding campaigns, therefore having to adopt a chameleon-like skin and employ several multi-faceted versions of their identity to be spread across all of the platforms that their audience may find them in; the key being ‘may find THEM in’.

 

A famous example of post-advertising is the rebranding that ITV undertook this year. The revolutionary rebranding was the biggest the company had seen in over 12 years and involved completely eradicating the brand’s old persona and replacing it with a completely revamped ‘Master Brand’ that spread across all of their spin off channels.

They incorporated a new in-house design team; ITV Creative, to give themselves a fresh rebrand that would place them at the heart of popular culture. One of they ways that they did this was through their new logo and corporate typeface. ITV banished their old canary yellow logo that was universal across all of their platforms and incorporated with a new logo that would emulate the mood of the program that served as it’s backdrop; creating hues that gently harmonised with whatever the viewer was viewing on screen.

 

As well as the re-adaptation of ITV’s main logo, several splinter logos were designed to accommodate the persona of the company’s other platforms. The rebrand saw the creation of adapted logos for ITV’s other platforms using the companies new typeface Reem; for example a custard yellow dinosaur type creation fittingly created to suit CITV’s younger audience.

As well as the revamp of the brand for television audiences, ITV took their new image online; as well as featuring the new logo it also sported a central navigation bar as well as being fully responsive, allowing users to access the site on all their devices.

 

In an age where it is essential that a company’s branding oozes into the audience’s environment, ITV have demonstrated that the key to a successful rebranding is not trying to get an audience to adapt to your image; it is tailoring your brand to adapt to an audience’s image. By tailoring their site for a user’s mobile device as well as redesigning their logo to become harmonious with the audience’s viewing experience demonstrates their desire to become ubiquitous with the user’s surroundings which allows them to advertise without being abrasive; rather than calling an audience to them they are sitting right in the audience’s view.

 

ITV aren’t the only brand that seem to have understood the need for their branding to flow into the surroundings of their audience. If you take a look at our blog, ‘ Great examples of innovative branding’ you can see how other post-advertising campaigns go beyond the traditional forms of TV, radio and flyers.

 

A particularly interesting example from the blog was VisualMe . VisualMe’s branding guru, Marko Vuleta-Djukanov really had his finger on the pulse when it came to creating a campaign that flowed into the surroundings of the brand’s audience. If you take a look at some of the images from VisualMe’s campaign you can see that Vuleta-Djukanov explored how the brand could be immersed into the multi-faceted atmosphere of the user.

As well as the more common business card advertisement method, VisualMe employs other advertisement means to become immersed in the user’s lifestyle. The inclusion of multi-platform screensavers, iPhone covers and even further afield fashion items such as the brand colour-themed running shoes and sunglasses demonstrates that a successful branding campaign needs to immerse itself with all the facets of a user’s lifestyle that the brand can possibly incorporate.

 

So why is it that branding has evolved from being merely a calling out to a consumer and is now becoming a immersed in all of the elements of their lifestyle? A lot of it comes down to the fact that as consumers we are a bit more cynical in what we choose to believe when told by a company. We understand that a brand can’t offer us miracle solutions for our needs; how could they, they don’t know us personally. Advertising in the old sense was far too clinical whereas ‘post-advertising’ demonstrates that success comes with audience engagement and essentially being where they are.

 

Consider how an eCommerce website draws conversions. Before the web, a company would have to get attention through a TV or radio advert and then rely on word of mouth to spread their brand. Now with the web offering a convincing and stimulating web experience for a user leads to conversions. Through good good SEO content you can get your brand noticed by searchers and then good copywriting and page content plays the part of persuasion and if done well you get a conversion.

 

This process involves being where your audience can find you; immersing yourself into their atmosphere. Good SEO strategies allows your user to find you easily and therefore creating understanding through content that shows you address your audience’s needs; you were there waiting for them when they looked for you. This is what captures the conversion; rather than calling the audience to notice your brand, you need to be there all the time.

 

At the moment this does sound like prophecy; branding is still undergoing the transformation into a post-advertising stage, therefore anything could happen. Though it must be noted, if examples such as ITV and VisualMe are demonstrating what the future of company branding will entail, you can expect that companies will soon start immersing themselves in all aspects of a customer’s lifestyle, just to remind them that they are always there.

 

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