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Brands beyond Logos.

Byline: Adeel

The other day I was driving down the road in Dubai, my home now for close to a year. I had to pick my wife up for dinner and as she sat in the car I recalled the perfume she was wearing and it took me back to the first time she had worn it in Karachi. I didn't realize it but because of the scent I ended up driving on the wrong side of the road. Apparently the sudden burst of memories from the fragrance made me think I was actually in Karachi - In UAE we drive on the right whereas in Pakistan we drive on the left.

It made me realize the power of smell and in turn its use in the world of brands. Even our other senses are strongly recommended by new marketing gurus in order to break away from the clutter of logos. In most corporate brand building efforts we focus on the rudimentary elements of sight defined solely by a brand's logo and yet there is so much more potential out there.

In Martin Lindstrom's book "Buyology" he discusses certain brands that have broken free from the logo clutter and moved to the next step of brand evolution - perhaps out of force rather than choice but with great success. One example he sites is of Silk Cut Cigarettes. When the cigarette ban was about to take place, just a little before that Silk Cut started advertising its brand name on a purple silk background. Later it removed the brand name all together after the ban but kept the same purple silk background and in 1997, through a survey, it was found that 98% of people could still tell what brand was being advertised.

Similar to Silk Cut who focused on color to define their brand and not just their logo Ferrari too has a very strong claim to fame with their color RED. It is a fact that Ferrari makes sure that their particular Red tone is identifiable and standardized from all its paraphernalia ranging from Zippo lighters, to sun-glasses to bags, clothing and even the Ferrari cars themselves - if it has a red in the branding then it has to be the Ferrari specific red.

Even Marlboro isn't far behind on this. As Martin Lindstrom points out that Philip Morris has paid bar owners to decorate their interior using the colors of its Marlboro brand and even showing landscapes of cowboy country in loop. Some brands have been able to build their brand beyond logos by picking up another sense - i.e. hearing. For instance the Airtel and Nokia ring tones are one of the most popular on the plant, although the latter had issues due to overexposure that made consumers remember the bad times related to when the Nokia ring tone rang (a call from work or an angry spouse, etc), the Airtel ring tone on the other hand still makes people feel a sense of calm and belongingness backed by emotionally strong ATL with the ring tone as a key part of the communication. Within the sensory realm of smell another huge player is Johnson and Johnson Baby Powder (the most recognizable smell in the world).

JandJ uses vanilla essence in their baby powder because vanilla is found in breast milk and hence es childhood memories. In an experiment conducted by a shopping store when vanilla essence was sprayed in the store, purchase of women clothing went up.

The power of smell is also strong in ensuring peace of mind related to disinfection, hygiene and family protection. That is why the pine oil smell of antiseptic products such as Dettol makes most housewives buy the product because they relate the smell to a clean, sterilized clinic or hospital.In terms of touch - we sometimes feel that clothing stores only display new products in their shops to show off the new designs but mostly they also display products to ensure that we sample the products in our hands. The ability to touch a product increases our willingness to buy it.

Most large brands today are realizing the benefits of building their brands beyond their logos and with the fair amount of clutter 0in the world of advertising it doesn't seem like a bad idea at all to do so.

Adeel is working as Brand Manager at DAC Portfolio - Henkel, GCC
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Date:Mar 31, 2011
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