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A few years back, I wanted a new car. But before making the investment, I did what everyone does – researching each and every make and model that I liked (and could afford).

While driving around town, I kept a lookout for ‘my next new car’. One vehicle repeatedly caught my eye. I couldn’t figure out what it was about this car, until one day I realized that every time I saw one – it made me smile.

That car was a Mini Cooper.

I’ve had mine for 3+ years now (a Mini Cooper Coupe to be specific) and I still love it. From the color and contour of the body, to the racing stripes, to the way it takes a curve, to the little Mini logo on the back bumper and my experience during service time… this car just MAKES ME HAPPY!

So why does a car give me such a strong physical and emotional reaction?

 

The Honeymoon Continues …

As the Creating Results team tells our clients, a brand is not just a logo design. It is the entire consumer experience.

A brand is the fundamental emotional experience that you want consumers to have every time they come in contact with your product – it’s employees, residents, services, or even its physical space, campus or buildings within. It’s why consistency and clarity are essential.

My experience with Mini has been just that. Consistent.

From day one, the Mini brand has enveloped me and my investment in the brand has only grown.

Walking into the Mini Dealer I was greeted with a smile. The ‘cool factor’ was all around me. The sales center consisted of brand elements (colors, fonts, textures, images, iconography) that enhanced my excitement during my purchase.

Mini Cooper sales centers are colorful, playful, consistent with brand experience

Current Mini owners, prospective owners and sales people milled around, smiling, and chatting about this color or that feature or a new model, literally acting as brand ambassadors.

The colors at a Mini dealership are vibrant, fun and assorted. And the options for customization are vast, making it possible to truly create a car that gives you what you need and embodies aspects of your own personality (or ideal you).

Mini Cooper has continued building trust for their brand since its introduction in 1959. Known for ‘intelligent design, iconic style and unparalleled motor thrills,’ this connection to the brand continues to this day.

 

The Psychology of Branding

Seth Godin may have said it best,

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”

Brand personality plays a large role in how consumers relate to a brand. Brand personality can be defined as human characteristics which become associated with that brand.

So the Mini Cooper brand might be described in people terms as fun, cool, youthful, sporty, innovative.

Jennifer Aaker writes in the Journal of Marketing Research,

“Consumers easily can think about brands as if they were celebrities or famous historic figures and as they relate to one’s own self, which may be due in part to the strategies used by advertisers to imbue a brand with personalities traits such as anthropomorphization (e.g., California Raisins), personification (e.g., Jolly Green Giant), and the creation of user imagery (e.g., Charlie girl).”

In my case, I related the Mini Cooper to my own self or what I perceive as my ideal self. At the ripe old age of 52, I feel ‘cool and youthful’ (with red paint and black racing stripes) all while feeling safe and secure knowing that the vehicle is constructed well and has a good reputation.

 

Translating Brand Personality to Logo Design

Creating Results has had the pleasure of working on many branding projects. Two of these efforts can help to illustrate how a brand’s personality can influence the design of a logo.

The Village of Valemount in British Columbia offers visitors an array of outdoor activities in every season. In the design phase, most of the multiple logo concepts developed focused on the mountains that surround this tourism destination. Those snow-capped peaks are the strongest Unique Selling Propositions (USPs) for Valemount.

Yet, the final logo chosen had no mountains.

It won out because it more powerfully relayed the brand personality of The Village of Valemount. Comparing concept 1 to the final logo design, you see that the first one is quite sedate and formal. The final logo better conveys the playful, bold and sporty personality of Valemount.

(The tagline developed by Creating Results works the “mountain” USP back in.)

 

Fellowship Senior Living, a continuing care retirement community in Basking Ridge, NJ, was looking for a new logo to give new life to their brand. They challenged the Creating Results team to develop new concepts that included the “lion and lamb” figures from their original brand.

The final logo design was chosen over other concepts, including the one shown here, because it better captured the brand personality. The Fellowship experience is warm, soft, caring and nurturing. Now, the logo is, too.

 

Why is a Strong Brand Valuable?

Creating Results believes:

  • A well-positioned brand improves recall and reinforces perceived advantages (price, quality, service).
  • The perceived quality is the single most-important contributor to an organization’s return on investment (ROI).
  • A strong brand shortens the purchase process.

Why? Because your brand clearly represents the things that consumers most value. Buyers don’t have to spend a lot of time wondering if what you offer aligns with what’s most important to them. Their priorities are front and center.

People are much more likely to purchase from a brand they trust (as I did!), even more so from a brand they have purchased from before (I see another Mini in my future!).

And that trust demands a premium.

 

How do you think the brand for your service or product offering stands up, in terms of experience AND design?

If you’ve been researching every make and model of branding solution, please contact Creating Results. Helping clients create a strong, long-lasting brand makes me almost as happy as a Mini Cooper.

About The Author

Mike Stakem

An award-winning designer with a BFA from George Mason University, Mike is Director of Creative Services, overseeing all creative talent, including internal and external designers, production artists, photographers, web designers and coders, and video producers.