Human Beings tend to remember images much easier than words. Try it next time you need to remember someone’s name. What kind of animal or thing do they look like? Everyone can remind you of something because of some of the features they have. If a person has a square head and his name is Bob, you might remember his name buy thinking of him as “box head Bob”. Look at him and repeat that to yourself. The more you see him the more you do it and it will come to you right away. Just don’t repeat that to Bob or anyone else who knows him. Human beings remember images better than words. In psychology lingo and advertising it’s referred to a memory hook.
This is one reason why your logo is so effective at identifying your business. It is often the first thing that pops into your customer’s mind when they think of your business. That image expands when you add to the corporate image. Let me give you an example. You may be familiar with the FEDEX logo. When you think of FEDEX you picture the type, color and symbolism such as the arrow hidden in the logo. You might have first imagined the white box truck with that logo on the side. Yes, that box truck is part of their corporate identity. Just as the brown box truck is part of UPS’s corporate identity and the yellow truck is part of DHL’s identity. If you get regular deliveries from the same FEDEX delivery guy that guy will start becoming part of their brand to you. If he’s a real nice guy he will enhance the brand, if not he will harm it. Hence the delivery people all wear uniforms. All of these things are part of a company’s brand. It’s sometimes referred to as brand extension.
Some companies will take it a step further and add a cartoon or symbolic character to their brand. We use a little yellow robotic dog named “Fetch” for ours. The intent was to associate us as a company that is eager to please using high technology. Plus everyone loves dogs and often have positive associations with dogs. Our corporate colors are also integrated into our character to emphasis our association with the character. Some other cartoon character examples would be:
McDonald’s, Ronald McDonald
Burger King’s, King
Kool Aid, Man
Pillsbury, Dough Boy
Froot Loops, Toucan
We are sure you could think of a dozen others it you just took the time to think about it. Another form of product identity is to just use an actual realistic live character. Some examples would include:
MGM’s, Roaring Lion
Merrill Lynch’s, Bull
The Hartford, Elk
Some Corporations use actual people as part of their Character brand extension. The Most Interesting man in the world for Dos Equis Beer and Flow for Progressive Insurance are just a couple of examples. Today a Russian Immigrant going by the name of Lilly is representing AT&T. Her actual name is Milana Vayntrub and was born in Tashkent, Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. She’s an actress, comedian, writer, and producer. She is lighting up the internet with her followers.
CAUTION: Using real humans can be dangerous however and backfire when representing a brand. We’ll always remember Jared from Subway, we’re sure that went over well with their headquarters when it was revealed what he had done. In the early seventies a woman by the name of Marilyn Chambers made a splash when she was discovered to have been making a few porn movies before she became the Ivory Soap Spokesperson. Incidences such as these are rather hard to shake once revealed. There is an old saying though, “All publicity is good publicity”.
Below are a list of things that can become part of your brand extension.
Your Logo. (Of Course)
Jingles, sound effects,
Your corporate colors
Vehicle Wraps and Vehicles such as Truly Nolen mouse car for example
Building Standards, ever notice how similar different franchises look?
Stationery, premiums and advertising materials
Corporate characters or symbols.
Aeromas, although not common has been experimented with. Have you ever passed by a Cinnabon franchise in a Mall?
Let us know if we left something out or maybe you have some good ideas for our readers.