Posted 30.03.15

How marketers protect iconic design and build brands

Which brands do you recall just from their design in mere seconds? The brands with distinct design properties such as the Coca Cola bottle or the London Underground ‘roundel’ play to a “consumer’s ‘implicit memory system’,” according to the latest feature on iconic design in Marketing Week magazine.

Instant recall

Without even seeing the brand name, the Coca Cola bottle is instantly recognisable and just the shape of the London Underground design is an instant shorthand as to which city a particular movie is set. The Microsoft’s start-up jingle also plays to the same memory structure.

These iconic designs are built up over time and have to be handled carefully if technical reasons mean that the physical products need to change. The feature “How iconic design builds time-tested brands” looks at a number of case studies where classic designs have been tested in such a way.

When innovation means brand changes

Where ‘product design, packaging, slogans and other brand properties’ have to be altered in order to innovate, there is a risk that this immediate memory recall of consumers is lost. The marketing or brand manager has to achieve a fine balancing act between refreshing the brand and not removing iconic sensory cues.

One such example is shown as Branston’s launch of a new chutney. The original sized jar caused issues when trying to achieve the company’s goal of entering a new category. However the brand really needed to retain the distinctive shape in order to achieve the customer’s instant memory cues. The company took the decision to retain the shape while reducing the size which had many challenges for production in the factory.

Head of Marketing, Lorna Kimberley says: “Factory settings to cope with a smaller jar had to be checked and reset; we had to optimise the label to ensure branding and information fit in to a reduced amount of space; and jar aperture had to be considered – shrinking the shape in perspective would not allow us to use our current lid so we needed to ensure the overall design did not look unbalanced as a shape.”

To look at other case studies where design works with branding, read the whole article here from Marketing Week. What do you consider as true iconic designs that have stood the test of time?

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