Leveraging Symbolism Beyond the Logo Itself

Leveraging Symbolism Beyond the Logo Itself

FacebookLinkedInTwitter

Over time brand symbols take on a meaning and come to represent brand equity when brands don’t have the luxury of full explanation or expression. The symbols convey at a glance the totality of the brand to familiar audiences, as well as serve as an invitation to the uninitiated to discover more. Companies like AirBnB, Nike and Nestle leverage their corporate identities as symbols that embody and represent the strategic positioning of each respective brand. But there’s no need to limit symbolism to formal logos. In 1915, Coca-Cola designed a proprietary shape for its bottle—the foundational packaging for their core product—to convey the uniqueness and distinction that sets them apart from other purveyors of soft drinks. Drinking a Coke in a classic contour bottle enables consumers to admire, touch and drink from a container rich in a 100 year+ tradition. It’s a symbol that’s so proprietary that it became only the second package in history to be awarded a US trademark back in 1960. Not a message in a bottle, but a message that is the bottle!

Even when brand packaging isn’t its own registered trademark, it still can leverage the power of symbolism. If a consumer brand seeks to assert quality, it needs to have quality packaging. If the packaging is just average, the company risks having consumers conflate the quality of the packaging with the quality of the product. Few companies understand this concept better than Apple. The company creates an iconic sensory experience through its packaging that communicates the brand without the use of words or a logo — or even the product until the packaging reveals the treasures that dwell therein. Apple creates its packaging to be as visually appealing and satisfying to the senses as the device inside. Every box enjoys sturdy materials, elegant minimalist color, clean, simple and direct design that signify the Apple experience ahead for the consumer.

iPhone Packaging

The idea of integrating symbolism throughout the customer experience even extends beyond visual components. In BMW’s pursuit of “The Ultimate Driving Machine,” the company thinks as hard about sound as they do about sight. Before they ever make it to the showroom floor, BMW doors undergo numerous refinements not only to make sure they open and close properly but to ensure each door makes the “right” sound to reflect the quality of the car. While BMW could make a car door that is close to silent when shutting, BMW knows there’s value in a certain type of “thunk” that symbolizes a well-constructed automobile.

2018 BMW 430i

What are some of your favorite ways brands use symbolism to reinforce and build their value?

Now It’s Your Turn
FacebookLinkedInTwitter

Words
Thinking Beyond the Department of “No”

All ethics, compliance and risk management professionals deal with delivering news that recipients don’t want to hear. In cases of clear violations, there’s often no way to soften the blow or equivocate what went awry. But not always. Too many writers with enforcement authority think they need to stick to the facts and only the […]

Learn More
Brand Strategy, Corporate Responsibility
Purpose without Performance Is Pyrrhic

Over the past two decades popular opinion has shifted about the importance of an organization’s purpose — a raison d’etre that goes beyond financial metrics to encompass benefits from improving company culture for employees to saving the environment from climate change. This purpose is intended to serve as a guiding light for the organization, showing […]

Learn More
Corporate Culture, Organizational Development
The Chief Revenue Officer

Despite their acclaim and notoriety, Chief Revenue Officers (CROs) are only a recent addition to the C-Suite. Charged with aligning and leading a cohesive revenue team that consists of Marketing, Sales and Customer Success members, the CRO remit is to unify silo-ed departments, create frictionless revenue generation and drive a more positive customer experience. The […]

Learn More
Corporate Culture, Corporate Responsibility, Culture
Say It Like You Mean It – Brand Transparency and Social Accountability

The clothing brand Everlane is well known for its minimalistic approach to fashion but mainly its promise of producing ethically sourced, manufactured and priced apparel. The practice, dubbed “radical transparency,” was trademarked by the brand in 2017, now including the brand’s ethical labor practices and sustainability efforts. The Everlane site breaks down the cost to […]

Learn More

Ready to talk about how your brand and culture can do more for your business?

Let's talk
Let's talk