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
Corporate Culture
Remote Working as a Cultural Phenomenon

Remote working is now an established cultural phenomenon. From a societal and organizational point of view, a successful remote working policy must be a cultural imperative at an organization, with an intentionality behind it that strives to mitigate factors that weaken remote-worker success, such as poor communication, a sense of detachment from the organization, inadequate […]

Learn More
Culture, Trends
Strategic Thinking at the Forefront of Smart Cities Dialogue in Atlanta

On May 7th and 8th, BrandCulture enjoyed joining the Georgia Technology Institute Smart Cities Dialogue held in Atlanta, GA. Hosts Debra Lam, Joseph Bankoff and Claire Angelle convened an exceptional and diverse group of government, industry and academic leaders for a series of insightful discussions centered on developing smarter communities that think critically about urban […]

Learn More
Corporate Culture
For Employee Onboarding There’s No Second Chance for Day One

Like it or not, humans are hardwired to draw conclusions from first impressions. How fast? Try 100 milliseconds—a tenth of one second. In personal and professional settings throughout the day, every day, people you meet for the first time are drawing conclusions about you—fairly or unfairly—in the blink of an eye. No wonder some rank […]

Learn More
Brand Strategy
Hannover Messe – Branding at the World’s Largest Industrial Conference

The  Hannover Messe conference in Germany is the world’s premier event dedicated to industrial products and services. Think Siemens and its transportation systems, larger-than-life robots, machines that make machines and industrial internet platforms. Some quick facts: the annual 5-day event is held in Hannover, Germany, with over 215,000 visitors and 6,000 exhibitors. Filling nearly 30 […]

Learn More

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

Let's talk
Let's talk