Red, White & You
“If Coca-Cola were to lose all of its production-related assets in a disaster, the company would survive. By contrast, if all consumers were to have a sudden lapse of memory and forget everything related to Coca-Cola, the company would go out of business.”
It was 1886 when Atlanta pharmacist John S. Pemberton perfected his winning formula for a soft drink that would take the world by storm. His bookkeeper, Frank M. Robinson, suggested the name Coca-Cola. Perhaps unsurprisingly for a brand that went on to become a market leader, Robinson already had his eye on the advertising possibilities and liked the repetition of the two capital Cs in the logo.
His idea would certainly stand the test of time. Today the Coca-Cola logo – still rendered in the then-popular Spencerian Script font – is ubiquitous.
“The simplest answer is that a brand is a set of associations that a person (or group of people) makes with a company, product, service, individual or organisation.”
‘The Power of Branding’ by Design Council
Creating an association with strong, consistent images (logos) and wording (slogans) is a powerful and emotive advertising tool. It’s also a technique used by internal communications professionals to help connect their people to the company values and objectives, and drive employee engagement in their organisation.
We kept this in mind when we worked with leading insurance company Aviva on their Week of Conversations on global strategy. All promotional materials, conversation guides and supporting collateral carried the image of a spiral made up of five lines – known colloquially as the Koru. Each line of the Koru represents a different strand of the strategy.
By putting the Koru at the heart of all communications and activities, we were able to create a psychological connection between the shape and the content of the strategy. With repeated use, the Koru has become a visual trigger for the strategy, helping to remind colleagues of their understanding of it. In this sense, it’s become a brand of its own.
So if repeating a visual can create that psychological trigger of understanding, what opportunities does this present for internal communications to learn from the world of branding?
Could sound be used: a jingle or a theme song that colleagues associate with a strategy perhaps? Played enough times, the music will create that connection. On video channels, a brief ‘sting’ can produce that visual trigger, preparing people for the content they are about to receive and reminding them of what they may have seen before. Could senses like smell or touch even be used to reinforce a business strategy?
Big brands know that building psychological connections based on sensory experiences is the key to driving brand awareness and creating true advocacy. It can make a vast difference; meaning consumers buy into a concept or philosophy rather than simply a product. Much like the difference between drinking syrup combined with carbonated water, and drinking Coca-Cola.
If you’re looking to truly embed your strategy among your people, we can help you apply the best practice from the world of branding. Give us a ring on 01904 633399.