By Tom Nixon
There are still a great many who confuse “branding” with “brand strategy.” When asked to describe a company’s brand, they refer to the logo, or the colors, or the font choice.
But one of the most widely recognized and successful brand relaunches had nothing to do with logos, colors and fonts. And the whole world stood up and took notice.
I’m writing, of course, about the famous Chrysler re-launch that used this Superbowl ad as a springboard:
What’s In a Brand?
Put simply, a brand isn’t a logo — it’s an experience. That experience is achieved (or not) by a company’s ability to formulate and communicate two primary things:
- Brand Voice – What does the brand sound like?
- Brand Image – What does the brand look like?
Chrysler completely re-engineered the then-embattled experience of the Chrysler brand with this ad — not by changing its logo one bit, but by reinventing the brand voice and image.
NEW BRAND VOICE:
- “Imported from Detroit” tagline – The now-famous, unapologetic, full-throated embrace of the Motor City, and all it has stood and stands for.
- Detroit icon Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” serving as the music bed, conveying a universally recognized connection to both the past and the future of Detroit’s inventive, determined spirit.
- The Deniro-sounding voiceover, projecting strength, confidence…almost defiance.
NEW BRAND IMAGE:
- Notice the images used throughout the ad: Overcast skies, wintry cityscapes, iconic Detroit landmarks (warts and all)…grainy, gritty photography treatments. This is Detroit. And we won’t apologize for it. In fact, we EMBRACE it!
NEW BRAND EXPERIENCE:
- Grit. Perseverance. Determination. Spirit. Proudly Detroit. Confident in our heritage…and eagerly looking forward.
WHAT DIDN’T CHANGE:
• The logo. (Okay, it had been tweaked. But is that what anyone noticed or talked about?)
Recall this ad — and its effects on the consuming public — the next time you hear someone equate a logo with a brand. And know that you can completely reinvent your own company’s brand experience without so much as tweaking your identity (many implied caveats there).
A brand starts with strategy. It achieves an end. With a specific audience. It is so much more than fanciful graphic design or whimsical brainstorming.
Tom Nixon serves as president of LV8 Communications, a Birmingham, Mich.-based brand strategy and marketing agency. Nixon has 20 years experience helping companies large and small develop brand strategies to effectively take their unique messages to market. The company provides strategy and execution in all areas of marketing, public relations, social media, digital marketing and brand development. For more information, visit www.LV8communications.com, or email Tom Nixon at email@example.com.