We started the class by discussing the definition of branding. Branding is not only about the logo and advertising, it also includes the representation, personality, coherence and principles of an organisation or individuals. People in different industries define branding in different ways. Branding student Sarah (Fudin) Hermalyn collected 100 definitions of it. (Fudin, 2014)

Different types of branding including commercial (Apple, Nike, …) Institutional (UAL, Tate, Southwark Council…), Geographic Location (Elephant & Castle, the U.K.) and personality (Andy Warhol, The Beatles…). Each has their own audience group.

Then we were asked to draw a picture about brands we are using, and think about the brand concepts.

Picture of my drawing
Picture of my drawing

After that, we were divided into groups, each group need to pick a brand and develop a character and story. We picked Sennheiser as our brand and made up a mid-age male character according to the classic look of the headphone.

The storyboard we made allows the character to move around while telling the story.

Storyboard

This activity is related to Jim Signorelli’s ‘the 6 Cs of StoryBranding process’ theory, who described StoryBranding as ‘both an analytical and a creative process’.

Figure: The StoryBranding Process (source: Signorelli, 2012, pp.66)
Figure: The StoryBranding Process (source: Signorelli, 2012, pp.66)

As showed in the image, the six steps are:

  1. Collect The Back Story
  2. Characterise The Brand
  3. Characterise the Prospect
  4. Connect the Characters
  5. Confront the Obstacles
  6. Complete the StoryBrief

Although there are many ways of telling stories, this theory provides a ground for StoryBranding. ‘Once this process is completed, we should see a logical consistency between all of the newly defined brand story elements. Furthermore, we will have outlined and unfolded both the plot and the theme of the brand story.’ Brand owners will still need to set their own theme and style. (Signorelli, 2012)

A brand that comes to mind is John Lewis. Every Christmas, John Lewis produces an advert telling a different story, they all deliver the same message: love and care. I consider this as a clever and successful campaign. The 2016 Christmas advert was published on YouTube on 9 November 2016, and up to 10 January 2017 it has 24,729,320 views. The video clip itself does not show any product or price, but once you click ‘continue the story’, it leads you to the web page promoting their events and products.

John Lewis Christmas Advert 2014: Monty The Penguin

John Lewis Christmas Advert 2015: Man on The Moon

John Lewis Christmas Advert 2016: Buster The Boxer

Unlike John Lewis, Gocompare.com made adverts in a very different style. In all of their advert, the Gocompare guy shows up and sings the same song. People in the comment expressed varies opinions about their adverts. They either love the style or find it very annoying.

Gocompare.com TV Advert – Gondola


References

Signorelli, J. (2012) StoryBranding: Creating Stand-Out Brands Through the Power of Story. USA: Greenleaf Book Group.

Online

Fudin, S. (2014) ‘What is branding?’, The School of Visual Arts. Available at: http://branding.sva.edu/what-is-branding (Accessed: 19/01/2017).