March 24, 2008

Lifetyle Magazines & Branding

Lifestyle Magazines and Branding  

Return to Lifestyle Magazines Hub  

If one applies the categories of lifestyle applied to consumption as discussed above then it is important to have role models to help generate the desire to consume. The generation of the desire to consume goes beyond what might normally be expected of people in that it can encourage people to aspire to certain ways of living that can easily be reached provided one is prepared to spend money. It then is a matter of how the individual is prepared to spend that money. Magazines and other forms of media which can encourage the branding of goods are an extremely important mechanism for this.  

What is Branding?


There are many different definitions of a brand, the most effective description however, is that a brand is a name or symbol that is commonly known to identify a company or it’s products and separate them from the competition.

A well-known brand is generally regarded as one that people will recognise, often even if they do not know about the company or its products/services. These are usually the businesses name or the name of a product, although it can also include the name of a feature or style of a product.
Wolff Olins is a major branding company. Check out this page to see some of the future for branding. you should make sure you check out the TED video linked to the page. It really does do what it says on the box. (It does seem to be an image of what Web 3.0 might be as well ).
An Activity
  1. When you have suitably recovered think about the sponsorship and branding of the TED talks.
  2. How do you think sponsorship of TED can help build and maintain the brand of the company doing the sponsoring?

The overall ‘branding’ of a company or product can also stretch to a logo, symbol, or even design features (E.g.: Regularly used colours or layouts, such as red and white for Coca Cola.) that identify the company or its products/services. A lifestyle magazine itself becomes a brand in order to distinguish itself from other lifestyle magazines. Usually these magazines will have very tightly defined target markets and audiences. 

An example of powerful branding is Nike:
The Nike brand name is known throughout the world. Large numbers of people can identify the name and logo even if they have never bought any of their products.
However, not only is the company name a brand, but the logo (The ‘tick’ symbol) is also a strong piece of branding in its own right. The majority of people that are aware of the company can also identify it (or its products) from this symbol alone.
The sports clothing and running shoe company Adidas a competitor of Nike is well known for using three stripes on its range of products. This design feature branding allows people to identify their products, even if the Adidas brand name and logo is not present. 
How Branding Can  Benefit  Business

(i) Recognition and Loyalty

The main benefit of branding is that customers are much more likely to remember a business. A strong brand name and logo/image helps to keep a company image in the mind of  potential customers.

If a company sells products that are often bought on impulse, a customer recognising your brand could mean the difference between no-sale and a sale. This is very important in the world of clothing for example.
Even if the customer was not aware of a particular product, if they trust a brand, they are likely to buy a new or unfamiliar product. If  customers are  happy with a companies products or services, a brand can help to build customer loyalty across  a company.   Apple is a good example of a company who seeks to brand itself well in  the world of computers and also  items such as iPods  and now the iPhone.

(ii) Image of Size
A strong brand will project an image of a large and established business to your potential customers. People usually associate branding with larger businesses that have the money to spend on advertising and promotion. Effective branding,  can make a business appear to be much bigger and more important than it really is.

An image of size and establishment can be especially important when a customer wants reassurance that a company will still be around in a few years time.

(iii) Image of Quality

A strong brand projects an image of high quality. Many people see the brand as a part of a product or service that helps to show its quality and value. good branding also increase the social caché. iPods are more popular than Creative Zens partially because of branding.

A strong arguement for branding says that if a person is shown two or more identical products, only one of which is branded; they will almost always believe the branded item is higher quality. As a result they are prepared to pay a premium for this product.

If you can create effective branding, then over time the image of quality in your business will usually go up. Of course, branding cannot replace good quality, and bad publicity will damage a brand (and your businesses image), especially if it continues over a long period of time.
(iv) Image of Experience and Reliability

A strong brand creates an image of an established business that has been around for long enough to become well known. succcess breeds success.  A branded business is more likely to be seen as experienced in designing their products or providing services. As a result they will generally be seen as more reliable and trustworthy than an unbranded business. Many people also believe that a business would be hesitant to put their brand name on something that was of poor quality.  
        
(v) Multiple Products

If your business has a strong brand, it allows you to link together several different products or ranges. You can put your brand name on every product or service you sell, meaning that customers for one product will be more likely to buy another product from you.
For Example:

Sony sells a range of electronic consumer products laptop computers, music equipment, games consoles, camcorders, cameras, DVD players, mobile phones, and etc all under the Sony brand name.

Activities

Please feel free to use the comments box at the end of this posting to develop the discussion 
  • Please identify three well known brands from your two lifestyle magazines.
  • Now research these brands and print off examples where relevant of how they build their brand in other areas of print and non-print media
  • Where branding is done via broadcast technologies identify which channels the branding is done on and when they are broadcast. 
Things you should identify during this activity.
  1. Name of the brand
  2. Which products are being promoted
  3. How the brand is being promoted over and above the specific product
  4. Who the target audience is (gender / age/ ethnicity etc)
  5. What kind of aspirations are being linked to the brand
  6. Comment on how well you think the brand in question is managing to achieve its aims

Lifestyle Magazines and the Discourse of Consumption

You will by now have recognised the importance of lifestyle magazines as part of an interrelated discourse of consumption. By this I mean a whole field of activities which work effectively together to encourage people to consume as much as they possibly can.  


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