Chapter 9Branding and Packaging

Branding is storytelling. “It's that simple,” Brian Collins said in the previous edition. “And storytelling is always interesting because it's driven by one question: What happens next?” That's what consumers want to learn. It's why they turn the page, why they enter a store, or click online—to see what happens next. The anticipation of being drawn into a new world or experience guides us all. Collins adds: “We are all in the what-happens-next business.” People lose interest, fast, when nothing interesting happens next. So branding people—designers and writers—evolve stories to retain the public's interest. It is the job of advertising and design to help shape brand stories into something truthful, meaningful, and useful. When branding is done with sincerity and imagination, the outcome can be beneficial to the corporation and the individual. Design is a tangible, immediate kind of storytelling because it touches people's actual experience. “It isn't the promise of experience—like an ad,” Collins notes. It is experience.” Design is a brand's promise made visible, and ultimately, personal. And once an experience becomes personal, it can become a meaningful part of someone's own story.

Take the example of pirates and their skull and crossbones flags. That black flag—the logo—was the pirate brand identity, and it sent an unmistakable brand promise to other ships and sailors. The flag prompted distinct brand expectations, which if you believe the ...

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