When studying the history of branding, there are two key themes that systematically emerge as the primary drivers of brand success:
As product markets have evolved, so has the notion of what differentiation and consistency mean. Initially, when brands were still equated with logos, differentiation was mostly limited to identification of origin, and consistency meant consistent quality.
With the arrival of life-changing inventions, differentiation could be achieved through unique product features and their functional benefits, while consistency found a home more in the visual application – product design and visual corporate identity.
As genuine functional differences started to erode, differentiation shifted into communications, placing a new emphasis on advertising and creativity. In parallel, consistency came to mean a certain degree of uniformity in communications, across media and channels.
But what about today?
New forces have entered the branding environment; they necessitate fundamental changes and paradigm shifts: