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e live in a time when the family unit is disintegrating; many of us are
away from home in foreign environments and live transient lifestyles.
With the advent of Facebook, MySpace, and Second Life, our innate
human desire to belong in a community manifests itself in very different
ways from those of our ancestors, providing support and interaction in a way they could
never have imagined. The emotional need state to connect has remained, but the tools have
evolved. As human beings, we continually look for friendships, connections, and links with
people, products, and services that share similar values to our own.
Companies such as Coca-Cola have always understood that their customers want to feel
a sense of belonging. Its brand has global presence and a global message of sharing and
friendship. Starbucks, too, has a similar approach, encouraging the development of a daily
ritual, creating a powerful sense of dependability between the product and the customer,
who, by buying into the brand, receives the promise of constant pleasure and indulgence.
With every purchase, we evaluate the emotional investment we are making into the brand
and the benefits we gain from the experience. As with human friendships, the brands we
choose give us a sense of familiarity and comfort, built over time through trust and con-
sistency. We long to be warmed by the love our brand exudes, and if the product gives
us what we desire and the brand messages promote an emotionally uplifting experience,
slowly and surely our sense of belonging grows stronger.
KATIE WARNER, Principal of Studio Three Creative in London, England
Katie Warner studied design at Central/St. Martins School of Art in London
and took her postgraduate studies at the Warsaw Academy of Art in Poland.
In her career, she has worked for London’s leading design consultancies and
held senior positions in creative agencies in both Paris and Singapore. She set
up Studio Three Creative in 2000 and continues to work with Mac Cato on
both U.K. and global projects. Most important, she is known to both her clients
and her peers for having an exceptional balance of creative talent and intel-
lectual prowess.
A Need To Belong
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