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Go Logo! A Handbook to the Art of Global Branding by Mac Cato

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Determinant 9
Persuasion:
Black Can Be White; Roses Can Be Blue
From Chambers Concise Dictionary:
Persuade: to induce by argument, advice; to bring to any
particular opinion; to convince
Persuasion: the act, process, method, art, or power of
persuading; an inducement
9
This men’s body spray by Right Guard defies the branding mold by
using a unique packaging design. Nonetheless, the creative design is
masculine enough to attract its buying audience—young, athletic men.
(Design: Wallace Church)
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Go Logo! A Handbook to the Art of Global Branding164
I
f asked to provide the simplest explanation of the branding function, the one-word
answer would be “persuasion.” In a bricks-and-mortar retail store, staffed with sales
associates trained to persuade you about the attractions of many brands, the sales pitch
can become a sociable dialogue about a single brand’s many attractions, because you
specifically asked about it, or the dialogue can quickly segue to friendly advice on other
models or other brands, as well.
It is far harder to be persuasive when the
selling effort is via more conventional
media, but that will be the challenge most
often faced by the majority of creative brand
warriors. The Internet can be a very effec-
tive medium for “pre-shopping,” offering
opportunities for extensive research, even
for the everyday products sold on big box
grocer or pharmacy shelves. In these selling
environments, where collateral and packag-
ing must do their jobs, you, as a creative
brand warrior, must consider how your
design can best engage each shopper in a
personal dialogue. The commercial persua-
sion message that you must create through
your design has many built-in limitations,
not all of which are concerned with size,
copy, or number of units and shelf place-
ment in a crowded and competitive envi-
ronment. Creating a unique concept and an
intriguing package design is only part of the
equation. The biggest obstacle for the best
brand-oriented product and package design-
ers is to develop a provocative and winning
case with the client. Basing a presentation
on design principles or solely on issues of
shelf impact, or even side-by-side compari-
sons with competitors, is not enough.
The persuasion techniques best used
here are all psychologically focused.
Understanding the likely mindset of the
client, the distribution channels, and the
consumer is paramount. And successful
brand warriors recognize that getting the
opportunity for a dialogue with the con-
sumer depends entirely on how effective
they are in persuading the client that he or
she made the right choice. (I’ve never, ever
worked with a client who wasn’t a packag-
ing expert.)
Whatever aspect of the brand’s overall
commercial persuasion program you are
involved with, the essential issue is to un-
derstand all the factors revolving around the
brand’s current strategic positioning and its
agreed selling proposition. Always remem-
ber that the story of the brand is a con-
tinuing saga. If the brand is a major global
player, it will have much received wisdom
surrounding it. Think, for instance, of Coke
(and I need not add Cola for recognition)
as a famous Shakespearian epic. The plot
might not change, but the staging, the inter-
pretation, and, most important, the players
involved can vary quite dramatically. In fact,
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