Go Ahead, Smash Your Brand

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"The majority of what we do every day appeals to our non-conscious brain," Martin Lindstrom told attendees earlier this week at the HSM World Business Forum.

"The majority of what we do every day appeals to our non-conscious brain," Martin Lindstrom told attendees earlier this week at the HSM World Business Forum.

Lindstrom, author of Buy-ology, shared insight into reaching the non-conscious brain using branding. He asked attendees, can you "smash your brand" and still have customers and prospects recognize it? That is, are there components besides the logo that are identifiers for your brand like color, sound, touch, taste, shape or traditions? He cited several examples, including the Coca-Cola bottle, designed so that if it shatters someone can pick up any one piece and still recognize it as a Coke bottle. Another example is how Corona beer is often served with a lime stuck in the top of the bottle. He also showed the Marlboro man and several elements from McDonald's, like the colors, the arches, and the French fries.The more senses you appeal to, the more your brand will be remembered, he added. Tactile is most prominent; sounds combined with vision activate the memory and the emotional part of brain. This helps to generate consumer preference, he said.

"How many smashable elements do you have?" Lindstrom asked. He said that a brand needs at least three, and noted that some big brands have about 15; some that have come about by accident, and others that were created on purpose like the Coke bottle.

The future of branding, Lindstrom said, is moving to non-conscious symbolism. He recommends smashing your brand to see if you have symbolic elements you can use. These elements, he said, help customers feel an emotional connection to a brand. Then look for what smashable elements you can add to your brand. "Everything you do should be able to survive without the logo," he said. "That's the next generation."

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