SARA TITILAYO LAWAL :)
GRAPHIC BRANDING AND IDENTITY
PART ONE: INDUSTRY, MY FIRST WORK PLACEMENT (BEING A DMA) AND ADAPTING TO A NEW PROFESSIONAL ENVIRONMENT
Since Monday 7th October 2019 I have been working at Add People, a Digital Marketing Agency based in Manchester. Since working here, I have learnt a lot about the process of Digital Advertising, SEO, PPC, Google Ads and Facebook Ads. More importantly I have begun to understand why these features are so critical during the developing growth stages for small to medium sized businesses. During the few months I have been working at Add People I have had the opportunity to work and gain training from numerous departments within the business such as the marketing, strategy and SEO teams. This has been extremely beneficial in terms of my learning process.
One of the core reasons I chose to study Graphic Branding and Identity was due to my curiosity regarding the impact that branding has within global and local economies and businesses. Specifically, understanding how businesses market themselves and how advertising changes and creates the foundation for different brands. Understanding consumer behaviour and how as humans we are so easily influenced. Which really makes us question whether it is irrational to believe humans are intrinsically rational? Therefore, I thought while I’m based in Manchester during my first DPS term I would like to work in a Marketing or Advertising Agency. I spent September applying for jobs as I didn’t want to start my year without any structure, and I knew I would feel a lot more at ease if I had a job straight away. Fortunately, I was able to quite easily find a job that I liked within a month. I particularly like how the agency focuses on digital marketing for start-ups and SMES. Over the past months I have learnt so much, one area of study I also have never previously heard of was the role of heat mapping as a marketing tool. Add People has a digital approach that favours strategy over creative, over 100 digital marketing professionals are employed who deliver targeted online traffic to more than 3500 clients around the globe. So far, I have really enjoyed working in an agency that is extremely strategy focused. When I initially started working it took me a while to separate the strategy and the design process. The experience of working in an agency that favours strategy has made me come to the understanding that post graduation I would like to work in an Agency that is more strategically focused however also incorporates more of a creative response with in the marketing process.
PART TWO: UNDERSTANDING ADVERTISING (A CRITICAL APPROACH)
Over the past decade advertising has increasingly become an “inescapable” force of nature (Williamson 1978 pg. 11). You could say it’s distorting our perception of the real world. According to Anne Bray (2010 pg. 143), we are subconsciously exposed to as many as five thousand advertisements on a daily basis. Advertisements are now perceived as essential cultural influences which are here to “reflect” life. Williamson (1978 pg. 13) continues to develop this concept by acknowledging that adverts are not just attempting to sell “consumer goods” but in fact they are selling a lifestyle with a side of “false materiality”. Likewise, Bray (2010 pg. 142) believes adverts are being used to “unconsciously manipulate" society! She continues to explain that this can be achieved by using visual language to show potential customers ‘who they are ‘verse ‘what they could be’! Bray (2010 pg. 143) highlights how consumers are told that they have potential to be great if they buy (product X), however without (product x) they are made to feel “ugly”, “stupid” and “lazy”. This concept is known as “the false dichotomy”.
Conversely, Dyck (2014 pg. 1) believes that advertising is a vitality in todays “modern consumer society”, due to its “substantial” contribution towards economic growth and development within most countries worldwide. Within Van Dyck’s (2014 pg. 1) book “Advertising Transformed”, he explores a case study from Deloitte which reveals “for every £1 spent on advertising, £6 is generated for the UK economy”. Likewise, Bray tells us that the advertising industry makes 300 billion dollars a year, out of which 7 billion is on outdoor advertisements.
At this point onwards, I began to question how advertisers create such compelling adverts which persuade the average consumer to buy product x, which can lead to mass consumerism and economic growth. Dyck (2014 pg. 2) begins to answer this question by stressing the importance of “brand symbolism" and how it creates value to the everyday consumer. Let’s look at Apple as a brand. Throughout the last decade Apples product portfolio has rapidly expanded. It has begun to sell a lifestyle rather than a product by itself (Duprey 2017). The theory that Apple is choosing to sell a lifestyle rather than a product shows how Dyck’s idea of “brand symbolism” is true as consumers are now buying in to the brand itself. As a result of this brands are able to use advertising to manipulate consumers. This links to the fact that as human beings we have cognitive limitations in our mind’s which effects consumer behaviour. Therefore, sometimes we can make decisions irrationally. Ariely (2009 pg.240) recognizes humans have “deficiencies” and acknowledges our mistakes, he believes that it is foolish to assume all humans act rationally to maxims utility like the Homo economicus model. Firstly, consumer behaviour is anchored meaning the decisions we make are already predetermined based on previous knowledge of a brand or company. This imperfect information that the consumer has about a brand leads to irrational decisions and meaning monopolies are able to take advantage of us as consumers. If we look at apple again, consumer buy products with low specifications at extremely high retail prices in comparison to what these products are truly worth. Wilkinson and Klaes (2012 pg.8) continued to explain that “perceived self-interest” is a much stronger concept as consumers generally misjudge their self-interest which can lead to bad decision making.
Within the final section of this blog I want to explore the importance of Light buyers for advertisers. Dyck (2014 pg. 17) explained how advertising can only be “successful” if it reaches the right target audience. To him it is the “light buyer”. He (2014 pg. 27) uses the Nike campaign “Find your Greatness” to explain this. Firstly, we need to understand the difference between a light and a heavy buyer. A heavy buyer is someone who purchases products from the brand regularly (on a weekly basis), whereas a light buyer is someone who buys the brand a few times a year! Initially you may question why you would aim to advertise to a “light buyer” over a “heavy buyer” when they hardly consume the product, unexpectedly however light buyers make up nearly 80% of the brand buyers. Advertising is most effective when it is aimed at light buyers as it is effective in the long run whereas heavy buyers are more effective in the short run and aren’t really persuaded by advertisement yet instead price promotions. As stated previously, Dyck (2014 pg. 27) used the “light buyer”, to show its effect Nike aimed to inspire the everyday person e.g. “light buyers” to start “moving”. This campaign happened during the London Olympics in 2012 which encourage regular people to become more active and embrace sport! These advertisements were so successful they created $506 million in revenue growth and its increased Nike+ membership by 55%.