When a Brand Goes Beyond a Name

When I was younger, I remember how important it was to have certain name brands attached to things like clothing and shoes. This was so important, in fact, that kids were subjected to ridicule by their peers for not having the “cool” logos and designs associated with jeans, sneakers, and even polo shirts. I even remember when the difference between Guess and Calvin Klein clothing or accessories could determine your social standing in a school setting—down to whose table you were invited to join at lunch.

This is not necessarily the case with today’s younger consumers. They are more concerned with how a brand behaves in the public eye: its social media personality and the overall consumer experience. Brands are becoming more aware that by creating a story that connects to consumers on a personal level, they can leave a lasting impression. This creates a new form of brand loyalty and engagement, and positions the product as secondary to brand identity and reputation.

The following represent examples of this movement in the marketplace.

Dunkin’ Donuts recently dropped the “Donuts” from its name. By simplifying its logo, Dunkin’ is creating a space where the brand can focus on other products, including the rest of the food menu, making it more competitive with other big names such as Starbucks.

Weight Watchers rebranded as “WW” to better reflect the brand’s shift to emphasize wellness. The change is in response to greater demand for accessible, healthy lifestyles—once only available to those who could afford the pricey nutrition, supplements, or luxury spa treatments that were the traditional hallmarks of a healthier lifestyle. Wellness today is more about doing what you can with the resources at hand. The WW brand recognizes the consumer need for an affordable, personalized approach to healthy living.

Spotify is offering a customizable turkey playlist to help users perfectly cook a turkey this Thanksgiving. By inputting the weight of your bird, the “Turkey Timer” will select a group of songs that will span the suggested length of time for cooking. Users can further personalize the listening experience by choosing from different musical genres. This new feature is giving Spotify a unique way to interact with consumers during the holiday season without selling a new product, but instead essentially “branding” the time you spend cooking this holiday season.

We are watching this trend unfold, and first identified it in our Q3 Report: Identity Branding, which is available for download here.

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