How does your brand make a difference

Vanessa founded Ad Lumin, a content marketing agency, which creates and implements content marketing plans so companies can attract the right new customers by raising their profile and visibility. Vanessa is Marketing / PR Ambassador for IoD Central London and Head of Governance on the Institute of Fundraising South-East and London Committee and enjoys tennis and cycling.

Anyone spot the difference between these two wines?

Ok.. one is Sainbsury’s Taste the Difference, and one is Tesco’s Finest range. You can purchase either of these bottles for £7. Both are 2019 vintage which you can safely assume won’t make much difference generally to any wine at this price. I brought one to a (socially distanced) dinner party, my friend brought the other, and we noticed they tasted remarkably similar.. not even similar, but the same! After some forensic bottle reading, we discovered these apparently different wines are exactly the same! This brings me to ask, how does a brand make a difference to customer perception?

Without spending my entire word limit on brand definition, an elusive and much-debated topic, branding originated as a way for farmers to identify their own cattle. More recently in the modern world, quite simply a brand is the face a product presents to the world. It can be associated with sight, smell, touch, emotion, or in this case, taste! A brand can be the feeling your product (or you, if you’re the product), evokes in your client’s mind.

Good branding

Because a definition of ‘good’ branding is inherently a matter of taste, and taste is subjective, can there really ever be such a thing as ‘good’ branding? Well, yes. To me, a good brand is consistent, in its representation, its ‘personality’ and the way it’s communicated. ‘Bad’ branding to me conjures up an image of clashing colours and conflicting fonts, perhaps comic sans for a ‘serious’ product!


Let me give you an example. A webinar I watched this week taught me that around 90% of the world’s largest banks use red and blue colours and the same fonts! So, to stand out, a new market entrant might use pastels or a fluorescent colour scheme to grab attention such as Monzo does.

Another interesting fact is that the Starbucks logo is actually a “twin-tailed mermaid”, or siren, that in Greek mythology lured fishermen to shipwreck off an island in the South Pacific, sometimes reffered to as Starbuck Island. It’s a little known story but true to its form, Starbucks really did ‘lure’ in coffee lovers as its original owners intended and from small beginnings became the global brand we know today.

Staying true to the theme of this story, an example of a timeless brand, the oldest brand in the world is Stella Artois, created in 1366.

Branding doesn’t have to be expensive. Famously, the Twitter logo only cost $15! Good decisions are probably made with a degree of luck, and perhaps a good eye, coupled with a profound understanding of your audience and the purpose you intend for your product. More expensive does not necessarily lead to greater success (as with many things) – Symantec spent a billion dollars on its new logo only for it to fail miserably. So less can be more!

When done well, branding can bring a product to life. It can excite prospective buyers, engage an audience, and compel someone to ‘listen’ to your story. It can evoke deep emotions of attachment, just think of the Cadbury purple! Or a belief in something greater than us, just think of the Olympic rings, or even Apple as a leading inspiration for our fascination with technology. Your brand is your shopfront – it doesn’t have to be expensive to be great, all it needs is a little imagination, a little luck, and a clear purpose.

Written by Vanessa Dal Busco

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