Raymond Manookian

MA Graphic Design London College of Communication 2010-2011

Category: unit 3: major project

Introduction #3

We live in a world dominated by brands.

Brands are a set of manufactured perceptions and images that identify and persuade our everyday decisions from the food we eat, the way we look, the way we think, even where we live is influenced by brands. This is because in the world we live in today, there are very few (if any) organisations that have not adopted the concept of brand. Everyone from the commercial and corporate sector, government organisations, celebrities, even countries embraced the idea. So much so, that the term brand and branding are now part of everyday language.

However, it is often misinterpreted. As Wally Olins articulates in The Brand Handbook, despite the ubiquity of brands and branding, and despite all the talk, surprisingly few people seem to understand what they are actually about. The subject is confused and confusing. This is partly because brand and its various applications branding (which will discuss later) can encapsulate both big and important and apparently superficial and trivial issues simultaneously’1.

For the purpose of this thesis, it is important to define what the differences are between brand and branding.

What is brand?

A brand represents the full ‘personality’ of the company and is interface between company and audience2. A brand’s construct is a promise that links a product or a service to the consumer. Whether words, images, or emotions, or any combination of the three, brands are, mental associations which are stimulated when you think or hear about a particular product (car or camera), organisation (Apple or Virgin), a corporation (Tesco or Harrods), celebrity (David Beckham or Germaine Greer), even a country (Brazil or Japan). It is something that lives in the brain. Brands are the cognitive associations that exist in the mind. When those mental associations make the associated product, service or organisation more salient, more interesting, or more compelling than the alternatives, they create value. To use a modern analogy it is the ‘file we save in the minds mental desktop’3.

If you look at any of the best brand in world, old or new, it is possible to tell what makes them different from its competitors within its category or sector. The strongest of brands are successful not merely, because they have established a differentiated meaning of their brand, but that they have ensured that it has relevance. What sets them apart is they can reduced this meaningful difference to a simple and understandable thought, or to put in layman’s terms – an idea people can get and connect with the second they see and recognise it. A successful brand is all about detail. Every facet of a brand must be apparent in the organisations communications, behaviour, products and environment4.

As touched upon earlier, brands now cover a broad range of genres, but within the last three decades, the brand landscape has changed in that dominant brands are no longer controlled, and influenced by the commercial and corporate sector. Brands from the charity sector now have a prodigious existence in the minds of the consumer.

What is branding?

Branding is the conveyance of a brand. It is an application of an idea. Figure x shows the many methods in which organisations convey the brand into people minds. They are commonly referred to as the brand ‘touchpoints’. They are the means in which an organisation raises awareness, communicates its values or proposition and builds relationships.  Anything that is an expression of the idea of the brand is a brand touchpoint. Advertising is one of the various touchpoints of a brand and their relevance is to be examined in detail in the next section.

Charity branding

Branding has been increasing employed by the charity and non-government-organisations (NGO) that compete in the emotional territory of people’s hearts and minds with commercial brands for the money in consumers’ pockets5. Since the late 1980’s this sector has been developing and shaping the way in which we interpret their organisations. In 2010, the United Kingdom the charity sector was valued at £53 billion6, with £10.6 billion of this figure coming from the public through voluntary donations7.

Many of our current popular charities and NGOs beginnings started anti-establishment and counter culture movements of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Some can trace their heritage back to the Victorian age. The struggles of the 1960s started to changes that would eventually grown into the ‘personal politics’ of the 1990s8. Charities and NGOs have long been in existence and as global organisations before these events. However, it was during this era that the idea of campaign awareness, through a global community, all coming together as one powerful force, through the potency of mass media that laid the foundations of much of the global awareness campaigns being employed by large international charities and NGOs today.

Charity brands came to prominence in the later part of the 1980’s by the endeavours likes of Band Aid and Live Aid: Famine relief efforts and the AIDS awareness campaigns. Band Aid and Live Aid were both engineered by Irish musician Bob Geldolf. The sales of the Band Aid single, released in 1984, raised over £10 million for the Ethiopian famine relief, and in the summer of 1985, Live Aid the sister event was broadcast to 152 countries around the world in the most ambitious satellite link-up that at that time had ever been created. Live Aid also produced a legacy of charity events, in both Europe and America. These included Fashion Aid, Cartoon Aid, and Artists’ Aid, all of them trying to recapture that precious feeling of goodwill, some more than others9.

The AIDS awareness campaigns of the latter part of the 1980s incorporated the methods and tactics of corporate design and advertising to fight government in action on AIDS issues10. ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) made good use of brand touchpoints, for example developing a reference point (or logo), advertising campaigns, merchandising to name but a few, to reinforce the need to keep the pressure on governments and as a communication tool to educate their benefactors and the general public at large of the issues. The strategic planning and execution established the movement and made sure AIDS remained in the public’s conscious.

Within five years, ACT UP had become a large network of independent city chapters with an international reach spanning two-dozen countries11.

ACT UP represented two important developments; the first was the trend towards ‘personal politics’, and the second the incorporation of professional marketing and brand theory within this sector.

  1. Wally Olins: The Brand Handbook. Thames Hudson 2008, Page 8
  2. The Fundamentals of Branding. AVA Publishing 2009. Page 12
  3. Allen Anderson. Brand Simple by Palgrave Macmillan 2006. Page4.
  4. Brian Boylan, Chairman Wolff Olins. Design Brand Identity (Third Edition). John Wiley & Sons, Inc 2009. Page 275
  5. Wally Olins: On BÒand. Thames Hudson 2004 Page 14
  6. http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/About_us/About_charities/factfigures.aspx. 15 August 2011
  7. UK Giving 2010. An over view of charitable giving in the UK, 2009/2010. December 2010. National Council of Voluntary Organisations
  8. Liz McQuiston. Graphics of Agitation, social and political graphics since the Sixties. Phaidon 2006. Page 134
  9. Liz McQuiston. Graphics of Agitation, social and political graphics since the Sixties. Phaidon 2006. Page 123
  10. Liz McQuiston. Graphics of Agitation, social and political graphics since the Sixties. Phaidon 2006. Page 96
  11. Liz McQuiston. Graphics of Agitation, social and political graphics since the Sixties. Phaidon 2006. Page 128
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Introduction #2

This week, I will be working on putting together the notes that I have accumulated for the various introductory sections of the thesis. It is a little garbled at the moment, and becuae they have been noted at various times, usually in response to something I have read or heard, the tone of voice is a inconsistent. I have worked on a proposed structure, but I am anxious to start to actually get this down in writing to build some momentum as to what my critical position is.

I am also looking to establish if the visual experiments and modes of deconstruction and rationalisation of the material I have is going to be relevant. What changes need to be made and, hopefully, some further avenues for investigation.

Anyway, below is the first draft of the week:

Introduction and context

We live in a world dominated by brands, a set of perceptions and images that identify and persuade our everyday decisions from the food we eat, what we wear, what we read, even where is live is dominate by brands.

Since the late 1980’s the charity sector and non-profit organisations have been developing and adjusting the way in which we interpret their organisations. The charity sector in the UK is valued at £53 billion1, £10.6 billion of that coming from the public through voluntary donations2, and the need for the sector to incorporate the model of the commercial sectors infrastructure and organisation has been of paramount importance. One of its many aspects is the need for a strong and focussed marketing and communication platform.

It is important to define what this study is describing when it talks about brand and branding, as well as, the difference between them, and to clarify what a charity and not-for-profit or non-government-organisations (NGO) is and how it works.

For most professional organizations in the western world, a brand is everything. A brand is the ideas, the memories, and the feelings evoked every time someone thinks of the brand. It is something that lives in the brain. Whether it is words or images, symbols or colours, or any combination of these things. Brands are the cognitive associations that exist in the mind. When those mental associations make the associated product, service or organisation more salient, more interesting, or more compelling than the alternatives, they create value. It is what Allan Anderson; Managing Director of Landor Associates refers to as the ‘save as file’ we store in the minds mental ‘desktop’3.

If you look at any of the best brand in world, old or new, it is possible to tell what makes them different from its competitors within its category or sector. The strongest of brands are successful not merely, because they have established a differentiated meaning of their brand and ensured that it has relevance. It is because they reduced this meaningful difference to a simple and understandable thought – an idea people can get and connect with the second they see and recognise it. This in the media rich western world is about all you are likely to get.

 

 

1. http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/About_us/About_charities/factfigures.aspx. 15 August 2011

2. UK Giving 2010. An over view of charitable giving in the UK, 2009/2010. December 2010. National Council of Voluntary Organisations

3.  Allen Anderson. Brand Simple by Palgrave Macmillian 2006. Page4.

 

 

 

 

Introduction: draft – #1

In 2010, 180,000 charities were registered in England and Wales, generating an annual income of £52.5 billion pounds and employing around 850,000 trustees, 780,000 paid staff and around 2.7 million volunteers.(1)

The vast scope of the UK’s charity sector varies hugely and specialises within many spheres; all of which are governed by the Charities Act of 2006(2).

The Charities Act 2006  is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom intended to alter the regulatory framework in which charities operate, partly by amending the Charities Act 1993. The Act contains three main provisions: definition of the requirements to qualify as a charity, the establishment of a Charity Tribunal to hear appeals from decisions of the Charity Commission, and alterations to the requirements for registering charities.

For the purposes of the law, a charitable organisation must demonstrate that it serves the public interest, and that its purpose lies entirely in the promotion of one or more of the following causes:

  • the advancement of education;
  • the advancement of religion;
  • the advancement of health or the saving of lives;
  • the advancement of citizenship or community development;
  • the advancement of the arts, culture, heritage or science;
  • the advancement of amateur sport;
  • the advancement of human rights, conflict resolution or reconciliation or the promotion of religious or racial harmony or equality and diversity;
  • the advancement of environmental protection or improvement;
  • the relief of those in need by reason of youth, age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage;
  • the advancement of animal welfare;
  • the promotion of the efficiency of the armed forces of the Crown, or of the efficiency of the police, fire and rescue services or ambulance services.(3)

The purpose of this study is to examine the visual language of the charity sector, both international and national, to access the following:

  • What is the visual 
  • What if any has changed within the sector between 2000 – 2010
  • How if any have these organisations changed or evolved their tactics for communicating their message

Business Blog / The Most Powerful Colors in the World by COLOURlovers :: COLOURlovers

Business Blog / The Most Powerful Colors in the World by COLOURlovers :: COLOURlovers.

Impetus Trust meeting

This morning I met with Julia Grant at Impetus. The purpose of the meeting was not only to meet face-to-face and introduce myself. But also, to provide Julia some background of who I am and what I do.

We then began to discuss my potential project and what it is I may be able to provide Impetus. Julia seems very keen and has identified a couple of areas in which will be beneficial to both Impetus and myself.

I talked through my two potential routes and Julia thinks there may be scope for me to interlink them. She mentioned a couple of areas that they are struggling with at the moment, the two in particular were; licensing and franchises. Two areas in which I don’t have much knowledge so I have some work to do here.

We both agreed that the next steps should be to introduce myself to the rest of her team, perhaps with John, and to give them a better overview of what it is I am trying to achieve in the form of a presentation. My job prior to this is to work up some slides which introduce branding and show some of the material I produced in Unit 2 with regards to the visual language of this sector. I’m also going to look at some famous, and infamous, strategies and campaigns of the past.

Overall, the meeting was very positive, and from a personal perspective I finally, this project might have some direction. Regardless of which route(s) we take: this is definitely the start of it.

Below is a summary of the potential routes I may take during the coming months.

Impetus Trust

John Bateson (JB) has mention my name to a lady by the name of Julia Grant. Julia, from what I gathered works for a trust called Impetus. They specialise in providing funds and training for charities and other voluntary organisations and Julia could be a potential source of work and information regarding my project. I have set up a meeting to discuss this further with Julia on the 20 April 2011 at her offices.

But before doing that I clearly need to do some research so have been reading my way through their website (impetus.org.uk). The following notes have been taken from the Impetus Trust website.

Overview

Impetus Trust (IT) works to break the cycle of poverty by investing in ambitious charities and social enterprises that fight economic disadvantage. We use our highly effective venture philanthropy model to accelerate the growth of carefully selected charities and social enterprises so they can help many more people living in poverty.

So what is Venture Philanthropy?
Venture Philanthropy (VP) is an active approach to philanthropy, which involves giving skills as well as money. It uses the principles of venture capital, with the investee organisation receiving management support, specialising expertise and financial resources. The aim is for the social, rather than financial reward.

IT is the pioneer of VP in the UK.

IT was founded in 2002 and was the first VP organisation in the UK. VP, which originated in the US, is growing in popularity around the world. Its effectiveness has been proven by the tremendous growth of charities and social enterprises that have received the report from VP funds.

IT accelerates growth of innovative charities and social enterprises, which have proven models alleviation. The aim is for these organisations is to help people gain an education, skills and jobs. The model has led to IT organisations increasing the number of people they help by a staggering average of 40% a year.

The Impetus approach
The VP package consists of funding, hands-on management support and in-depth specialist expertise. This combination helps turbo charge the number of incentives charities can help.

Investing in the whole organisation rather than isolated projects, with the focus on long-term impact of the organisation.

The cycle of poverty has expired for too long and it is clear that business as usual is not good enough. At IT they believe that if they are to make real headway in breaking the cycle of poverty they need to be innovative and support effective, innovative charities and social enterprises.

So then . . . .
I think what intrigues me the most hear is the language of this website. It is REALLY ambitious and there is a strong possibility that branding, both in terms of design and tactics, will not be regarded as a dirty or foreign word. The next steps are to work out the potential routes that this may take me. But first things first, I need to meet this woman, buy her a coffee and see what she has to say.