David Benady’s article on brand migration (MW May 25), and it’s contributors, missed a crucial and fundamental point – in the packaged goods purchasing process, consumers do not read brands, they recognise them. The strongest brands in the world possess something just as important as a brand name, they have a visual mnemonic which not only facilitates instant recognition of the brand, but also triggers recall of the brand essence – it transports the consumer to the world of that particular brand. Think Nike, or Shell or Cadbury or Nurofen or Mr Pringle – and, dare I mention it, England’s “three lions”.
With a strong visual mnemonic (usually and most appropriately for a packaged goods brand – an icon) brand migration is actually not that difficult because, as Anne le Blond mentioned, “naming is only one small part of the brand story”. Without a
strong mnemonic it’s virtually impossible and would require a ridiculously huge communication investment. If Jif hadn’t had it’s distinctive green swirl, could it have made the move to Cif as easily? You can be sure that if Marathon hadn’t had its strong visual foundation, the Snickers re-brand would never have worked.
A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words – in branding, it’s worth far more than that.