Branding is all about human connection. All elements of branding relate to humanity, and that is why the best branding solutions appeal to the emotions. So expect that the most effect San Francisco branding will always appeal to the human emotions.
Branding is basically creating a personality for a company—a corporate identity if you may. A human being has a face, and so does the brand, which is manifested through its logo. When you see a T-shirt with a Swoosh, you immediately know that it is a Nike, just as you know that the supermodel with a mole on her face is Cindy Crawford.
Just as a person has a personality, so does the brand. Greta Thunberg is a known environmentalist. Her personality is defined by her environmental activism. If she were a company, her green nature would be her brand.
The personality imbibed by Victoria’s Secret is sexiness. That is why people look forward to its annual fashion show to see these popular Angels strutting their stuff in sexy underwear.
Know when to rebrand
Victoria’s Secret, though, hit a blip recently. The brand is reportedly cancelling its anticipated fashion show this year as it considers revitalizing its image. According to the Business Insider, the brand’s market share from 2016 to 2018 dropped from 33% to 24% in the U.S.
The brand wants to evolve as its brand identity remains stuck to the idea that sexy only comes in the package of stick-thin women.
Edward Razek, a man, was responsible for running the Victoria’s Secret fashion show for over two and a half decades. He launched the careers of Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, Gisele Bundchen, among others. He was also a staunch believer of selling a fantasy, which was why the show never cast a plus-size model or a transgender model.
Last August, Razek stepped down as chief marketing officer of L Brands, Victoria’s Secret’s parent company. That same month, the brand hired Brazilian transgender model Valentina Sampaio—the first for Victoria’s Secret.
A brand reflective of society
Just as Razek made his controversial statements about not casting plus-size models and transsexuals in 2018, Rihanna launched her first fashion show for her Savage x Fenty underwear line. The fashion show was a hit and part of its success is through emotive branding of showing sexiness in all sizes and forms.
The 2018 fashion show showed plus-size models not only strutting their stuff but also dancing. This year’s show featured superstar models Gigi and Bella Hadid walking the elaborate stage—not a runway—along with models of different ethnicities, sizes, gender identities, as well as persons with disabilities.
The brand strategy is showing that sexiness comes in different physical shapes, colors and personalities, just as humans come in different forms. In other words, the Savage x Fenty fashion show appealed more to the human emotions than the Victoria’s Secret one because the former was selling reality rather than fantasy.
Power of human connection
Victoria’s Secret’s failure was that its strategy and design did not evolve with the times. In the early 2000s, the most famous pop singers were Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC. Even if Aguilera has a set of pipes that rival Mariah Carey’s, her brand then was a sexy teen who can sing and dance. This was the same brand stamped on Spears and the boy bands.
Currently, when you look at the Billboard chart, it is topped by plus-size singer Lizzo, sexy Latina Camila Cabello and tomboy Billie Eilish. For male artists, you have gay singer Lil Nas and rapper Post Malone dominating the charts.
Branding agencies cannot just cater to one type of human or isolate a kind of personality. The brand strategy should connect with all kinds of people and show that diversity through the company branding.
San Francisco branding
San Francisco is known as the home of tech companies and startups. But it is also big on branding. It is home to top brands like Levi’s, Gap, Heath Ceramics, among others. It is also home of top branding firms like Ramotion, which is great at creating visual identities while developing brand strategies for various companies.
Brand agency with offices in San Francisco will definitely prosper with the many opportunities surrounding them: tech companies and startups. It is also important to note that San Francisco, according to a Deutsche Bank report, has the highest salaries in the world. However, this could also be balanced by the fact that San Francisco is also among the most expensive cities to live in.
An opportunity for branding is also an opportunity for a design firm to handle web design, which is an integral part of branding. A San Francisco branding company should have a counterpart design agency that can easily carry out branding instructions and have these reflected in the web page of the client.
Experiences and interactions
A successful brand relates to everyday people. This is why McDonald’s continues to be one of the most successful brands in the world: it relates and adjusts to the people. Americans love burgers and fries, so McDonald’s creates different kinds of burgers to cater to the different American tastes.
You know the French love their coffee and the McCafe in France can rival any coffee shop with its various coffee specialties and a wide selection of pastries.
When you are in Asia, McDonald’s have rice meals. In Middle East, McDonald’s meals are in a wrap. Of course there will be some fish fingers in the McDonald’s in London, which is famous for its fish and chips.
McDonald’s adjusts its menu around the world to cater to the local tastes. But of course, it will retain the brand’s famous burgers, particularly the Big Mac.
Success in branding lies in the company’s ability to touch human emotions and that will only happen if the branding firm interacts with people and experiences what people on the street experience. That was the problem with Razek, he was perched on his castle without interaction with regular people that he thought fantasy will continue to sell.
Well, tastes change and trends evolve—so does branding. Keep human experience and interaction alive in order to create a successful brand.