Portfolio

Make Friends: Branding Thesis

With hundreds of brands and thousands of products available, how do people identify and choose a brand over another? Perhaps the same way as we identify our friends among billions of strangers on earth.

duties

research, writing, design

problem

Did you know there are over 217 breakfast cereal brands in the U.S. alone? With that many options, it's practically impossible for consumers to make a fully informed decision as to which brands are better than others and how. The more brands entering the market, the greater apathy among customer, the harder for brand entities to effectively differentiate themselves.

Insight

There are billions of people on earth, but humans somehow manage to identify their loved ones from complete strangers and build relationships. If you believe in Dunbar's Number, one's group of stable social relationships can be as large as 150 people. Suddenly, picking a cereal box out of 217 brands seems an easy task. Humans are apparently capable of detecting subtle differences from other humans, and making or breaking connections with them. How do we utilize the ability to communicate brands so that they can better connect with people?

Hypothesis

A brand is like a person; it has personal qualities, build relationships, and narrates its stories like a person does. Utilizing personality psychology theories, narrative frames and archetypes, and cognitive tools to measure behavioral patterns, we can better understand the dimensions of brand and thus better communicate them.


Brands as individuals: clear parallel between individuals and brands in how they form and express their qualities, i.e. personalities Brands as individuals: clear parallel between individuals and brands in how they form and express their qualities, i.e. personalities

Personality types and archetypes: examples of brands (left) and peple (right) in Hartwell and Chen's brand archetype framework. Personality types and archetypes: examples of brands (left) and peple (right) in Hartwell and Chen's brand archetype framework.

Brands in interpersonal relationships: we could assume that brand-customer relationship development will be similar to that of person-to-person relationship. Brands in interpersonal relationships: we could assume that brand-customer relationship development will be similar to that of person-to-person relationship.

Brands as narratives: in any story there are characters, each with different personality. Put a brand in place of one of the characters, then we have a narrative setting. Brands as narratives: in any story there are characters, each with different personality. Put a brand in place of one of the characters, then we have a narrative setting.

Comparative example of fundamental anatomy and behavior traits of a person and a brand. Comparative example of fundamental anatomy and behavior traits of a person and a brand.

Comparative example of corporal and attitudinal behaviors of a person and a brand. Comparative example of corporal and attitudinal behaviors of a person and a brand.

Brands as patterns: humans have sophisticated cognitive capability to decode complex or/and fragmented stimuli to reconstruct original form. Brands as patterns: humans have sophisticated cognitive capability to decode complex or/and fragmented stimuli to reconstruct original form.

Brands as patterns: examples of logomark system that take advantage of pattern recognition, which don't rely on a single monolithic brand mark. Brands as patterns: examples of logomark system that take advantage of pattern recognition, which don't rely on a single monolithic brand mark.

Axes of brand behavior: how brands behave in public along multiple corporal axes. Axes of brand behavior: how brands behave in public along multiple corporal axes.

Axes of brand behavior: an example of triaxial diagram to illustrate the corporal behavior elements Brooklyn Fare exhibits through various channels. Axes of brand behavior: an example of triaxial diagram to illustrate the corporal behavior elements Brooklyn Fare exhibits through various channels.