Some folks in the psychological world say there are four aspects to our personality – intellectual, emotional, intuitive, sensual. Or what a psychologist friend once simplified as “head, heart, gut, groin.”
Whether or not we believe in those exact categories, our personalities are made up of several levels. Communications theory says that the more different ways we connect with a receiver (customer, client, voter, employee, etc.) the more likely we are to affect a favorable response.
Good branding should try to address as many personality levels as possible. For example, the merged branding (from a visual standpoint) of Continental and United airlines used the Continental globe tail logo and the United name. Gold (the color in the globe and in the stripe along the side of the planes) is a rich, positive color that can connect on an intellectual (rich) level, an emotional one (security), and a sensual one (warmth).
The previous United colors were red and blue – both potentially positive in their own ways. Yet red is bold but not always soothing. And the “old” United had several different versions of its logo, and planes painted sometimes in ugly, flat gray. The new visual branding has much greater chance to positively hit on many levels.
As for tagline branding, United has returned to various versions of its iconic “Fly the Friendly Skies.” That tagline, created by the legendary Leo Burnett and originally used for more than 30 years, is one of the purest, most evocative statements ever created. The word “friendly” hits so many levels, and United is now using it with several variations (ie: “info…friendly” and “flyer…friendly”).
(Note: United’s interim taglines between the two incarnations of “Fly the Friendly Skies” included “It’s Time to Fly” and “Let’s Fly Together.” One does not need to be a brilliant marketer to see the strength of “friendly” versus either of those bland statements.)
Evaluate your existing and potential branding to see if it connects on multiple levels to your target audience. It’s hard to create a new icon, but striving toward that goal will help create the strongest brand for your business.