Branding is more science than art. You are trying to plant a seed in people’s minds about an idea that will eventually lead to a sign up, a sale or a conversion. Art has its part to play but it is just that, a part. The science is much more daunting.
Carl Jung pioneered the idea of the collective unconscious in the twentieth century. It is the basis of any branding strategy worth its salt.
The collective unconscious is a unique component in that Jung believed that this part of the psyche served as a form of psychological inheritance. It contained all of the knowledge and experiences that humans share as a species.
These experiences are a culmination of our perceptions, preferences and prejudices. It is where all the narratives we see around us come from. Putting it in perspective, when a brand is aligned with the collective unconscious of the target demo, it just works. This phenomenon occurs because the brand is talking about a value that a person needs in their life but were not aware of it. It reminds them of something they never experienced but somehow, when interacting with it, the brand makes them feel like as if they were home.
It is subtle, but its there.
Let’s take YouTube as an example. The name in itself is a paradox. The tube refers to the old fashion Cathode-Ray-Tube bulky television sets before the internet became an integral part of our lives. In essence, YouTube is the mortal enemy of the Tube TV sets. But the name just works. Its simple and reminds one of the old-fashioned TV sets that were once a status symbol in a community. Even if you are a Gen Z and have never seen a tube in your life, YouTube still resonates. Now of course, you can attribute the brand’s retention to its accomplishments on the interweb, its reach and the power it has given the common people to voice their opinions. But ask yourself, what does the Tube in YouTube is about?
The story here is simple. You are the tube. You have total control on what you watch, how you watch it and can even broadcast your own content and make yourself financially independent if you have got the goods.
Apple is another example. What does a fruit have to do with computers? Absolutely nothing! But the collective unconscious consequences are huge. I am not even going to talk about the logo, just the name. The apple here, I believe, relates to the forbidden fruit and the story of Adam and Eve. Everyone knows the story, even if they don’t believe in it. But the story is there, etched in humanity’s mind, at least for now. Apple, the company, is pointing towards the exclusivity of their product and connecting it with the forbidden fruit, and since everyone knows how the story goes, pricing the new Apple Stand at $1000 is really not that much out of character for Apple.
The collective unconscious holds in it, archetypes. Something I will talk about in the next blog post. They give a much deeper understanding of which kind of story works where and what suppressed desires it can latch on to.
A brand plants a seed in the minds and hearts of the people it touches. Giving it a kick-ass origin story makes it more believable on a deeper level. The people don’t need to believe the story. They just need to feel that its there, hiding in the crevices of the visual and literal content it throws out.