• Jonathan White

Battle of the brands

Updated: Oct 11, 2019

Branding is playing an ever increasing part in our lives, our politics, our sports, our culture and even our nation. England itself as a brand has been centuries in the making, but what exactly do we mean by the word ‘brand’?



The simplest answer to this age old question, is that a brand is a set of associations that a person makes with a company, product or service. A common misconception is that a brand is simply a logo or identity.


Although a logo is a vital component seen most frequently by the greatest number of people, it is just one manifestation of a complex brand. Today business branding is a strategic level activity, almost a mystical phenomenon that can inspire loyalty beyond logic. More than just a logo, they represent a company’s image and reputation.


Until recently a brand was known as an image or a logo that signified ownership. This practice was seen in use on cattle in 19th century America, and until outlawed in 1822, on people too. How many of us call our vacuum cleaner a Hoover, whether it is or not? How many of us try something new, but then revert back to the brand we trust? We all feel loyalty towards certain brands. Even when products or services let us down, we are prepared to forgive them. According to a recent Readers Digest survey Dell, Nokia, Nivea, Persil and Kelloggs are the UK’s most trusted brands.

Examples of brands hitting the right note


1. Goldie Oldie - In 1878, Pears soap created advertising which was perhaps the first use of branding in a commercial sense, with the aim of engaging the public with their product. Pears soap also ran competitions where parents could send in pictures of their darling little girls with fresh complexions, in the hope that they would be chosen to be the face of the brand.


2. Devil of a brand - Manchester United Football Club are one of England’s most famous brands. The ‘Red Devils’ play all over Europe, Asia and Australia, and have marketing agreements with the New York Yankees, and deals with Nike and AIG. Brand MUFC employs a Scottish manager and players from all over the world. Even the most ardent opponent of Manchester United would acknowledge that the club has fans right around the world. Throughout their 140+ year heritage they have won over 60 trophies. It has recently been estimated their global following is a quite staggering 650 million supporters.


3. Emotional battle(s)cars - A evocative battle of the brands rages between German luxury car manufacturers BMW, Mercedes and Audi. Differences in performance and price are marginal. It’s the emotional side of the battle which leads consumers to make their decision.


BMW has been branded ‘the ultimate driving machine’ - sporting performance combined with peerless build quality. The Mercedes brand attitude is defined by the feeling a motorist gets when driving a Mercedes. The impression of exclusivity comes from the heritage and pioneering spirit of the company. Audi have a progressive nature to their brand where clarity and form combine with advanced technology - ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’.

Brand awareness quiz


Take a look at the famous drinks brands below. How many can you recognise without seeing their logos? Scroll down for the answers...



And the winners are:


A: Grolsch: Est. 1615, now sold in 70 countries worldwide; Brewery recently sold for £400m. Distinctive ‘Beugel’ bottle design uses a swing-top cap, eliminating the need for an opener.

B: Smirnoff Vodka: Clearly Original. Clearly Smirnoff. It is the world’s best selling vodka brand, born in Moscow in the 1860s, with worldwide sales over £275m.

C: Coca-Cola: First sold in bottles from 1894, the iconic ‘contour’ glass bottle was introduced in 1915. Now sold in over 200 countries, the brand alone is worth £22bn.

D: WKD Original Vodka: Only launched in 1996, is already ranked as the no.1 ready-to-drink brand in the UK. £20m has been spent to maintain their position in the market - being the newest brand you may not have spotted this one, unless you have a WKD side?

E: Baileys: Launched in 1974, it did not originate from Ireland and was in fact created by a Cornishman! The world’s no.1 liqueur, it is sold in over 130 countries.

Playing by the rules


After working closely together to develop your brand, I would advise that we produce a brand guidelines document. This guide will help you and your team successfully implement your new brand, ensuring the results are consistent, adaptable and future proof. It will provide information on the various design components such as typography, colours, materials, social media assets, any templates and sourced photography.


Garlic can help you create a brand solution for today’s business battlefield, with the use of strikingly simple yet effective communications.

Design work that brings the flavour. #branding #brand #identity #marketing
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