Ready for a little "Inside Baseball" (thank you, Sarah Palin) from a marketing veteran?
"Branding" ain't what some of you think it is.
What's billed as "branding" is often little more than unified graphic design. But you rarely hear an agency executive say that, for one simple reason: It doesn't make financial sense.
A "unified graphics effort" may produce $10,000 in agency fees. But deliver the same work and call it a "branding initiative" and it could pay $100,000 or more.
Real brand-building involves much more than graphics.
It's the product. Service. Guarantee. Employees. Customers. Stores. Offices. Values. Culture. Charitable giving. And yes, advertising.
So when people say "That's off brand," they may really mean something doesn't comply with graphic design guidelines.
Speaking of that, when a book of "brand guidelines" inhibits innovation, differentiation or other important stuff ending in "tion," I suggest you throw it out and start over.
If your new "branding" is nothing more than competent graphic design, and lacks that special quality found in genuinely awesome advertising, it won't do much for your brand.
Graphic design is immensely important, and consistent, high quality design raises brand awareness and preference. No doubt about it.
But game-changing ideas matter even more. They're capable of transforming businesses, industries, organizations, and institutions. They change the world.
What do you think?