We see it all the time at How to Build a Brand: boards of business-minded and technology-focussed CEOs and CFOs recoil from the mere suggestion of branding design. What does art have to do with making money anyway? they might ask.
This view is understandable, when you consider that most board members are left-brain thinkers, concerned primarily with numbers and other hard facts – and rightly so. However, they would be wise to open the other half of their brains to the possibilities that lie beneath brilliant branding design. In our experience, it has been a powerful brand driver – more powerful than even the product itself.
When Branding Design Outperforms the Brand
Let’s think like a consumer for a moment. What do you notice first about a brand? Unless you’re involved in a blind taste test, it’s usually the branding design. You see the logo, the packaging, the colours, the fonts, and the lines. You see the types of people – the clothes they’re wearing and the jobs they’re doing – in television commercials and on highway billboards. You get the flavour of the brand long before you taste (or smell, feel, or hear) the product.
For this reason, we always suggest putting 100 percent, precursor effort into branding design. It is often the first experience your ideal clients will have with your brand, and should introduce your brand in a memorable way. Think about it: if your branding design is stellar, the next logical step for the quality of your product is up. If your branding design is less than satisfactory, what will drive your product toward improvement?
Throwing out Tradition, with Branding Design
Traditionally, companies have developed a product, established a budget, created a branding strategy…and then invited the branding design team on-board. Today’s experiential wisdom instead suggests that branding design should be introduced at the beginning of the process – in order to establish a creative (and logical) pathway for the brand to follow. This way, values are more easily adhered to and the brand’s vision is demonstrated consistently throughout all touchpoints.
I suppose that brilliant branding design could be compared to award-winning fiction. It’s not ‘real,’ per-say, but think of the impact it can have on everything else that is ‘real.’ Just like Harry Potter, Narnia, and The Hunger Games, it can spur people to take action, to perform authentic brand-forwarding activities, and to buy tangible items that fulfil their needs for bringing that ‘fiction’ to life. It’s the spurring of emotion, the creation of a desire…that can only be satisfied with the product the branding design represents.
What are your branding goals? Are they supported by your branding design? Remember that a product is nothing without representation, and in the world of branding, the face that it takes to the world, its branding design, is the spark that will ignite a fire. Put branding design out front – make it a forethought, rather than an afterthought – and it will clear the way for a winning brand.
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