Over the years, brand mythology has created some interesting misperceptions. With everyone so insanely busy all the time, it’s pretty tempting, I think, to do a set-it-and-forget-it move with your branding and forge ahead with business activities that seem more urgent.
- “Your brand is how you look.” Well yes, you do need a logo and letterhead and a color palette and probably some snappy stuff about proper brand language. But branding is a lot more than mere appearance. Brand is “… the voice of your communication; it’s the commitment of your people.” I’m betting that the people behind Ghost Ship, the Millennium Tower in SF, and the Grenfell Tower in London wish they had put more thought and care into their brands.
- “Your brand is an expense with hard to measure ROI.” You can always find someone with the accounting and financial skills to come up with an accurate company bottom line. It’s not romantic, but it’s as good a measure as any and arguably better than most.
- “Your brand reflects the people at the top.” Hah! With the way CEOs come and go, you’d better hope your brand is better served than it is by the customer service agent whose script promises to “delight” you.
- “Your brand is not as important in the digital world.” Oh come now. And I quote Mr. Breininger directly: “Online there is a huge increase in transparency and competition. Brand managers must be even more diligent online to establish strong, positive associations.”
- “You brand it, and forget it.” Really? This speaks to my post of last week, which addressed the concept of permanent brand transience. As Mr. Breininger puts it, “You must carry the value you’ve built forward while constantly updating it.
The point here is that brands are living things, and living things are constantly changing, while remaining stable at the core. In a way, they’re like your grandfather, whose hair has gone gray over the years you’ve known him but whose personality is unchanged. He uses Facebook now, rather than picking up the phone as much as he used to, and he’s pretty adept with his cell phone. But, with all the changes, he’s still the grandpa you know and love and depend on. And that’s his magic in your life.