At first in this context, I would like to remind that brand work on this site has a broader meaning than producing logo originals.
If a company – or other such actor – has customers, partners, owners, network or any connections in general at all to the world around it; and thus the need for interaction with these; then the need for brand work exists.
No company – doubltly – has intentions or reason for brand work just for the joy of doing, and separately from everything else that happens in the company. Every company – or similar actor – promises something: good service. Fast delivery. Cheap price. Unprecedented experiences .. something that will be worth of the customer’s compensation. This is how the exchange economy works. And brand work helps in this.
In order for brand work to have a recognized role and importance in company’s operations, must be possible to set goals, expectations or tasks that can be used to verify and evaluate the worth of brand work.
Here are the most important four tasks and expectations that should be considered for brand work.
1. Company strategy driven objective.
The company’s strategy describes the significance and role of the brand for company operations, and which things and features of the company or product / service get a visible role in the brand work. This is brand strategy.
The expectation derived from the company strategy for brand work is to support business by creating conception image and building awareness. Either for an individual product or service brand or for a corporate brand. Awareness is a sub-goal when the main goal is a thought leadership or value leadership in a certain industry, across industries, in a specific business segment target group or even in society level. Of course, awareness can also be sought for other motives.
Support business by building recoginition for thought leadership.
2. Business derived objective.
The expectation of the business – especially those responsible for sales – for brand work is straightforward and simple. How does brand work correlate with sales and ultimately operating profit?
When brand work has the right position in a company, this can also reasonably be expected. Brand work should be a lead generator for sales, which in turn picks interested and willing customers from buying journey at the right stage and lead them to the finish line. And then repeat.
Does brand work correlate with business success?
3. Creative objective.
This task does not come directly from any level of the company organization; nor is the task assigned directly to any specific function of the company. But the expectations, of course, are at the general level for those responsible for branding – who are the top management, and, of course, those working in designated brand work roles. However, th brand work in whole is so extensive that practically everyone working in the company and all partner networks connected to it have a share in it.
The fundamental expectation is to recognize what is unique and different in a brand; what is significant in the company or product / service. Then it is to be identified the opportunities to tell others about it. This is an absolute priority of brand work.
If there is nothing to tell about the uniqueness of a brand, it cannot then be unique.
Once uniqueness – in other words, the distinguishing factor – is clear, it is possible to build a framework to show it and a content plan to convey it. Typically, this task is either in-house brand work or work with a network of partners, such as advertising or marketing and design service providers.
Build a framework for brand appearance and contents.
4. Objective for responsible brand personnel.
The last of the four tasks is the most important.
Planned, commercial and goal-oriented brand work has been done on a global scale for decades. In Finland, goal-oriented brand work can be considered seriously since the late 1980s, when specialist design studios began to become more common.
To this day, the principle of brand work has comprehensively permeated the entire ecosystem, from training to design companies and the internal organization of client companies. When brand work has no longer been the playing field of design companies specializing exclusively in it, it has inevitably led to a dilution of know-how. As the skills become thinner, disadvantages have emerged.
Dismiss the conception of being able to control The Brand.
The principles of branding or, for example, the subject described in the name of Design Management, have been taught more widely – that is good. But, if the study modules have been superficial, then the depths and fundamental questions of brand work have not been reached. Often, only things that focus on management in brand work have remained in memory and came to practice.
It has long been noticeable that management in brand work has become more professional and increased. You can already find at least a brand manager in the largest companies. Brand directors are also not uncommon. Companies that manage multiple brands often have a brand manager for each individual product brand. It’s already quite a large army of managers.
It is a delusion that it is possible to control a brand with effective management.
And what do managers do? They manage. Job descriptions and job tasks related to brand work vary in companies. If brand responsibilities come on top of another job, the workload can be heavy. Then the effort is to streamline the rigidity of the heavy workload through efficient management.
It is easy to mistake that effective management makes it possible to totally control a brand. More wrongly it could not be thought of.
The concept of overmanagement involves to brief partners with detailed regulations and precise guidelines on the interrelationships of brand components and the “positions of mouthpiece” in promotional photos. Then the success of brand work is measured by monitoring and supervising the implementation of these boundary conditions. In reality, these things don’t bring joy and benefit to anyone but those supervising the details and their designers. In this case, one has moved far away from what’s significance in brand work and how it can add value to company.
The brand is out of the control immediately when something is let out of the marketing machinery.
Despite a hundred-page guideline, the brand is out of the company’s control immediately when something is let out of the marketing machinery. Especially in these golden times of social media, a brand can go into an uncontrolled spiral in seconds. When a storm of social media, and through it the entire media, strikes a company, it doesn’t matter if the logo was in the upper left or right corner.
The last task, then, is to realize that perfect is boring. Abandon the delusion that the brand could be totally controlled. Instead of control: let the brand come to life. Don’t manage it to death.
Bring the brand to life. Do not manage it to death.
. . . . . .
Timo Keinänen Explorer, service designer, concept designer, art director, writer and designer.
”I belive that you should be yourself, as all other roles are already taken. If you have the opportunity to express an opinion, express your own.”
Thougths, posts and opinions represent myself only.