Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Branding - A new coat of paint or a new foundation?

I was enjoying lunch yesterday with a client who recently joined her organization.  We were discussing brand-building and the differences between the strategic version and the tactical approach.

Where she came from, branding was all about the latter.  New colors, a different logo, and yet another round of graphic standards.  And that was it.  She left, in part, because of her frustration with the organization and its lack of a strategic branding approach.  Not just slapping a new coat of paint, but creating a new foundation!

We talked about the strategic approach - whereby the entire organization either changes or is re-energized by a brand strategy.

The strategic approach includes an understanding of your market, customers, competition, and the Mission of the organization.  Then it evolves into a brand story which can be told to the marketplace, both internal stakeholders and external customers.  After the story is tested for relevance, THEN it's time for the painter to apply the brush.

And it's amazing that when the painter comes in AFTER the brand construction crew, it works better.  The colors tell the story, too.  The identity brings it to life.  It's a beautiful thing!

The last item on our agenda was the CEO.  We both agreed that if the CEO isn't behind the brand strategy - doesn't get it or want it - it'll never happen.  

Because brand-building isn't about new construction or a paint job.  It's about having your house in order.  The people act, its furnishings, etc. That's the real art of branding and what makes this business so much fun.

So, don't just open a can of paint.  Bring out the lumber and the nails and work hard to build the brand story.  Once done, it really is amazing how "easy" other decisions are when the foundation is in place.

Brand on,
Springboard Brand & Creative Strategy


docsole said...

Carpentry or painting? I'm afraid CEOs today want to flip their houses on the cheap when everyone - customers and associates - want to live in a better home. Cheers to the architect who wouldn't take on this project.

Rob Rosenberg, President, Springboard Brand & Creative Strategy said...

Good point Docsole - the CEO is the master architect of any major branding campaign and has to be willing to make the right investment. Thanks for your comment.