Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Brand is in your Guts

I love reading the Nubby Twiglet archives.  Nubby is a perceptive, talented, on-trend designer and brand consultant that writes a blog about design, fashion, branding, and typography.  Her post on personal branding was one of the catalysts that sparked my interest in branding as a whole.

Her review of The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier is excellent, but it caught me off-guard.  Some of the first words of the book are:
First: A brand is not a logo.
Second: A brand is not an identity.
Finally: A brand is not a product.

I had no issue accepting the first and final statements.  I know from experience that a brand is not those things.  The second was harder to swallow.  My thought had been that a brand was the total represented identity of a business, product, or service, not limited to the logo or product, but certainly inclusive of them in its overall identity.  When people ask me what I do, I tell them Brand Identity Marketing.  Taking identity out of it seemed extreme.  If a brand isn't the identity of the company, what is it?

A brand is a person's gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.

It's a gut feeling because people are emotional, intuitive beings. It's a person's gut feeling because brands are defined by individuals, not companies, markets, or the public.
True to form, I got hit in the gut when I read that.  It's true.  We buy and act emotionally, because those decisions come from a primal place.  When we are satisfying our needs, even if we think we're doing so logically, our needs come from a primal place.  Those decisions are partially rational, but driven by an emotional need. 

The best brands tap into that need, provide a well-designed product to meet that need, exceed customer expectations time after time, building customer trust and loyalty.  Trust = reliability + delight.  Great brands take time, because they create trust, and building trust takes time. 

Check out Nubby's post for the graphic illustrations of this book.  I don't want to bust anyone's copyright, so I'm not reposting, but half the awesomeness of the book is in its design.

1 comment:

  1. I suppose that if branding were an identity, then "rebranding" would be akin to throwing everything out and starting from scratch, which, clearly, is not the case.