Ever run a branding campaign? Ever had one fail? Fail to perform, fail to drive more business, fail to last? You’re not alone. That’s because most people go about “branding” the wrong way, starting with the wrong intent and expectations.
To most companies and agencies, “branding” is limited to an identity exercise or marketing campaign. A typical branding initiative involves: redesigning a logo, revising a tagline, rewriting messaging, rebuilding the front end of a website, running a new ad campaign.
All of those are big investments, with no clear ROI. No wonder why CEOs are loathe to fund these initiatives, and departments other than marketing are slow to support them!
Traditional advertising agencies are often the biggest beneficiaries from and perpetrators of the problem. Most think of branding simply as “creative campaigns”, which is a big reason why so many are fired not long after their work launches. Their surface efforts don’t in-and-of themselves generate changes in beliefs, actions or results. Consequently, the client either stops investing in the brand, or hires a new agency to create the next branding campaign. And the cycle goes on and on.
What these companies and those agencies fail to understand is that great branding is more than just packaging and promotion. It’s about defining, designing, and delivering what matters most to the people who matter most —your buyers and customers. For that, you need to engineer differentiating and desirable experiences that depend on data, discipline and drive from throughout the organization.
Great branding respects and reflects the relationship between the company and its customers in both tangible and intangible ways. From identity design to experience design. From creative campaigns to compelling content. From sales to solutions. From analytics to answers. When these areas are aligned, employees and customers both will sense that the brand isn’t just a campaign, it’s a company-wide promise to make meaning, not just marketing.
Buyers don’t crave another branding campaign, trust me. What they crave is to be educated, enabled, empowered, and engaged by people who will help them be who they want to be, do what they want to do, and achieve what they want to achieve. That’s what a great brand does – and that’s why the new definition of branding as experience matters so much in this media-filtered, ad-blocking, information-overloaded world.
If your agency isn’t already telling you these same things, it might be time to fire them and find a new one.