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The Brand Gap By: Marty Neumeier (How to bridge the distance between business strategy and design)   Branding

: arguably one of the most powerful business tools since the spreadsheet! What a brand isn’t. o A BRAND IS NOT A LOGO!  A logo, or any other kind of trademark, is not the brand itself. It’s merely a symbol for it. o A brand is not a corporate identity system!  Consistency alone does not create a brand! o A brand is not a product.  Managing people often talk about managing their brands, however they usually mean managing their products, or the sales, distribution, and quality thereof.  Managing a brand is much less tangible. (an invisible layer of meaning that surrounds the product) What a brand is. o A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company. o A brand is defined by individuals, not by companies, markets, or the so-called general public. (Each person creates their own version) o When enough people have the same gut feeling, a company can then be said to have a brand. A brand is what THEY say it is (people), not what you say it is. o Brand management is the management of differences, not as they exist on data sheets, but as they exist in the minds of people. Trust creation is a fundamental goal of brand design. It takes more than strategy to build a brand. It takes strategy and creativity together. The Brand Gap o Whenever there is a rift between strategy and creativity- between logic and magic- there’s a brand gap. The Charismatic Brand o Two ways to look at the brand gap: 1. it creates a natural barrier to communication. 2. It creates a natural barrier to competition. o Companies who learn to bridge that brand gap have a tremendous advantage of those companies who don’t. o When communication is crystal clear, it goes into people’s brains without distortion, or noise, or the need to think too much about it. (shrinking the “psychic distance) between companies and their constituents, helping to develop a relationship. Which in return become the buildingo blocks of a charismatic brand.

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o A charismatic brand can be defined as any product, service, or company for which people believe there is no substitute. o There are no dull products, only dull brands. o 5 Disciplines of Branding 1. Differentiate 2. Collaborate 3. Innovate 4. Validate 5. Cultivate THREE LITTLE QUESTIONS  Who are you?  What do you do?  Why does it matter? o These questions provide a litmus test for what makes your different, what gives your company its “raison d’etre.” o Keep it pure, keep it different. (Don’t let the message turn muddy) Different o Since we mostly rely on sight, our visual system is hardwired to discern the differences between things we see. It looks for contrast. o We like different! Evolution of marketing o What it has >> what it does>> what you’ll feel>> Who you are Globalism vs. Tribalism o A brand creates a sort of tribe. o You can join any number of tribes, on any number of days and feel part of something bigger than yourself. o You feel as if you’re art of a select clan (or so you feel) when you buy products from these clearly differentiated companies. FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS o Too little focus is dangerous. o An unfocused brand is one that is so broad that it doesn’t stand for anything. o Its better to be number one in a small category, instead of 3 in a large one. o Competition forces specialization. The New Collaboratives o There are three basic models for managing brand collaboration: 1. Outsourcing the brand to a one-stop shop, 2. Outsourcing it to a brand agency, 3. Stewarding the brand internally with an integrated marketing team. Where the Rubber meets the Road o Execution- read creativity- is the most difficult par of the branding mix to control. It’s magic, not logic, that ignites passion in customers. o Innovation requires creativity, and creativity gives many business people a twitch. d

o Innovation lies at the heart of both better design and better business. When everyone else zigs, zag! o To achieve originality we need to abandon the comforts of habit, reason, and the approval of our peers, and strike out in new directions. THE 7 CRITERIA FOR A GOOD NAME: 1. Distinctiveness 2. Brevity 3. Appropriateness 4. Easy spelling and pronunciation 5. Likability 6. Extendibility 7. Protectability ICONS AND AVATARS o A brand icon is a name and visual symbol that communicate a market position. (Shell) o An avatar is an icon that can move, morph, or otherwise operate freely as the brand’s alter ego. (Cingular) o LOGOS are dead!!  o “The greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor.” –Aristotle o When conceived well, an icon is a repository of meaning. (DNA of the brand) o An avatar goes even further by becoming the symbolic actor in a continuing brand story. It’s all Packaging o For many retail products, packaging not only makes the final sale, it strikes a significant blow for the brand, since experience with the product is often the best foundation for customer loyalty. o It is important to understand the typical reading sequence when it comes to shoppers. o By getting the reading sequence right, and by connecting product features to customer emotions, a package, can increase product sale by up to three times, sometimes more. Websites o Most of today’s home pages ignore the basic rules of visual aesthetics. o Uncultivated websites shove a tangle of unruly data in your face, then expect you to sort it out. o What are the invisible chains keeping web design from achieving its full potential?  Technophobia (the fear of new technology)  Turfismo (behind the scenes politicking that transforms the home page into a patchwork of tiny fiefdoms.)  Featuritis (an infectious desire for more) o Subtraction, not addition is the formula for clear communication. The New Communication Model


The standard model for communication has three components: sender, message, and receiver.