BRANDSCAMMED!

How to avoid buying the wrong branding solution
By Axle Davids, CEO, Distility™

BRANDSCAMMED!
HELP PREVENT YOUR PEERS FROM GETTING BRAND SCAMMED
Please post this on your blog or email it to whomever you believe would benefit from reading it. http://www.distility.com/brand-scammed/
© 2010 by Axle Davids Copyright holder is licensing this under the Creative Commons License, Attribution 3.0. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
1 team + 1 day = 1 brand
Axle Davids, founder of Distility™ Branding, is a recovering brand expert and pioneering brand technologist. In 2001, he established aXle® Branding, which focused on branding and design for industry innovators like AT&T Mobility, Applied Biosystems, and AutoShare Car Sharing Network. This venture has now evolved into Distility Branding, a company that is forging a new path with its innovative Distility 1day1brand™ workflow and pragmatic branding approach. Reach him at axle@distility.com or on twitter at @axle.

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BRANDING IS ILL-DEFINED, USUALLY VACUOUS, OFTEN EXPENSIVE AND TOTALLY UNPREDICTABLE.”
SETH GODIN SETH GODIN’S BLOG

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As a recovering brand expert, I am here to tell you that I still love and believe in branding. But here is the naked truth: Branding is broken and you – the buyer – must beware. Branding refers to the creation and development of brands. Branding is still, as it is most often practiced, a complete and utter mess. Branding is more occult than voodoo, more expensive than yachting, and more dangerous than lawn darts. Branding is slower than rust, more frustrating than roadwork, and has a return on investment somewhat less measurable than prayer. Big agency-style

BRANDING IS BROKEN.
branding is the product of a time when business moved slowly, budgets were big, and television was an exciting new medium. And do-it-yourself branding can be a grand adventure, like going for a drive in the country with no map and a quarter tank of gas. Blame the experts. Since they excel at differentiating ideas, they’ve created more proprietary methods and gobbledygook than you can imagine – from models so complicated they should come with a decoder ring, to those so haphazard and elementary you might consider tacking them up on the fridge next to your kid’s art.

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Blame the branding wannabes. Those who have “worked on a brand” so they claim they do “branding”, so most brand development ignores basic best practices and produces underwhelming results. Blame human nature for the politics and decision-making pathologies that can set even the best project intentions on the road to brand hell.

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Despite these frights, we know that branding can be fast and safe, it can involve your team and reflect your values, and it can help you break through stagnating groupthink to a clear understanding of who you show the world. Good brand development can lead to good brand marketing, which can optimize and increase awareness, sales, and loyalty. Who wouldn’t want that?

INCOMPREHENSIBLE VOODOO
GUY KAWASAKI THE ART OF THE START
This eBook is not just about helping you choose the right vendor or hire, but about helping you navigate the branding landscape. In fact, the do it yourself route may be the right fit for your firm. This is our effort to save you from the heartache and headache of committing to the wrong branding solution. We will provide you with the guidance and tools you need to help cut through the complexity of branding and find the right solution for you. While we do believe that brand development is necessary if you want to remain competitive, we also believe it doesn’t have to be a necessary evil.

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BUYER BEWARE

This scam is by far the biggest of all Brand Scams and leads to the worst brands of all. The typical story is a client who needs a branding deliverable like a website or lead generation campaign. They ask their internal resource or a vendor to do a logo, tagline, or “figure out our brand” while they are at it. The vendor may be well intentioned but ignorant about brand analysis, strategy or standards. They may be overconfident, a branding wannabe who figures that since they have worked “on a brand” they are capable of creating one. Or they may be cynical, preferring to avoid the heavy thinking and collaboration of brand analysis and brand strategy, and just get a billable deliverable out the door. But the real person to blame here is the buyer. If you still think branding is just a logo, or a slogan, or a brainstorm, you are kickin’ it oldschool – and not in a cool retro way.

BRAND SCAM ONE BUYING TOO LITTLE

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Too many branding vendors bank on the fact that you are lost in the branding quagmire, so they can sell you more than you really need. Less common, but still a concern, is the in-house resource who is going to take your project down the rabbit hole, drawing it out, maybe never to get it done.

BRAND SCAM TW0 BUYING TOO MUCH

Because branding is sold as art, as science, and as everything inbetween, there are no standard deliverables in the industry. What can you do? We want to make sure you’re not an easy target, so we have to use branding speak now to explain the basic branding deliverables that any sane vendor or hire would use. Use them as a baseline to compare the deliverables vendors and hires will recommend as well as to detect unnessary or hidden costs your vendor or hire may be neglecting to share. We promise, it will be over soon. These deliverables fall into four major types of BRANDING WORK...

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THE FOUR TYPES OF BRANDING WORK

ONE BRAND ANALYSIS

The work of learning about your audience, market, competitors, and your own brand’s current strengths and weaknesses.

FOUR BRAND MARKETING

TWO BRAND STRATEGY

The work to increase, monitor and manage brand awareness, brand consideration, and brand loyalty. Your choices and channels are informed by your marketing strategy. On the next page, you’ll see specific deliverables associated with these steps

The work that defines the ideas behind the best possible brand (or system of brands) to support your business strategy.

THREE BRAND STANDARDS

The work that brings the brand strategy to life in the form of names, tag-lines, colours, logos, and re-usable verbal and visual guidelines.

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THE FOUR MAJOR TYPES OF BRANDING WORK

BASIC DELIVERABLES
ONE BRAND ANALYSIS
Customer analysis Primary audience, secondary audience, key influencers, trends, needs, existing perceptions of brand category Competitor analysis Market position, brand position, brand promise, brand personality, strengths, weaknesses Current brand audit Current brand promise, brand personality, brand positioning, history, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, values, portfolio analysis (for multiple brands) Report(s) for the above

TWO BRAND STRATEGY
Brand Promise* Brand Personality* Brand Position* Market Position Customer, need, frame of reference, point of difference, reasons to believe Value Proposition Functional benefits, emotional benefits, features Brand Architecture (for multiple brands) Report(s) for the above

THREE BRAND STANDARDS
Verbal system* name, descriptor, domain name, tagline*, headline style, copy style Visual system* logo/wordmark, colour, typeface, style of layouts and imagery Digital templates Website, intranet, blog, eNewsletter, YouTube skin, Twitter skin, logo animation, audio logo Printed stationery Business cards, letterhead, labels, note cards, pocket folder, envelopes, report and proposal covers, CD labels and packaging Office templates Presentation slides, letter, memorandum, invoice, news release, report, proposal, eBook Event guidelines Advertising guidelines Signage guidelines

FOUR BRAND MARKETING
Brand Transition Campaign Employee Brand Education Campaigns Awareness Campaigns Lead Generation Campaigns Sales Campaigns Loyalty Campaigns Brand Management Reports Brand Monitoring Reports

* Called “Brand Identity” deliverables by some practitioners

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PHEW!
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BRAND SCAM THREE PROPRIETARY MODELS

Did you make it through all that with your vision intact? We did our best to be easy on you. But we’re the exception. Since branding experts are masters of differentiation, it only makes sense that they will go the extra mile to come up with oh so sexy and unique jargon and systems. Just remember that branding deliverables are best when they are simple, easy to socialize, and easy to scale. Proprietary models are more than likely to leave designers, writers, marketers, and your own team at a disadvantage when it comes to interpreting and applying your brand strategy.

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PROPRIETARY GOBBLEDYGOOK / BRAND DRIVER™ / EYEOPENER™ / BRANDAMPLIFIER™ / BANDCORE™ / BRAND PIVOT™ / THE TSE™ FRAMEWORK / MINDJAB™ / ONE UNIFYING MESSAGE™ / PIVOTAL BRAND IDENTITY™ / BRAND BELIEF SYSTEM™ / TREND-CENTRIC HUMAN BEHAVIOR MODEL™ / NARRATIVE BRANDING® / IDEA® PROCESS / CONTEXT BRANDING®
If your branding expert, be they vendor or in-house resource, can’t use basic branding terms like analysis, strategy, promise, positioning, and personality, you are in for a world of pain. Consider yourself warned.

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Vendors will sometimes take on substancial projects at cut-rate prices. You get branding. You get an amazing deal. What could go wrong? Lots. The vendor will be compelled to put richer projects and proposals ahead of your meetings and deadlines. They’ll be tempted to reduce costs by cutting out steps on their side.They’ll be pressured to save time by emailing the work to you instead of taking the time to properly present and get feedback. They’ll see this as an opportunity to improve their margins, using junior resources or less expensive sub-contractors. Sadly, even a deal from a trusted, committed, no-corners-cut vendor will sour and get resentful if it is too slow, or too complicated, or reflects any of the other Brand Scams in this eBook.

BRAND SCAM FOUR THE MARKDOWN

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What do you sell? Who is going to buy it? Who else can offer them a competitive solution? If the answer to any one of these questions eludes you, buying branding will not make them magically appear. You’re just buying into another Brand Scam - Doing branding before business strategy.

BRAND SCAM FIVE BRAND BEFORE BUSINESS

For your brand to work, you first need to be clear on what you are selling, who is buying, and who you are competing against. You know, basic business strategy stuff. You must first define your business strategy, which you can either do internally or with the help of market research, consultation, business coaching, and the like. Then, you can proceed through brand analysis, brand strategy, and other branding work. The evaluation on the next page will help you to determine just what kind of branding work you’re ready to do.

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BRANDING ACTIVITY ASSESSMENT
SECTION ONE HOW WELL DOES YOUR FIRM KNOW ITS AUDIENCE?
OPTION ONE We still need to think it through. We don’t have enough data or experience to feel confident about it. It will take a major effort to get this clarified confidently. OPTION TWO We sell to a few different types. But with information we have and our intuition, we can quickly define our customer. STOP You’re not ready for branding. This is a Business Strategy issue.

SECTION TWO HOW WELL DOES YOUR FIRM KNOW ITS OFFER?
OPTION ONE Not very. Our offering is so new, innovative or complex, we’re not aligned on exactly what we are offering as our brand. OPTION TWO Somewhat. We have our own term for what we are selling. It is meaningful to us, but customers don’t get it. It takes some education. OPTION THREE Very well. Just like “Kleenex” sells “Tissue” and “Post-it” sells “Sticky Notes”, we can clearly describe in one, two, or three words what we are selling and people instantly understand. STOP You’re not ready for branding. Get back to your Business Strategy.

CAUTION Your firm requires brand analysis. Although, if you are confident enough, you may be able to do it quickly and intuitively. PROCEED! Sounds like you may have done brand analysis or will have an easy time of it. After that, move on to brand strategy.

CAUTION Your firm requires brand analysis. Only by understanding your audience can you hope to get your branding right.

OPTION THREE We can describe our primary buyer clearly with a good sense of their age, education, aspirations, and pains. We can easily find real examples of our “typical” customer.

PROCEED! Sounds like you may have done brand analysis or will have an easy time of it. After that, move on to brand strategy.

continued

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BRANDING ACTIVITY ASSESSMENT CONT.
SECTION THREE ARE YOU CLEAR ON YOUR COMPETITORS?
OPTION ONE No. Our internal list of competitors is vague and fluctuating. STOP You’re not ready for branding. This is a Business Strategy issue. Remember, competitors don’t have to be direct ones.

SECTION FOUR ARE YOUR BRAND CHALLENGES STRAIGHT-FORWARD?
OPTION ONE No. Our brand is failing and we’re not sure why. STOP You require Business Strategy work. If the problem is related to brand perception, then you require brand analysis work. CAUTION You require brand analysis, or even Business Strategy Analysis. “Brand Architecture” work is probably required, and can be a major effort.

OPTION TWO Yes, but fuzzily. We are confident we know our competitors but we have not studied their strategy, positioning, or messaging. We need to find the time to do this, or get help. OPTION THREE Yes, and accurately. We are routinely competing against a small number of competitors, which we can name, and have analyzed. Or we are competing against a large number of competitors that we have grouped and analyzed.

CAUTION Your firm requires brand analysis.

OPTION TWO Not sure. We’re not sure all our brands are even needed in the first place. We may have a problem of “over-branding”. If not that, then we have different brands and we’re not sure how they should both work together and address different customers. OPTION THREE Yes. We have just one corporate brand and/or multiple brands that do not overlap or cause confusion. Thought not in crisis, the brand(s) can stand to be improved.

PROCEED! You may be ready for brand strategy or brand standards work.

PROCEED! You are likely ready for branding.

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BRAND SCAM SIX PLAYING POLITICS

We’ve all heard that politics have no place in polite conversation. Well, we’re not talking those politics. We’re talking about a brand scam here where human nature is to blame. In 23 in-depth interviews with brand marketers, we heard that the hardest part of branding is getting stakeholders to agree on brand direction, and that branding projects primarily fail due to group decision-making pathologies or political dysfunctions.

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WILL POLITICS DERAIL YOUR BRANDING?
Nothing’s certain, but we have included a table with some characteristics and dynamics of different types of teams. Take a look, see which characteristics hit closest to home, and check out our recommendations for how to proceed.
If this sounds like your team… Our projects are typically stymied by bureaucracy, and/or egos, and/or groupthink. We don’t feel there is a need for rebranding, but someone wants to use it as an opportunity to make their mark. Then you should… Try and find work at a new company. If you can’t do that, try and employ one of the facilitator types we discuss later in this eBook. Proceed with caution. Try to ensure that changes will not worsen brand repute. Unnecessary branding can be seen as a sign of weakness, and can just as easily undo previous branding efforts. Proceed with caution. Your branding project could be a great learning exercise, and an opportunity for new voices to be heard. Just be careful that it doesn’t stall in the process Proceed confidently into your branding work.

We lack brand and/or other marketing experience, and/or have strong (even domineering) players, and/or our leadership is disengaged from this kind of decision-making.

We openly discuss business / marketing concepts, explore new ideas, and are capable of reaching healthy consensus.

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BUYER PREPARE

So you have an idea of what kind of branding you need to do – now what? It’s time to choose how you are going to do it. Will you: Do it in-house? In-house branding is a common “no budget” solution. It is a great way to engage entire teams in the branding process. It is also an opportunity to get lost down rabbit holes and never find your brand.

TO INSOURCE OR TO OUTSOURCE?

Leave it to the experts? Brand developers do branding every day. They know what to do – and what not to do. As experts, they can produce brand outcomes that drive loyalty and sales. But they can also have antiquated perspectives on branding with a slow process to match. They may be used to endless budgets and try to sell you more than you need. Work with a graphic designer, web designer, or marketing generalist? They may be a known factor and more pragmatic than the experts, but their approach may be about as effective as a plumber’s approach to building a skyscraper.

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Whether you choose to outsource or do your branding in-house, you may have all sorts of characters involved in the action. As vendors or team members, these people fall into a few different categories, as outlined in the pages that follow. Take a look – who would you like on your team?

WHO SHOULD YOU ADD TO YOUR TEAM?
THE PROCEDURALIST? THE INTUITIVE? THE DABBLER? THE DREAM TEAM? THE FACILITATOR?

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THE PROCEDURALIST
The Proceduralist is the luxury tailor of branding. With a formal, high-touch approach, the Proceduralist requires numerous meetings and comprehensive planning exercises to customize your solution. The results are often impressive, with polished deliverables based on a strong brand foundation. The Proceduralist is well suited to brand analysis and Brand Tracking and Monitoring, and also does well with many aspects of brand strategy. Tactical creative expressions such as brand names, designs or campaigns may be challenging for the leftbrained Proceduralist. Add to your team if: > Your answers on the Branding Assessment point to the need for brand analysis. > You prefer a strategic, customized, in-depth approach. > You are prepared to engage in a formal, multi-phased process. Find a better match if: > You don’t have the time, budget or patience for a lot of meetings. > Your brand challenges are routine and straight-forward. Beware of: > Paying for too much “thinking,” too many documents, not enough action.
>

Being pitched every possible deliverable and more in the first two columns of the branding services table as a billable item. (See page 11).

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THE INTUITIVE
Somewhat like a mystic, the Intuitive instinctively feels out the missing pieces and visualizes the solution to a more compelling brand. As creative types often eschew convention, this style lacks formal process. None the less, with the right blend of people and ideas, this approach can make magic – efficiently, even. Intuitives can produce high impact designs, making Brand Identity deliverables their sweet spot. They can excel at brand strategy and brand analysis, but don’t expect a paper trail. Add to your team if: > You have concrete ideas about your brand. > Your brand is not in crisis. > You need professional pieces you can use, and fast. > You are prepared to trust your brand to intuition. Find a better match if: > You need to see a plan up front. > You are looking for Brand Tracking & Monitoring. > Your team has not explored or committed to core brand concepts, and needs facilitation to get there. > You seek collaboration. > You want proof of how the Intuitive’s work conforms to best practices. Beware of: > Those who cannot prove success with the intuitive approach.

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THE DABBLER
The Dabbler can do branding, but we all know that “can” doesn’t mean “should”. The Dabbler does not practice branding as a core competency or have the thousands of hours of experience required of an expert. The Dabbler’s industry-specific expertise or a close familiarity with the project may override those issues. Confidence, interest, and aptitude can drive positive outcomes through a virtuous circle of team and circumstance. Add to your team if: > Someone on your team has had a career in a brand-centred industry. > Your branding team wants to learn branding best practices. > You don’t have the budget for more than one resource. > You value industry expertise over branding expertise. Find a better match if: > You can’t afford the learning curve. > You need a clear, proven solution to your brand challenges. Beware of: > Damage caused by a lack of brand analysis and brand strategy > Brand failure due to brand standards work (names, logos, taglines) that infringes on trademarks or has negative cultural, linguistic, or .com associations > Losing time due to the learning curve or getting sidetracked. > Having your budget disproportionately spent on the Dabbler’s area of expertise.

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THE DREAM TEAM
This team consists of some combination of Proceduralists, Dabblers, and Intuitive branding professionals. You get the best of all of these individuals, including structure, creative input, and an ability to look into tactics and execution. A team such as this is often part of a bigger, more expensive marketing, advertising, or design machine that can handle the full spectrum of brand deliverables. Otherwise, it is one requiring you to invest a lot in order to build. Add to your team if: > You like working with (or currently have) a diverse team. > You have the budget to put toward a team of this nature. > You see branding as part of a bigger strategy, and want access to broad expertise. > You have clarity about team roles and responsibilities. > You see branding as a continuous investment vs. a point in time solution. Find a better match if: > You do not have the budget for a large firm’s services or you don’t have the time to manage a Dream Team yourself. Beware of: > The bait and switch. The team that sells the dream may not be the team that does the work.

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THE FACILITATOR
The Facilitator is often someone with a background in coaching, team building, or organizational development, who takes a collaborative approach to whatever they do. The Brand Facilitator has a core competency in Branding to boot. They use workshops and brainstorming to help with brand analysis, brand strategy and brand marketing. In all cases, the Facilitator relies on your expertise to drive productive conversations around your customers, competition, and brand direction. Add to your team if: Either you or the Facilitator are clear on a brand model and methodology. > You are confident in your team’s ideas. > You have a limited budget for outside help.
>

Find a better match if: > You prefer to have an expert fix your brand challenges. > You don’t trust your team to know the business strategy and pre-requisites for brand strategy. Beware of: > Barriers to collaboration within your own team – from teammates who do not wish to explore the brand to authoritarians who will not commit to ideas that are not their own. These barriers can impede the progress and undermine the value of this approach.

SHAMELESS PLUG

Here at Distility, we consider ourselves brand facilitators with a technology twist. Click here to find out more.

IDENTIFYING THE BRAND SCAM EIGHT CRITICAL LINES OF QUESTIONING

Pop quiz! No, not for you - we’ve made you think enough. This one is for potential vendors or internal candidates you may be looking at to help with your branding work. The questions on the following pages are based on branding best practices, and our own experience of what works the best when it comes to building compelling brands. If you can stump your potential branding hire with these, it wasn’t meant to be.

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ASK THEM... WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE?
The best way to know how a vendor or team member can help you is to understand how they’ve helped others in the past. Understanding whether your candidate has the right experience to help you means knowing who they’ve worked with, they type of work they’ve done - and whether it aligns with the work you need, and the types of brands they’ve worked on. VERY SPECIFICALLY ASK…
>

How many years have you been doing branding? Who are your current customers? Who are your past customers? Who is your longest held customer? What percentage of your work is brand analysis? brand strategy? brand standards? brand marketing? Other? What percentage of your work is on new brands? Doing rebranding? Working on existing brands?

>

What was your most successful project? Why? Least successful? Why? Have your previous clients been able to understand and share your brand model with others? Or have they required an education program to do so?

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

DOWNLOAD
BRAND SCAMMED! How to avoid buying the wrong branding solution

All the questions (and more) in this section can be downloaded in one handy-dandy spreadsheet. Visit www.distility.com and go to our resources/tools section. Or if your reader permits, click here.

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ASK THEM... WHAT IS YOUR BRAND MODEL?
Be sure to work with someone who can tell you, in plain English, exactly what his or her brand model is and how it is delivered. ASK… Draw a diagram of how you will explain what a brand is to our team. What exactly are the ideas contained in the diagram? If you don’t get it instantly, then say so and see if their explanation is satisfying. Is this diagram your own invention? If not, where did you find it? They may have learned it at a successful packaged goods company, from a leading agency or thought leader, or (gulp) from a PowerPoint template they found on the web. You use the term __________? I’m not familiar with that. Is it widely known, or something you’ve created? Is there a more popular term for the same idea? If they use terminology that is not on page 11, they may take a superproprietary approach. That can make it hard to transfer their work to your team and other marketing and communication vendors.

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ASK THEM... WHAT ARE YOUR MAJOR MILESTONES?
Be sure they connect the theory of their model/methodology to the tangible deliverables at the end of brand analysis, brand strategy, brand standards, or whatever stage of branding you are seeking to get done. ASK THEM... How did you apply your brand model and milestones to two projects you have completed? Be wary about those who won’t show you other client work. Their customers should be willing to allow them to write case studies, or they should have found a way to make a couple of generic case studies, or even without formal case studies they should be able to illustrate how they have used branding to specifically benefit a business. AND ALSO...
>

What would the milestones be for this project? What accomplishment does each milestone represent? How much time do I and our internal team need to invest towards each milestone?

>

>

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ASK THEM... WHAT’S DELIVERED BETWEEN THE MILESTONES?
You must be able to get a clear answer about what each milestone entails, when it will be delivered, and in what format and environment. This will ensure your team navigates the branding process with clarity and confidence, leading you to better outcomes. VERY SPECIFICALLY… Ask to see a project plan from one of their projects. It is fine if they need to scrub out any client details. What you want to see is what the deliverables are, how many document drafts lead to each deliverable, and how much time they give your team to review their work. You also want to see how much is delivered, discussed, done in person rather than emailed or done via tele/web conference. Also, ask to see sample documents at each step. This might seem like a big ask, but if they are organized and have done this enough times, it is easy to put together. Again, if confidentiality is an issue, indicate that you would be willing to see scrubbed documents in person. It is not the content that you seek, (yours will be different) but it is the form you need to see.

REMINDER
BRAND SCAMMED! How to avoid buying the wrong branding solution

The goal of these questions is to ensure your in-house resource or outside vendor isn’t selling you some Voodoo branding approach, nor one that is absurdly complex beyond your needs.

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ASK... WHO WILL DELIVER?
Earlier in this eBook, we mentioned the risk of the old “bait and switch”. Be sure you’re not tricked by the smooth talking top gun(s) impressing the heck out of you, only to discover later that a junior resource is doing the work. This trick doesn’t only happen with a vendor – it can also apply to the internal resource who has someone else doing the heavy lifting. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR… The CVs or Linkedin profiles of everyone who will be working on the project > What they are responsible for working on, and delivering (not the same thing) > Assurance that no other people will do said work without your express permission
>

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ASK... HOW WILL YOU LEVERAGE OUR TEAM?
A brand is only as good as the team that delivers it. So it is important to find out how your in-house or hired resource is going to leverage your team. VERY SPECIFICALLY ASK… How important is the team to your process? > What role do both immediate and extended brand stakeholders play in your approach? > How much time do you require per person, or as a group? > What do you do if stakeholders have conflicting opinions about the brand?
>

Can you provide an example of how you educate our team, customers, and vendors about the changes to the brand / the new brand. > Will your brand deliverables dovetail easily with the deliverables other vendors and departments are working upon? How?
>

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ASK... (TRICK QUESTION) WHAT RETURN ON INVESTMENT CAN WE EXPECT WORKING WITH YOU?
Frankly, very few people can categorically prove the Return on Investment of a branding project in a scientific manner. Branding has a lot to do with ideas and intangibles. If they are able to prove it categorically then that is terrific. But most branding people aren’t working under the conditions that allow them to do so. It’s when these folks try and BS an answer that you should be wary… There will be more BS to come. Instead look for the person who says, “It is hard to measure the Return on Investment of our work here, there were so many factors at play or things we’re not privy too, but our clients gave us great feedback on our efforts and they’d be happy to tell you about the advantages of working with me/ our team.” Ask Them...
>

The obvious answers will be an increase in awareness, consideration, sales, and loyalty. The more interesting ones will relate to the benefits to you, and your team, in your efforts to succeed.

How will you specifically measure success from this project? What will be the benefits our team, our brand, and our organization will experience?

>

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ASK THEM... HOW SOCIABLE AND SCALABLE IS THEIR METHODOLOGY?
Quality branding has always been about being relevant, compelling, and unique. But with the boundaries between customer, team, and vendors blurring thanks to technology, your business may also need a brand that is social and scalable. If that sounds like you, here are some additional questions to help choose someone who will foster authentic engagement through brand development… Ask Them... > How will our team see their passion reflected in the brand strategy?
>

How can the brand strategy be applied by the team without outside experts - for instance, when a last minute marketing opportunity comes up Based on the brand model you (presumably) showed earlier, is it easy for any kind of team member to grasp and share the work, or does it require an “education program” so that everyone both understands and retains it?

>

Key Point A person who takes the time to listen to the different voices in your team and to encourage exploration is able to support the development of a clearer and more authentic brand strategy. This may require a simpler approach to branding. Not to be mistaken with “dumbing down”, this approach uses simplicity to empower faster brand socialization and scaling. It can help you turn the hours and dollars you spent on brand strategy into brand experiences that truly resonate with your target audience.

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Congratulations – you made it! You have arrived at the end of the road, ready to take on your branding challenges knowing where branding can go awry and how to avoid that costly fate. You have the tools in hand to select the right vendor and branding approach to develop a brand that truly reflects the personality and values of your team.

YOUR FINAL DECISION

If you haven’t already, please download the comparison spreadsheet we’ve created. Use it to evaluate your branding vendors or candidates. It includes the questions you should be asking anyone who will touch your brand, and it will help you choose the vendors or candidates who can deliver against best practices and fit your own culture and values.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD SPREADSHEET
Now, go on out there and build a better brand.

BRAND SCAMMED! How to avoid buying the wrong branding solution

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PLEASE... BEFORE YOU GO...

DON’T LET YOUR FRIENDS & COLLEAGUES GET BRAND SCAMMED.
Please consider emailing them this eBook, or send them the link: http://www.distility.com/brand-scammed/ As for you, we invite you to join the conversation on Twitter via @1day1brand, on our site blog at www.distility.com, or by email to axle@distility.com

Brand Scammed! How to Avoid Buying the Wrong Branding Solution by Axle Davids CEO, Distility, www.distility.com