What is Branding?

A deep dive in to Marty Neumeier’s book ‘The Brand Gap.’

Who is Marty Neumeir?

Marty has had a diverse career in creative industries. He began his career as a designer, but became a skilled copywriter and strategist. He has worked as an identity designer, a journalist, a package designer, magazine publisher and brand consultant and is now the Director of Transformation at Liquid Agency.

He’s worked with brands like Apple, Adobe and Kodak.

What’s this book about then?

This book explains what a brand is and how to strategically manage it.

At the start of book, Marty states that ‘A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or company.’ It’s not what you say it is, it’s what they say it is. A brand is not a logo ( a symbol for the brand), a corporate identity system (identity system for brand architecture), or a product.

If you think a new logo is going to improve your failing business, you are sadly mistaken. You need to change brand perception, and a new logo is only going to be a small part of the effort to do that.

He then goes on to explain management stratagies.

Although not a big book, it is densely packed with useful information full of useful images a diagrams to illustrate the points.

3 biggest take-aways

1) When it comes to branding, keep it pure, keep it simple, keep it different.

One good way to do this is to start by asking yourself 3 basic questions.

1) who are you

2) what do you do

3) why do you do it

Marty cites John Deere:

John Deere.

We make farm tractors and related equipment

It matters because generations of farmers have trusted our equipment.

Their tagline is ‘Nothing runs like a Deere.’

It is simple, clear, and convincing.

If you don’t have a compelling answer to all three, you don’t have a very compelling brand.

This is the litmus test for what makes you different.

2) Brand or bland

Sometimes, companies are so afraid of appearing less than dignified they settle for proud, stiff or inhuman.

Marty cites the 1959 Volkswagen bug advert as a great example of this.

Remarkably self-deprecating but hugely popular advertising campaign because it focussed on the emotional connection the car would have with the customer.

Rather than selling the car on features which is what most car companies did at the time, they used self-depreciating humour as a strategic weapon.

Humour isn’t the only way to stand out against competition though, but something to bear in mind!

3) At retail, the package is the brand.

In retail, for many products, the package is the branding.

They are competing on the shelf and must appeal to the customer to be bought over the products from competitor brands.

So, how does one package beat another package at the sale? How much of the battle is won by logic, and how much is won by creativity? Left brain and right brain thinking.

In order to decide on package design, it’s important to understand a typical customer experience. This is known as the natural reading sequence.

1) notices packet

2) what is it

3) why should I care – brief why to buy message

4) More information to support why to buy

5) shopper is ready for mumbo-jumbo scientific part.

By presenting product information in this natural reading sequence, it creates a sympathetic bond to the customer.If you lead off with features, you are not emotionally connecting with your customer. Connect product features to customer emotions.

Who should read this book?

Anyone that has a failing brand.

Any designer that wants to potentially switch to brand strategy.

Anyone that is looking to expand their brand with new products or services.

Hope this helped!

Posted in: Books

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