The Art and Science of Branding
Catchy buzzwords held accountable, while we investigate how branding is conducted well.
Mind the language, literally.
When we talk about The Art and Science of Branding, we have to be extra careful in explaining what we mean. Why? Because Branding is neither an “Art”, nor is it a “Science”. According to Oxford Dictionary, one definition for the word Art is: “a skill at doing a specified thing, typically one acquired through practice.” As for Science, in the same dictionary, one definition is: “A systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject.” In this context The Art and Science of Branding is “Our practiced skill in applying systematically organised knowledge” - in short, the know-how and the know-what. So the next time your colleagues deem your work too “academic”, chances are that they’ve failed to understand how to apply it. Now that we’ve got the semantics out of the way, let’s dive deeper on the knowledge and its application.
In our previous article; The Rise of Branding, I mentioned that branding is the brainchild of multiple disciplines, this is where we zoom into its application. For a branding exercise to be effectively carried out, it needs to be purposeful and objective in achieving business goals that will increase real tangible revenue. You need a Brand strategy to ensure your Brand is geared towards a long term checkmate that will stifle competition to be three steps behind while consumers are nurtured to adopt your brand as a lifestyle, a movement. A competent brand strategist will help you out of the all too familiar game of playing catch up with your competitors or blankly emulating successful models. If you have been stuck arguing about the colour of a logo, you’re probably years behind your competition, which will contribute to the slow and painful death of your business.
Every strategy requires information before it is crafted, information about your key audience, information about your past performance and benchmark of parallel environments just to name a few. Through various brand analysis, important information about the health of your brand is acquired. Even taking a brief look at your sales cycles and the types of customers you possess paint a clear picture on who you have been converting with your current positioning. Capturing specific demographics and increasing market share within those areas ensures the sustainability of your brand, and a clear analysis will present the right information for a sound strategy to be crafted.
Once we have created a clear strategy and built the foundations of your brand direction, it is then up to the skillful translation of your brand direction to creative direction, with every element of your communication efforts in mind to deliver an experience that appeals to the various senses of your customers. Everything you do as a brand, everything you say as a brand, is now a purposeful endeavour to complete the unified experience your customers are yearning for. Most importantly, this is where you get to be the statement your customers flaunt themselves with to their friends and family. When you entrench your branding efforts deep within a culture, is when you have succeeded in brand building. The biggest consideration factor on why they choose you over your competition.
How are we able to apply these approaches that we talked about in The Art of Branding? Simple; they stem from the application of rigorously studied information with numerous publications by professors and educators alike. In an industry where we have professional jargons such as Brand Architecture, Brand Personality and acronyms like CBBE thrown out at just about any real branding pitch, it's understandable why most of us are baffled by the sheer jargon overload, at which point we switch our minds off to think about last night's dinner. Here’s the catch, these jargons are usually actual methodologies to quantify and qualify something specific, instead of being just catchy words. A reliable Branding team would use variations of such frameworks to bring clarity to your brand building journey, educating and enabling autonomy within your organisation to effectively manage the brand efficiently and effectively.
Best practices in Branding depends on the knowledge the team possesses, from understanding consumer psychology, developing a Brand Personality to crafting a consistent Brand Experience that actually relates to the minds and ‘hearts’ of the consumer, a rare feat achieved by successful Brands, regardless if it’s a B2B or B2C.
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You can only win a game of chess, if you knew the rules, the strategies and evolving tactics to realise those moves with execution in real time. Most of us play to win and the real winners, win by understanding and serving. © The Action Plan
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