We hear it all the time that brand matters,
and more recently that we all have one,
but why should you care?

The short answer is who you are
is more important than what you do,
because who you are informs how you do,
what you do and what energy you bring to it.
Here’s a story to illustrate
how the what is so easily mimicked,

I recently walked into a fashion store
and the assistant said I love your bag.
I told her I had it made when I was last in Bali.
I’d been looking for a while
but couldn’t find anything ‘quite right’,
so I designed what I wanted and had it made.
She then told me how her boss
buys things from more luxurious brands
and brings them to his maker there and has them copied.
As a designer the hairs on the back of my neck
and my body used to tense when I heard this.
Now I just listen and resist bristling.
I see some examples as we chat a little more.
The pieces he has made are good, but not ‘quite right’.
Now please excuse me
as I step into design snobbery for a moment.
The devil is in the detail and as I say
I and designers like me take the time
to research, conceive and develop designs.
We think things through and revisit
and reiterate until each component works:
whether working on a product, logo,
information product:
its fitness for purpose, the proportions,
the balance between functionality and beauty.
I’ll consider what elements
to include what to leave out.
Will the corners be rounded or not,
if so, what impact and then what angle?
The materials, the colour;
in the case of a bag:
is the zip placement exactly right
to both look good and make your
access as graceful as possible.
A thousand decisions so you don’t have to,
make any other than,
to like it or not.
To buy it or not.
For the consumer it is the pleasure of the interaction
whether a logo, a website, a wallet, a great brush,
a book, a beautiful knife, a web-site, an app,
a sweater, a t-shirt, a chair or a bag.
These are the reasons you enjoy it.
Most people never think about this
and they should not need to.
Because the designer has.
But I digress.
Back to the shop and the guy
who takes the products he likes
to his producers in Bali or India
and says ‘Copy these’.
Does he feel about design like I do
or the other design freaks out there.
I expect not.
Do you think his manufacturer feels like we do.
I expect not.
I respect them both
(though I’d rather they didn’t do this)
and am sure their intention is good, but . . .
I tell my clients my job is to get them on the consideration list.
This means if you’re after a blender,
you think of NutriBullit, Cuisinart, Kitchen Aid and Ninja.
You do your research.
Compare and choose.
Once you have created a brand –
which I define as delivery on promise
and you (the producer) consistently
delivers to that standard (promise)
then you can add any product or service
that aligns with that brand story
and your customer will likely buy it.
Because you have built loyalty and trust.
This is also why clothing brands carry everything
from bags to jewellery, makeup to shoes and even housewares.
The key is brand alignment.
For example, The Gap could not start producing
car tyres but Volkswagen could.
Anthropologie would not start producing electronics
but Apple could produce a home speaker system
and we’d all clamour to buy it.
However, if they produced dishwashers
we’d begin to question what they were up to.
(it would certainly disrupt that market :-)
Brand is important for us often
overwhelmed, time poor citizens with wants,
needs and desires to be fulfilled .
People have consciously or unwittingly created
an identity and persona that is supported
by the brands they choose.
(The ones they choose with large logos
or metal insignias on their products
I would suggest the brands they sport and advertise.)
The same person who drives a Porsche
is not the same person who buys Sportsgirl
(and while I’m on the topic why are Porsche
producing a men’s cologne –
it’s just lazy product development
and insulting for the hapless Porsche buyers)

In essence brand is a shortcut.

Once consumers have established who they like.
They don’t have to waste
their valuable time checking out others.
Or at least that is why big brands invest
so much time energy and money
to keep their clients engaged,
so they return again and again.
You’ll no doubt be familiar with the rule
that it is 8 times easier to sell
to the same client than acquire a new one.
So what I want you to consider is

What does your brand stand for?

What is it known for?

What products/services could you add to your brand
that your existing customers will accept without question?

What ones would ‘disrupt’ your brand/industry?
Are they worthy of your investment
in terms of time, money and energy
and also return on that effort?

Please get in touch if you wish to discuss
any issues you are facing with your identity or brand?
You can find more about how we work here
In the meantime please share.
After all we are all in this together
And it’s nice to play nice
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