What’s the point of branding?
It’s easy to get caught up by the idea that branding is an extension of marketing, and that all you need is a brand that is professional, for business reasons. This is true, in a sense, but doesn’t fully explain why might want a beautiful, engaging brand. Why do some companies spend millions on branding efforts? What’s the point of putting all that effort into having a branding agency in Orange County craft a brand that is artful, and communicates well?
You could just as easily ask why humans do anything we do. Why do we love to watch movies? Why do we sing when nobody is around? Why do we go to enormous lengths to make our food taste good? Here’s a simple answer: those things delight us. We are delighted by stories, delighted when things are arranged in an artful way. If delight is a big motivator of people, then as a business, one would do well to try their best to have the brand that represents your company be a brand that delights.
Delightful branding can go far. The biggest companies in the world have slowly but completely transitioned away from marketing that explains their product in any meaningful way. It can be argued that they have taken up a more “brand-forward” style of marketing. Think of all your favorite Super Bowl ads. Coca Cola doesn’t take 15 seconds to explain the effort that goes into their drink; they don’t talk about their secret family recipe. Coke and everyone else collectively choose to barrage us with humor, dazzling special effects, bizarre premises, and great storytelling. Instead of talking shop, they choose to delight us, and it works.
Now naturally, this approach alone can’t work for everyone, especially newer companies that haven’t cultivated a brand recognition. It does, however, give us a clue into what branding is, and what it can do.
Brands can, and must, delight.
People may know and love your products after they find them. For the people who don’t know you, you’ll need to communicate what your company is all about. The cardinal rule for all creators, and branding is definitely included, is to make it interesting. Whether you’re a landscaper or a mortgage lender, a start-up or a fortune 500, your brand must delight because of who you’re trying to reach: people. When you only have seconds to get their attention and communicate what you do, do it the right way: delight.
We kept this goal in mind when designing the logo & brand identity for Pacific Chorale. It is at once recognizable to those who know classical music, while also communicating the brand’s identity, the P and C, in an original way. Above all, it’s elegant and delightful, and works in any context in which it appears.
Delight, but don’t distract
Just as dangerous as being boring is diverting too much energy away from what you’re selling. In other words, it’s never a good idea to have a brand identity that just isn’t you. A common example is the rebranded logo that has that “agency feel”. Best Buy, back in 2008, took in their big, ugly, boxy, wonderfully communicative yellow tag logo and switched it out in what appears to have been an attempt at being contemporary. The effect is something that is leaner, easier on the eyes, has a higher-end, but ultimately doesn’t work. That’s because, well, Best Buy isn’t high-end!
The logo was not long-lived. The lesson? It’s a great goal to delight your customer with beautiful branding; but above all, it must reflect the inner truth of the brand.
In summary, it all comes down to two questions you must ask yourself, for any new brand element:
- Does this represent my company?
- Does it delight?
For the company out there looking for help with a rebrand from a branding agency in Orange County, don’t just think that any old brand will do; thoughtful branding matters. You may not be in the market for a theatrical Super Bowl commercial to delight your customers, but the same intention should be taken for any and all brand elements you have, because in the end, these are the things that represent you and your company.