I preface this blog by saying that we here at our Twelve 12 offices in Orange County take branding seriously.
I look at the smooth, crisp, modern industrial design of the desk I’m sitting at. On the desk at the moment is a small craft my son, who is in preschool, made for me. It’s a paper ladybug on a popsicle stick. These two disparate objects remind me, strangely, that everything in the universe is alive.
I’m not speaking about alive in the biological sense of the word; nor am I talking about alive in the new-agey, read-your-aura sense of the word. It’s commonly understood that the atoms that compose everything are continually vibrating. Each atom has such a unique vibration that astronomers can even tell what a star is composed of, even though it’s light years away. In a similar way, although on a gut level, a wood table “just feels” different from a table of glass and steel, and my son’s ladybug craft obviously feels unique and special. No matter what you want to make of it, the fact of the matter is, everything we encounter is secretly vibrating in its own unique way.
This rather metaphysical principle can be brought down to earth a bit when we apply it to marketing and branding. When we’re confronted with the choice between two different granola bars, gas stations, or cars, something pushes us toward one brand or the other—no matter how conscious or unconscious our decision is, the truth is we will make a decision.
To a certain degree, branding is always the key. The granola bar’s logo, color, and name are a part, to be sure. But this surface-level branding has to come from somewhere. If the branding was intentional, you’ll always be able to peel back the surface layers and discover what the branding is doing on a “vibrational” level—how the external brand elements express the internal, lesser-seen world of the company.
It’s all about intention
I firmly believe that a branding agency can’t give you a brand. Branding agencies can, at the end of the day, really only help your inner brand be expressed externally. It needs to be intentional. If your audience perceives a dissonance between your product and the outward marketing expression, they may become mistrustful, or turned off in any other number of ways that happen when our minds perceive a message cut off from the reality of the situation.
Think about sound waves. When two violins play the same note at the same frequency, the sound of both instruments is amplified. When one violin’s message is slightly off, everyone—even those who know nothing about music—can tell. The same is true in branding. The best results come from the brands that took their passion to the branding agency—brands who care about what they do, and express that with positivity. This translates infinitely more easily into good branding, because their energy, positivity, and passion can’t help but be funneled into the brand. Take that inherent positivity, add targeted, well-planned Orange County branding, and everyone will be able to hear the vibrations of the message.