How brands work (in my experience)

No two brand projects are the same. There is no one-size-fits-all brand model or brand framework that will solve every brand problem. However, there are some basic beliefs about how brands work that inform all of my projects.

It is their brand not yours.

A brand is a set of associations and feelings in people’s heads. You can influence those associations but you can’t control them. The most powerful brand associations are subconscious. The biggest influence on brand associations is personal experience.

Brands are blunt instruments.

You don’t influence brand associations with complexity and caprice. Brands create a lasting impression through clarity and relevance, creatively expressed. And through reach and repetition. You need to define a simple set of desired associations for your brand, and you need to define the language, behaviours and aesthetics that will influence those associations in the right direction.

Strong brands push against open doors.

Strong brands serve an obvious and relevant purpose, by which I mean they solve problems and do useful jobs. Strong brands make sense in real people’s lives. Strong brands are a sincere reflection of the organisational culture behind them. If these things were as obvious as they sound, every brand would do them. A lot of brands don’t.

Weak brands have commitment issues.

Weak brands don’t make the sacrifices that are necessary for clarity and creativity. Weak brands don’t value stewardship and consistency. Many brands find this kind of focus and long term commitment difficult, if not impossible.

Brand is strategy

A strategy is a framework for making important decisions. A well defined brand can play this strategic role. In fact this is exactly how brands work best. By guiding what you do and don’t say. By guiding who you will and won’t recruit. Through values and principles that demonstrably underpin how the organisation behaves.


Posts related to how brands work

At your service.

Taking my advice.

How to read company culture.

Recovering steam.


how brands work
How brands work