No man is an island and therefore, having conversations with someone that speaks my language is very important from time to time. Picasso had Matisse, Basquiat had Warhol, you get the drift. It’s important for me to have people in the industry, that I can discuss things like social media, advertising, brand development and graphic design. There are very few people that understand all those things and that do them well, Phillip Clayton to me is one of the few people that uses his online platform in the way that I do—to connect with thought leaders from all over the world and learn and interact with them. He is a branding development specialist with over 15 years of experience working in the advertising industry. He is also a member of the International Commission of Judges for the 2019 PAC, Global Leadership Awards, a commission that celebrates great packaging design in the world. Yes, that’s makes us design nerds! We are very much a like in a lot of ways, and so it’s great to talk shop with him from time to time.
We talked bout a lot of things in the span of four hours at a local coffee shop and he introduced me to this book called The Brand Gap, which is now my new favorite guide to branding. It confirms things I’ve known intrinsically for years, such as the no logo test and the idea that a brand is not just a logo (which I talk about in my previous article, Branding is More than a Logo. ) Anyways, let’s get to the nitty gritty.
We talked about a few things such as:
- People skim on paying an agency to do research and develop their entire brand’s identity (not just their logo) and rather pay a graphic designer peanuts to create a logo that will become obsolete in a few years or doesn’t appeal to their target audience.
- A lot of people don’t understand the meaning of the word branding:
Branding is a process of creating a unique image or name or logo or symbol or combination of any of these for a specific product in consumer’s mind which differentiates it from competitor’s products.
- Phillip does not like the word “branding” and prefers brand development, whereas for me, the two can work interchangeably. However, where we both agree is that developing a brand identity is more than just a logo, it’s everything from how the company answers their phone, their internal comms, website–the full gamut of communication.
- Many companies in Jamaica don’t understand the mixed messages they’re sending when their branding is so confusing. This can be as simple as a font choice. Color has a psychological effect as well, which I will touch on in another post.
- The brands we love like Coca-Cola for example, have been able to differentiate over the years by making only slight changes to their logo. The reason for this is that they understand their brand is more than just their logo, its everything from that signature bottle to the brand experience.
- Some brands know when to innovate by listening to their consumer, for example, Federal Express changed their logo to FedEx because that is what customers were calling the company anyway. So they listened and evolved.
- Some brands think that jumping on every trendy viral topic is the way to go but if it isn’t true to the brand, then they should avoid it all together. For example, McDonalds decided to recreate the famous Banksy shredding painting with a graphic on their social media. The attempt seems lazy and forced and doesn’t speak well to Banksy’s painting or McDonald’s.
AND finally, I’ve been talking about personal branding for years, and how using your presence online and offline can bring opportunities for you but David Olgivy puts it simply and we call can relate to this: you build a brand by doing the work, then the rest will follow.
So tell me what brands do you love and why? And do you love the brand because of the product or service it offers, or are the two not mutually exclusive? And should I continue this coffee talk series and talk to other people about branding and advertising? Who’s down?