Brand – Hold tight or let go?
Question: To build a successful brand, is it better to control every aspect of the brand, or to encourage people to adopt it and adapt it?
For me branding is a living thing that needs to be nurtured and encouraged to grow and adapt just like a child. But you could think of it more like a small bird… Hold it too tightly and you suffocate it and it struggles against you… Hold it too loosely and it will get away from you and you lose control of it, so you need to get the balance of feeling and control just right.
Brand is a umbrella term for a culture of values, feelings, visions, imagination, creativity, style and purpose. Brand transmits these as various languages and forms of communication and voices to the intended recipient, it is only then that a brand comes to life in the form that the recipient interprets it.
Of course a brand needs a great image, whether that’s a memorable mark or a great reputation. It has to have something that will initially attract the intended recipient to either buy it or engage with it in some way, and then have something about it that will ‘stick’ in the minds of the recipient/ target so they might return to the brand for another purchase or experience. But the worlds best and biggest brands don’t specifically sell/ advertise their product, they promote the lifestyle, attitude and felling that is gained from their product.
Nike is a prime example of this. They don’t even need to show their brand name because everyone recognises the ‘tick’ and what it stands for. It stands for the freedom to do anything you want when wearing their products, hence their slogan ‘Just do it’.
But, as with all the best brands, they still have a tight brand image for their logos, slogans, advertising, products and high street stores, which is controlled by a board and created by a team of technicians, marketers and designers, and then delivered by their trusted manufacturers and their vendors to their valued customers/ followers.
This shows that once the foundations of a brand have been established it embarks on a collaborative journey: Listening, learning, growing and evolving just like a child.
By Phil Ainley – Owner of FoPM Ltd.