Why Branding?

Or is that, “Why, branding!”

Enough games. We know why we’re here: a sequel to the last post. Today we’ll quickly explore the reasons I do, and you should, think about how this stuff affects you. Consider it a basis for branding. A defense for design. The logic of logos. The value of vision… Right. No more games.

Caveat: If a product or service is no different from its competitors, it is a commodity. Commodities compete on price alone, sans brand/branding. Move along, nothin’ to see here.

Perception is reality

Cliché? Sure. True? Well, maybe. (More thoughts on this to come another day.) At the very least, perception really does matter. It’s one of the drawbacks of not reading each others’ minds. Living in a heterogeneous world, full of other people and ideas, we try to relate to and understand one another, but we do so with limited capacity. We usually can’t know in an absolute sense, so we assimilate information and simplify it (more on this below) to form opinions and make decisions. To any given person, you are, to her, whom she believes you to be. And how she believes you to be. And what she believes you to be. Where she believes you to be, though less subjective, still isn’t rock solid. Perception matters because in many ways it’s the best people can do. It’s time to own up: we operate on perceptions.

Choices

We like to think we make thoughtful choices. (We mean well, don’t we?) But more and more, people make decisions of choice (purchases, donations, votes, etc.) based on that vague-yet-distinct perception; they make decisions based on — say it with me — brand. People are information-rich and time-poor. The world today is too complex, too crowded, and too fast-moving to rely on anything but branding for the large part of most decisions.

Differentiation

Looked at from a different angle, branding tells people how one entity differs from its competitors, partners, or for that matter, anything else. It helps shape the aforementioned perception. In this sense, branding isn’t so much about design (a tactic) as it is about leadership (a vision). What does a product or company mean, do or stand for? What is its story and where is it going? Branding answers these questions. Without branding, the answers, and all impressions about the given product or company, are left at the mercy of chance and the whims of the marketplace. Truly, that is a scary place to be.

Like it or not — indeed, whether you give it a second thought or not — your brand will be the primary deciding factor for potential customers, partners or constituents choosing you over the competition. So why branding? Branding matters because your brand matters.


Originally published at www.jaybryantjones.com on May 13, 2015.