A Swig of Branding ~ Timeless Tips for Top-Shelf Marketing


Do it Right

Kelly Interior“The manufacturer who dedicates his [efforts]to building the most sharply-defined personality for his brand will get the largest share of the market at the highest profit.” David Ogilvy, The “Father of Advertising.”

Those black plastic bags forgetful dog owners leave on the side of hiking trails…you know what’s in them, right? Well, I’ve got something else that belongs there: The misguided notion that your brand is your logo and that a logo is just a pretty piece of necessary art. Just like those abandoned plastic bags and their contents, such thinking isn’t going to go far, and it needs to be thrown in the rubbish bin.

Unless you’re living in a cave somewhere deep in the Himalayas, you’ve heard, “It’s not the journey; it’s the destination.” (Strike that—this sounds like something that may very well have first been uttered in an obscure Tibetan enclave.) While it’s become a cliché, there is truth to the maxim, particularly as regards your business brand.

Branding is an incredibly valuable process that can provide you with potent and far-reaching creative and strategic assets. Choosing a quick and cheap logo based on artistic appeal is like committing to a relationship based solely on an attractive photo and a brief profile on an online dating site. It’s just asking for trouble. Most of us want a deep, meaningful relationship, not just a pretty face.

A well-guided Brand Discovery process creates assets your business can’t live without. Most obviously, it will result in a logo rich in imagery and typography that elicits specific emotional reactions, and that will stay relevant for years to come. The Discovery process can also produce a powerful corporate name and tagline; it can provide you with a rich repository of creative and strategic concepts from which you can spin off myriad tightly-coordinated ad campaigns, gripping headlines, web copy, social media content, “elevator speeches,” and overall brand coherence.

So my Timeless Tip for April 2015 is this: Don’t settle for a logo when you can have a brand. In other words, the value is in the process and its outcomes, not in pulling a logo out of a hat—unless you want your business to be just another “pretty face” in a room crowded with lovely-looking logos. Substance and personality are what will set your brand apart, and that takes roll-up-your-sleeves work and not a little creative brilliance. If you possibly can, invest in a branding process with a creative professional so that your subsequent advertising will carry an engaging, consistent message with the potential to create a loyal brand following.

Friends, don’t skip the dating; don’t miss the journey; for Pete’s sake, don’t settle for a logo when you can have a brand! As this rather notable guy named “Pete” Drucker, the “Father of modern management,” said, “The computer is a moron,” so don’t think a computer program or a website can do branding for you! Enjoy the journey.

Kelly Walker is a veteran Bend, Oregon creative director and a trusted mentor in the art of advertising. For a free eBook with valuable marketing tips, contact Kelly at 541-419-9976 or Kelly@intrepidforward.com

(Photo above: If only… | photos courtesy of Intrepid Marketing)


About Author

Kelly Walker is the host of A Swig of Branding, creative director for Intrepid Marketing and a senior copywriter with over 20 years experience. He has masterminded scores of high-profile brand identity projects, written hundreds of ads and taught college-level marketing and copywriting courses. He resides in Bend with his wife Andrea, four boys and (finally) a little girl due September, 2015.

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