The inside-out of branding

This article was posted on Thursday, July 31st, 2014


  • Brand strategy – check
  • New logo – check
  • CI manual – check
  • Photo shoot, ad campaign – check, check
  • Brochures, website, signage – check, check, check
  • Cheque – check!

Developing and building a brand is no shy investment of intellect, time and money. Breaking down a brand doesn’t demand the same amount of brain power (quite the opposite actually), doesn’t take long (sometimes a few seconds will do) and it costs more than you can imagine.

Why then do so many organisations neglect the most important aspect of branding; the internalisation of the brand strategy; turning brand values into brand behaviours?

Let me prove my case:

Exhibit 1

While driving home from work in peak hour traffic; the kind that makes watching grass grow look like a high impact action movie, I noticed in my review mirror a Mercedes Benz weaving manically like Beyonce before the Grammies. As it darted in and out of our plebeian safe following distances, my attention was drawn to what was emblazoned upon it; a well designed and carefully applied logo. Even in reverse the logo made complete sense; it was bold and its message clear; very clever, and no doubt very expensive. As the branded Merc rushed passed me in the emergency lane, I managed to read the website address proudly displayed across the width of its tinted rear window. It then swerved in front of a truck and onto greatness.

Now if this logo read something like – Never-too-late Couriers or Super Hero on Call, I would have been impressed. But alas, it was far from and the driver did a sterling job of turning this logo into road kill.

Exhibit 2

With the well-toned bodies and fancy footwork presented in the recent SWC, I took my 1st step to a 6 pack, by registering for sessions with a personal trainer at one of SA’s top fitness centres (not the holy one).

With the visual of the future-me embedded in my mind’s eye, I navigated the turnstiles and…. to my disgust I was pushed aside by hungry, KFC carrying, name badge wearing receptionists. OK, pep talk time, “don’t turn back, they are admin staff, not the actual fitness / training staff, forgive them their junk food fetish’.

Then, I was introduced to the man who was to motivate me, mold me and make me the woman in my mind. It couldn’t be; he brought Crunchies rather than crunches to mind, plump rather than pump, push over rather than push up.

Closing argument

The best brand strategy and materials mean very little if the people who represent it every day do not understand and live its values. There is little point in allocating budget to the development of a brand if you are allowing its custodians to act in direct opposition to it.

“Not only is our experience of Power of 9 that “they just get it”, but they add enormous value and insight through the whole process, whether it be image/brand concept, advertising campaigns, launches or events – a true partner in success!”

Assheton-Smith Incorporated

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