Strategic brand expressions come from many influencers. Consultants can be your top producers. They bring the freshest ideas to the table.
Where you are in the food chain of branding directly influences what consumers experience.
I’ve been on all sides of the pyramid, and consultants are often left out of the kudos loop. With so many contributors to the brand strategy, things get misinterpreted, diluted, and sometimes directed by unseasoned brand marketing teams. The creative brief is vague, or not well thought out. The food chain of brand creative—the marketing landscape, the brand positioning, the brand narrative, and the brand promotion activities are divvied up. You never know if you are talking to the decision maker or not. Are your ideas even presented?
In nature you have the top-level consumer, the secondary consumer, the primary consumer, the producers and the decomposers. Where do your ideas fit into the brand food chain?
In branding, as with everything, perceptions are unique to the individual. Branding poses a question that seeks the right answer. Branders want to set the hook and get consumers caught up with stories and symbols. They mean well, but without a 360 view of the landscape, an ethos of truth, and meaningfully engaging brand touch-points…it’s just who is the biggest fish.
I’m not always the one to present to the client, and many great ideas have been lost in the shuffle. It’s not always appropriate, or timely, to express why a name or brand theme is relevant. Or why it deserves undivided attention.
What the consumer gets is what can be cleared and registered in a trademark category, who is presenting the solutions, and the interactive communication skills on a specific day.
I have many projects with very short turnaround time, barely enough to scratch the surface of what goes into a great brand name. Depending on where I am in the brand food chain, where others may have had months to work on a naming project, I have a day or two. How does this happen? How can something so important be reduced to a few days of exploration? Still many, many, go to market, and I am pleased to have created them, either direct to client or through an agency.
Thankfully, I am hardwired, and easily inspired to name. I have no problem coming up with great names in a very short period of time, although I do prefer having time for deep research. It proffers names I would never have thought of otherwise. Great names can come in an instant, but having time to explore is optimum.
Exploring opens up opportunities for brand names that are not just quickly constructed, but deep in meaning. Smart names that people fall in love with and trust for good reason.
I recommend clients hire a seasoned brand team, including both big picture thinkers and detail experts. This is where consultants are extremely valuable. They see white space, and bring solutions to your brand you may not have thought of. Professionals with years of experience are a worthwhile investment of your resources.
Your customers want brands that are not just words in a sea of words. They want fresh ideas that hook the heart on joyful experiences. Brands that are simple to understand but offer an expanding adventure.
It’s all about Whee!