5 Pieces of Total Trash Branding Advice
1983: the internet formed out of the need for sharing academic research. Seems legit, right? Fast forward to present day and the internet is flooded with memes, gifs/jifs, and cryptocurrency predictions. The good, the bad, and the downright ugly.
As branding experts, nothing is more like nails on a chalkboard than poor branding advice given by novices. Fear not though; we're here to clean up the mess and cleanse the crap advice from your brains.
1. "Our branding speaks to millennials."
Ok sure, everyone wants to appease millennials, but there is no surefire way to get to ALL of them. Why not? The oldest millennials turn 36 this year and the youngest turn 16. Do you really think a 16-year-old has any interest in something that a 36-year-old finds riveting? "Let me tell you about how great my $401k plan is," said no 16-year-old, ever. Give it up.
2. "Your logo is everything!"
Mayhaps, the biggest piece of trash advice, to rule them all. Sure brand recognition is powerful. Ask yourself this: when was the last time you couldn't think of the name of the business and tried recalling it to a friend by describing their logo? Answer: 1955. Today we associate advertisements or influential creative work, even down to just the brand colors we've seen to recollect a business name. If you're going to bank something being "everything" about a brand, its the brand story.
3. "Be consistent."
Yes and no. Yes, you want to be consistent with your brand guidelines; use the colors, fonts, and so on appropriately when defined by your brand guidelines. When done correctly, a brand strategist and designer become one and create a flexible brand identity that evolves as a business grows. Consistently using branding that looks outdated? Yeah dog, that's gonna be a no from us.
4. "We need to buy more ads for more brand awareness."
Again, yes and no. If you haven't read The End of Advertising by Andrew Essex, we highly recommend the short read and are in no way shape or form affiliated. Short story even shorter, the former CEO of Droga5 proposes the way that advertising will survive is if it has unprecedented creative or benefits the greater good. So instead of blasting your ad in every intrusive way possible, get smarter about advertising your brand. Think conceptually and strategize where ad placement seems natural and not obnoxious.
5. "Your brand will create itself."
Where do we even begin with this nonsense? Even the most badass DGAF (don't give a fuck) brands that could care less about what you think are carefully crafted to make you believe just that. Need an example? Try Kanye West, friend. Regardless of whether you like him or not, you know for a fact that some tremendous thought has been put into every concept that builds upon his story. So no, brands don't create themselves overnight, but your best and fastest option is to hire professionals.
"Let me tell you about how great my $401k plan is,"
— Not one 16-year-old, in the history of ever