[BRANDING] The Funny Business of Branding
From walls of Post-Its to dubious logo evolution diagrams, branding can be an easy target for satire. Yet despite its clichés, process is a vital part of the job.
‘What do you do?’ A common question in the modern world where work often defines us to new people. ‘Branding? What’s that?’ The stock response. Be it a new friend at a party, a driver on a long cab ride or the person sat next to you in transit. Whether we like it or not, graphic design is advertising’s poor cousin. Everyone knows what an advert is, we’re surrounded by them. Logos? We’re also surrounded by them, but in my experience people never think about who designs them or rarely have a favourite. And the thing about all of this? Most new clients once held this position until it came to branding their company.
When we engage with a new client their first question is often, ‘So tell me how this works? What are the steps?’ They want confidence; confidence in the process, confidence in their chosen partner, confidence in what they are buying. How do we achieve that magic component? Well, beyond everything that comes later – like listening and understanding their brand needs and adapting our process – we have to show it first. Most branding agencies try to achieve this on websites by illustrating an end-to-end process – and it seems a lot of online commentators in the design community have a big problem with this.
April 1 every year brings the hilarious tranche of jokes from brands, media outlets and individuals. The vast majority of them turn out to be crap, created by people trying to be funny and failing. This year a few were widely shared on social media. One hit the note perfectly as Matvey Choudnovsky and Kolya Fabrika created a fake collection by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for Swedish fashion power brand H&M that went viral. It delved into the world of celebrity endorsement, combined with the obsession with everyday basics, creating a site which felt so real you got lost in it (I almost forgot it was fake). It wasn’t rude about H&M, but poked fun gently and knowingly at their use of celebrities obsessed with fashion, something it’s clear Mr Zuckerberg isn’t.