Understand branding to make an impression

“Stranded at the drive-in, branded a fool. What will they say, Monday at school?” John Travolta uttered these immortal words in Grease way back in the 1970s.

That was the first time I registered the word “brand”.

At the time I had no idea what this word meant (something to do with being poked in the backside with a hot iron bar, perhaps?)

Seriously though, it seems that there are lots of people out there that still don’t know either.

Brand is a very special word, but its over use has become a stigma for us already. The national press uses it as a term of derision every time somebody spends money on image, especially when their chips are down.

A brand is the sum of all tangible and intangible parts of a company or product. It can be described as a promise, a set of values, an ethos, whatever.

But what it isn’t is a logo, or a badge, or a shelf arrangement or a set of bright new colours.

If our industry is to be properly understood and respected by our audiences, we must hold the language we use to describe it in some reverence; it should be incumbent on all consultancy spokespeople and the press to look at the way we describe our activities.

Derek Johnston

Creative director

Landor Associates

derek_johnston@uk.landor.com

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