Branding is the natural domain of the designer

I could not help but be carried along by Simon Black’s sweeping prose and passion for branding as a core mission for ambitious design consultancies, set to leave behind their tactical roots and make for the verdant canopy of the branding forest (Business Insight, DW 24 July).

However, I simply have to take issue with his assertion that the brand space must be ‘nobly considered by owners’, not ‘functionaries’. Forget the imperial resonance of the term ‘functionary’ – most employees are functionaries, even those with power.

So I would humbly assert that, given the dearth of true ‘owners’, much of the art of brand-building is to do with empowering, empassioning and engaging those very functionaries with the belief that to truly deliver their brand promise, they must look far beyond the narrow confines of marketing communications and, indeed, design, and make delivery of every aspect of the brand – its places, spaces, behaviours, products, services, language and communication – their daily mission. Without committed, passionate functionaries, the noble intentions of owners will be nought but withered leaves on the branch of ambition.

David Rivett, Partner, Circus Communications, by e-mail


Simon Black wrote two weeks ago about the stretch from design to branding. In my experience, it is easy for design studios to give away brand thinking without due reward.

Sharp creative directors will intuitively assess a brand’s positioning, evaluate the competition, review consumer trends and form a vision of the opportunity for that brand. Often they have to, because it’s not in the brief. Fantastic strategic thinking goes on without a PowerPoint slide in sight, and design frequently transforms brands from the ground up. Designers need to be more aware that what they are already doing is ‘strategy’ – that they are thinkers as well as creators. The challenge is to capture and deliver that thinking in a form that is valuable for the client.

Emily Penny, Brand planner,  Together Design, by e-mail



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