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Bridging the gap

I’m reading a great branding book by Marty Neumeier. THE BRAND GAP, is one of those books you pick up and find hard to put down (obviously you have to have some sort of interest in branding)

The book focuses on bridging the gap between business strategy and design – something that many business owners struggle with. Most people believe that design philosophy is based purely on aesthetics, but if you think about it, design not only shapes everything around us, it is us. So it’s wider than aesthetics.

We are all unique, yet we share similar parts and functions. We have hair, eyes, heart, liver, skin, bones and these elements come in all shapes, sizes, colours and tones but when combined they form what we understand to be a human being. Many animals share these elements with us too: a lion has a head of hair, teeth, eyes and muscles, but is a completely different creature altogether.

When it comes to creation and management of brands, some business owners believe that business strategy and design are two entirely separate concepts with little or no connectivity.

Neumeier argues that every brand must communicate with consistency (through the use of brand identity manuals and brand guardians) and, more importantly, be very different from competing brands.

True connectivity and consistency, Neumeier believes, can only be found and developed when our business mind is working in close collaboration with our creative mind. In other words, when our logical, analytical and rationale management team are working with our emotional, spatial, big picture, imaginative creative team.

Just as each human is different, if a brand is to succeed it must have a clear difference from competing brands. And it’s not just how it looks, but how it acts, feels and what its story is. In fact, Neumeier says: when everybody is busy Zigging, one must start Zagging.

The Brand Gap defines a brand as:

“A person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company. It’s a gut feeling because we’re all emotional, intuitive beings, despite our best efforts to be rational.”

So things that make us different and unique as a brand aren’t just the way we look, but also the way we behave, our values, our actions and, most importantly, how these things are etched into the memories of our customers.

As brand creators we have helped clients become distinctive and better aware of the effects that their business actions and strategy can have in the long term. A brand is not created by the people who own it, it is created in the minds of the people that buy into it… in today’s digital and socially connected world.

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