A Practical Guide to Branding Basics

A Practical Guide to Branding Basics


How is a brand more than a logo?

A logo, at first, is no more than just that. Eventually it becomes a symbol or flag that signals the brand’s presence. A brand is built over time. A brand wears a consistent “suit of clothes”.

What makes a brand is all the communication that surrounds a product, company or service – from business cards, to your building, or retail outlet, advertising, the way you and your staff behave, your promotions, the words you use to communicate and more.

How do you ensure brand consistency?

You start with a vision for the company, product, or service. Write it down and make sure everything you do reflects that vision.

What is the difference between good and bad advertising?

Good advertising engages the consumer. It’s carefully crafted to “do” things to the consumer, not to “say” things. By “say” I mean brag, or tell the consumer what to do or think about a brand. Our judging advertising workshops show that around 80% of advertising fails to engage consumers. Why? Because it’s often made to make clients happy, not engage the consumer. By remaining objective in your assessment of your advertising and measuring it against your brief you can produce more effective work.

How do you choose an ad agency that’s right for your business?

Look for work that you like, find out who produced it, meet the people who produced it, talk to them, ask them to present to you work that worked and work that didn’t work, and see if you get on. Draw-up a short list of around three. Work with them closely as colleagues and let chemistry decide. A bit like a marriage, it’s a wooing process and when consummated it should last. Do it too quickly and shallowly and you’ll be looking for a new partner again and again.

Explain the value of “being small”.

Our research shows that everywhere people are looking for something individual, an expression of difference. We call it, “the journey to self actualisation.” For example, where once there were four beers to choose from, now there are more than 30. People want choice and with choice comes fragmentation and specialisation. What’s more, the big multinationals have to adapt to this trend. Yet they are often ponderous and slow to react; here’s the opportunity for the true entrepreneur. Move quickly and the world is yours.

Is it possible to achieve brand success if you’re not a maverick?

Name someone who wasn’t a maverick who built a brand. I can’t. Mavericks smell trends before they happen. They are curious people. Intuitive. By their very nature most entrepreneurs have a little bit of maverick in them. You just need the right people to help you get there.

  • Title: Things the brand gurus don’t want you to know
  • Author: Aubrey Malden
  • Publisher: Forensic Marketing
Monique Verduyn
Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.