I believe in some things about branding and business development I simply don’t see available anywhere else.
That’s why I founded Articulated Brands® in 2007.
I believe that how most have come to define branding (including too many of its practitioners) barely scratches the surface of what it really is, how it should be approached and how much it can do to accelerate your business growth.
1. I believe a business is a machine of interconnected parts and that real branding presents an opportunity to reorganize and put “customer creation” (Drucker) back at the center of the enterprise.
2. I believe position and message are the two tools every business has at its disposal, yet they go under-utilized and under-leveraged because they are too often dealt with downstream rather than in the CMO’s, marketing director’s or CEO’s office.
3. While nothing can compare to the visceral power of design in setting expectations, elevating perceptions of value or creating a differentiated experience, design must take as its key inspiration and direction a company’s core position and its fundamental messages. When these are all spelled out ahead of time, you actually wind up with both better design and, get this, less copy. The holy grail. To get to simple, we must walk through the fires of the complex.
4. I believe business is about leverage, allocations and timing; as tough as these may be to manage on a physical, real-world level, they are both exponentially more difficult to manage and proportionally more fruitful when we are playing in the realm of ideas. Your core values and vision are great starting points for creating customer connections. By all means, don’t stop there!
5. I believe the business world has come to expect less of its agencies and so-called creative partners. As disappointing as this may be, it also leaves the door wide open for someone like me to come in and actually deliver the strategic business development service for which America’s companies have been clamoring.
6. I believe in embracing the difficult in order to get to the simple. I believe people who seek out band-aid solutions to monumental challenges wind up wasting more time and money. I once had a client who called this “the tendency to step over quarters to pick up nickels.” I like that people may be wising up to brand’s unique combination of marketing proactivity with age-old sales wisdom.
7. As a brand messaging specialist, I worry less about what the latest, greatest, flavor of the month tool of target reach may be. I worry more about the brand, position, core messages and content with which we’re going to fill those channels. Call me old-fashioned, but I think the onslaught of tactical choices these days forces people into a cart-before-the-horse mentality. You can find your audience via the media, but to reach them, to truly reach them, well, that takes a brand messaging specialist. Yes, that’s a sale, but it has the additional advantage of also being true.
8. I believe in a process that is more authentic and personal than formal as I’ve always found it more conducive to genuine collaboration and innovation.
9. I believe it doesn’t take a big firm to deliver big ideas or to facilitate big think. That said, I do believe there are some companies who are so massive, with so many different sub-brands, that they may be better off with an international branding firm with a deep bench of resources.
10. I believe Articulated Brands market smarter and harder because they’ve taken the time not just to spell out who they are, but because they have neatly defined their points of target intersect. A company who knows who it must be in relation to its targets is a company that communicates with greater clarity, resonance and impact. When it defines itself uniquely, all go-forward dollars, marketing and otherwise, serve to carve out a more unassailable space, adding impact to the company’s customer creation efforts and increasing its marketplace value.