Branding is Everything... Everything is Branding

A consumer will give you about three seconds, maybe 4 if you're lucky, to get to your message across. To make it obvious that your brand is different, that your brand is better, and why they should take time to care. That's it. You've got three seconds.

It's imperative that you make it clear that you differ and deserve a languid look. Three seconds isn't much time.

Which means you better be different if you want to survive whatever with any degree of relevance. We're not talking 20% or even 50% different. We're talking a complete 180. In a market where products try to be everything to everybody, where everything gets pushed to the lowest common denominator, you've got to set yourself apart, find a point of difference that can be turned into a point of genuine differentiation. Then, you've got to put your branding efforts toward communicating exactly how interacting with your brand will be a different experience, and why it will actually be a better choice. You've got to make sure your brand is seen as a clearly distinctive choice.

The fact is, the number one job of branding today is to get people to stop and look and recognize in an instant that they're seeing something they've never seen before and that it meets a justifiable and relevant need, whether it be related to corp. logo, service, to value, to functionality or fun. It also has to generate recall.

You have 3 - 4 seconds!

Find your point of differentiation. Do not focus on the lowest common denominator, but rather spend your time and effort concentrating on what you don't want your brand to be. Then establish a point of differentiation between the two.

Consumers need all the help they can realizing that what they're looking at is actually new, you need to make it a crystal clear. My belief is that the only way to make it clearly obvious what your brand is, is to make it clearly obvious what your brand isn't. To be different you have to start by looking at who you want to be different from and why.

You've got to find yourself a unique opposing foundation with a strong rationale for market acceptance. I'm not talking half-baked attempt here. We're not talking Tim Hortons with a larger cups. A Costco or Wallmart with a longer name or brighter lights. In dealing with Branding is Everything and Everything is Branding, a little bit different doesn't cut through.

Evaluate your competition. Identify where the key emotional and rational associations linked to this logo/brand is in the consumer's mind. Who do they appeal to and why. What sets them appart? Who are the customers and why. How does the competition's competition differ? What is their point of differentiation? It does take real focus to evaluate all of this.

Travel off down that road not yet traveled. To determine which market needs are not being met and how you can meet them.

We all know that brands help consumers make choices. In a world of branding, it's critical that you make unquestionably clear the different and relevantly better choice you have to offer. This can begin with a strong Corp. Identity that functions on different levels. (eg., That logo may be what opens the door for you. Three split seconds goes by in an instant.

Umberto Micheli - Creative director -

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