It’s a random Saturday night a few months back & I’m sitting at my girlfriend, Gillian’s birthday dinner. The table is beautiful- stunning really- filled with very nice, approachable people. The music is right. The food is right. The vibe is right. Across the table I half-ish hear this cool-looking guy say the word branding.
Of course, you guessed it: my head whiplashed around faster than you can say ‘vodka soda.’
( Vodka soda because that’s what I was drinking- with four lemons & a splash of bitters, if we’re getting specific? ).
Anyway, it goes something like this:
“Sorry to interrupt but what did you say- I love anything to do with branding?” ( “Is this rude to butt into a conversation,” I think. “Shit, I can’t help myself” ).
“Oh, ya I was just telling _________ about this book I read that changed my business.” He says.
“OHHHHH what is the book?” I ask like a total nosey fucking Nelly.
“The Brand Gap,” he replies.
So he tells me about how it changed his business & really gave him perspective on branding. The cool-looking guy all ABOUT this book goes on about how he had his team read it too. He is smart too…using a lot of big words.
Meanwhile, I’m literally ( no literally ) ordering the book as he’s talking to me. ( THANK YOU AMAZON & JEFF BEZOS & FASTEST CHECKOUT EVER ). He’s still telling me about this book as I glance down to view my order number.
Ok order complete.
Later, I found out he started the widely successful brands DC Shoes ( which sold to Quicksilver ) & InCase Designs. His name? Damon Way.
He is so humble! Like WOW humble. ::VERY IMPRESSIVE:: And me? Well, I’m waiting impatiently for my book to arrive- duh.
A day later…The Brand Gap arrived!
Well you can see that from these pictures, I guess. So ya, I devoured it in one weekend- dog-earing the pages, so many pages. Embarrassingly the whole book. Like bookmarks galore!
The reason I like this book? Because it’s simple.
A good brand is just that, isn’t it?
Why over-complicate it?
And on The Skinny Confidential I sure love to do posts on branding. I most certainly DO NOT know it all- but it’s definitely a favorite topic of mine to discuss. I like branding. If I wasn’t a blogger perhaps I’d be a branding specialist ( is that a thing? )…or maybe an interior designer. But you kind of are branding when you’re doing interior design so they’re sort of connected if you think about.
OK, the point is I did a post a month-ish ago & promised a more in-depth post on branding. I figured I’d give you TSC SparkNotes of this book to keep it simple!
THE BRAND GAP SPARKNOTES FOR YOU:
♡ A brand is not what you say it is, it’s what the consumer says it is. It’s the emotional reaction individuals feel when they see your brand. LISTEN to your audience.
♡ Branding has nothing to do with data, numbers, & excel sheets. Nothing at all. It’s about the people who experience the brand- not the numbers. Quit it with the data, look to the people.
♡ A typical design has four goals: to identify, inform, entertain, or persuade. However when it comes to branding, there is a fifth: to differentiate. THIS COMES DOWN TO STRATEGY. Why do you like Nike over other shoe companies? Because Nike has done an incredible job of differentiating its brand.
♡ Brands can become small tribes if they’re done right. YOUR VIBE ATTRACTS YOUR TRIBE. Community is key.
♡ It takes a village to build a brand- take ego out of it. Not one person can develop a powerful, lasting brand without a strong team of people around the brand’s message. Collaboration is incredibly important- & of course, engagement.
♡ Think in fresh ways- the fresher the better. Evolve quickly, think fresh.
♡ Pick a strong icon…& name. Criteria for a good name: distinctiveness, brevity, appropriateness, easy spelling & pronunciation, likability, extendibility, & protectability.
♡ The brand ( at times ) can be inconsistent- AS LONG as it does not abandon the defining attributes.
♡ Creativity is one of the most difficult parts of branding- but it’s MAGIC when it happens.
♡ THE BRAND SHOULD ALWAYS LEAD WITH authenticity.
♡ Ultimately it is design, not strategy, that people get excited for. Always INNOVATE…that’s where the brand becomes truly magical.
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I don’t know about you, but I kind of want to tattoo these tips on my left forearm? I just feel like even though they’re simple, sometimes we can get caught up & forget them…Daily reminders on these branding principles are SO NECESSARY.
For me when I launched The Skinny Confidential, branding was hands down the most important thing. Not money. Not being an influencer. BRAND. Brand & the readership. I’m very glad I led with brand- obviously I have a long, long way to go but I do believe brand is the foundation. A good brand attracts the right people ( going back to YOUR VIBE ATTRACTS YOUR TRIBE! ).
What about your brand? Are you a blogger? A dentist? An artist? How are you branding yourself? As always, love when you guys weigh in.
OK I AM GOING TO WATCH The Keepers– it’s so scary? Like why am I watching it with the lights on? Also I have a Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup next to me that’s very frozen & ready to eat ( TRY THIS IF YOU HAVE NOT )- just thought I’d mention that.
Check out The Brand Gap: HOW TO BRIDGE THE DISTANCE BETWEEN BUSINESS STRATEGY AND DESIGN if you’re looking to dive further into branding- it’s a good one ( thanks cool-looking guy, Damon, for the rec ).
Talk tomorrow, lauryn x
+ guys be sure to listen to the latest podcast on skin care!! You have to hear what skin expert, Renee, says about detergents & dairy. Good stuff.