As designers specializing in branding, we witness the challenges that young and mature brands face as they seek to create their footprint in the marketplace. Businesses looking to build their brands could learn a few things from builders of another sort.
There are principles that apply to both branding and carpentry. Principles that have stood the test of time and act as valuable reminders to anyone hoping to create something meaningful and lasting.
Follow the plans.
Blueprints communicate the big picture of what a finished product will be. Different angles and perspectives are created on paper so that people can see the overall view from the outset, thus allowing them to plan and act according to the vision of what will be. Likewise, brand builders need a blueprint to show the brand the vision. In our world, this is the creative brief and its value can’t be overstated. Details and the parts that make up the whole are also revealed in blueprints and briefs. This allows for constructing in deliberate ways so that connections are strong and first things go first. Without the plan, much is left to chance and on-the-fly interpretation. This can lead to a final product without stability, cohesion or purpose.
Build it to last.
Longevity for a building starts with a strong foundation. The walls, roof and structural elements are of little or no value if not built on a strong base. This is true for brands as well. The messaging and communications that articulate the brand to the world must be firmly placed on values, purpose, and positioning statements. These pillars, along with a truly valuable product or service, are at the core of a brand, and without them, no amount of creative design and messaging can provide the strength needed to thrive (or even survive) in a competitive marketplace.
Measure twice, cut once.
Take time to insure accuracy. In carpentry, you can’t add wood back to a piece of lumber that has been cut too short. Similarly, in developing branding and design, moving hastily and not tending to details can lead to inaccuracy, inefficiency, and waste. A process-oriented builder knows to take careful, practices steps with raw materials and resources, being sure to do things right the first time. Brand builders must do the same by referring back to the plans (brief) often, being purposeful with the tools and materials at hand, and double checking for accuracy at each steps of development.
Great carpenters differentiate themselves by seeking mastery of their craft. The best ones know the power of knowledge and practice. They understand that the disciplined pursuit of excellence liberates them to be more creative and effective. This means studying materials, processes, other masters, related disciplines, better approaches, and new technologies. The best craftspeople use all of these things to elevate their game (and the craft itself) to new heights. Branding is no different and the finest creative examples we see in the marketplace rarely reveal the investment of time and dedication that went into them. (Don’t most masterpieces somehow appear effortless?)
In setting out to build or rebuild a brand, remember these basic tenets of another trade. Seek out partners that understand the importance of building well. Leverage the insight and understanding gained in other industries and apply them to branding. The result will be beautiful, purposeful, and most importantly, built to last.
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