Brand is the new black. Anyone and everyone in marketing talks about brands, brand strategy and brand ______ (fill-in-the-blank). I was reading a proposal for web design yesterday and the word was used copiously. I was recently reviewing creative for a brochure designed by a very “strategic” agency, whose website by word count was overloaded with the words “strategy” and “brand.” (An art and copy shop.)
Many posers today know brand as noun, not as verb.
What allows a product to be a brand (noun) is the ability to brand (verb). The ability to brand (verb) is a process by which one presents a product to the market using an organizing principle that is strategic, codified and tightly managed. The only way to assess if an agency or vendor is meeting those criteria is through a brand brief. (A What’s the Idea? brand brief resolves to 1 claim and 3 planks.) If you are managing a brand, a brief is the tool you use to guide and measure actions. You can’t do that with a style guide or color palette. “Awesome use of the color orange Success Academy.”
So, when you are working with people who toss the word brand around, make sure they are not simply polishers of the noun. Ask them if they are working off a brief.
Peace in NYC.