Low Versus High Level Branding.


Trail of Bits is a client along with Teq, Inc. that has made the greatest impact on my brand strategy business. I learn from everyone I consult with – that’s how the business works – but these two companies have had a powerful effect. What I learned from Trail of Bits, a software security company, is that there are two levels of security. Low level and high level. It’s a wonderful analog for branding.

In software there is the device and the software. The device is what one uses to do stuff and the software provides the rules and process driving the effort. You can train a person to use a computer/device. It’s a completely different story to teach them how the machine works. Using it is high level, understanding how it works, low level.

In branding, the business is flooded with people who know how to use devices, e.g., advertising, web development, PR, logo design, etc. They are all captains of their individual tactics. But at the lower level, where branding actually works to inform all tactics, there are few experts. Brand strategy is low level. It creates the framework for brand success. It creates the composition of sales and loyalty success. It creates the “organizing principle for product, experience and messaging.” Most importantly it integrates all the various pieces, across all devices.

By many business definitions “low level” means simplistic and “high level” means strategic. Not in software security. And not in branding. We flip the model.