This Is Your Brand On Digital

While every era comes with its own unique challenges and opportunities, for those operating in the intertwined worlds of marketing and branding, the digital media age is positively bursting with both. Along with the rewards that come with having countless new channels through which to expose your brand, come the new rules and big risks associated with a fickle, sometimes volatile digital audience, and global, around-the-clock exposure.

The digital age, together with the explosion of social media, has given rise to what author and cultural branding expert Douglas Holt calls “crowdcultures.”

“Social media binds together communities that once were geographically isolated, greatly increasing the pace and intensity of collaboration,” Holt says. “Now that once-remote communities are densely networked, their cultural influence has become direct and substantial.”

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When Form Follows Dysfunction

As the owners of a full-service branding company, we witness the power of great design on a daily basis. And while most people may not actually take conscious notice of it, we all encounter countless examples of design on a daily basis. From the company logo on your t-shirt to your car’s dashboard, to the office where you spend your working hours, our environment is permeated with design choices, some seamlessly effective, and some, well, not so much. In the video below, the independent radio show “99% Invisible” takes a hard look at one glaring example of shoddy environmental design, and how it can slowly but surely drive us to distraction.

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Where The Rubber Meets The Road

I’m no mechanic. When it comes time to maintain or repair something on my car, I count on people who know, and hopefully love, what they’re doing. This applies to everything from the tune-up to the tires. Especially the tires. Until recently, buying those tires could be a not-so-pleasant, inconsistent, and sometimes greasy experience. Maybe you’ve been there.

That all changed when I visited a local Discount Tire franchise. If you need tires, or if you’re interested in experiencing what effective branding looks and feels like, you should pay them a visit.

Discount Tire has basically overturned the raft of negative stereotypes associated with the tire-buying experience. Their waiting area is spotless, and filled with light, comfortable chairs and things to read, the mechanics can be seen working away behind a glass wall, and everyone in the place is dressed in the company’s crisp, NASCAR-chic uniforms.

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Stand By Your Brand

One of the most gratifying feelings I get as a professional graphic designer is the moment in the logo design process when I hit that sweet spot, creating a mark that really defines and supports the client’s brand and, through the precise juxtaposition of line, type and color, perfectly expresses and reinforces the client’s message.

Then there’s the feeling I got just the other day. Picking up a local magazine, I was happy to see an ad from one of our clients. Then I saw what the publication had done to the logo, dissecting it and randomly rearranging the elements to suit their layout. Beyond the fact that this is a total bummer for the designer, messing with your logo in this way is just a very bad idea.

In any conversation about branding, you’ll hear the word “consistency” over and over again. A truly effective brand stands strong against turbulent changes in the marketplace, providing a reassuring constant for consumers looking for reliability and stability in a shifting, changing environment.

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Blogging For Clarity

When the term “weblog” was originally coined back in the ’90s, I was working as highly paid (well, paid anyway) music journalist for a national publication. As you might imagine, the prospect of writing an article, or writing anything for free for that matter, was an idea that held absolutely no appeal for me. Heck, they gave me real money to crank this stuff out!

I’ve learned a lot since those fledgling digital days, much of it from well-written, informative blogs, ironically enough. I’ve also become a small-business owner, and one of the most important takeaways for me has been the realization that if you’re blogging consistently to the right audience about your company’s unique value proposition, you are not writing for free. In fact, the benefits to your business, to your own personal growth, and to your bottom line, can be substantial.

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