• What do you wish more people understood about branding?

    1. DDG

This is part of an ongoing series of articles sharing our thoughts, insights, and conversations on brand-related topics including brand strategy, communications, and design.

The term “brand” is ubiquitous in today’s world of design savvy start-ups and digital marketing magicians. And yet, a deep understanding of the concept—and why it actually matters—still eludes many of the people and companies who could benefit from it most. Branding may be complex at times, but it’s far from incomprehensible. In this episode we explore what we wish more people understood about branding.

What do you wish more people understood about branding?

I wish more people understood that branding is an activity, and you need a team that's focused on that activity day in and day out—working on it, and improving it. I think too many companies think branding is something you pay for once, and then it’s just there. But the truth is, it’s just like innovation or product development. Product development doesn't just happen. You need a team, and they need to be dedicated to it. So with branding, you also need to have a team.

If you look at our most successful clients, you see that they have a team who’s working on their brand, and DDG works with them to advance what they're doing. So I think the biggest gap right now is not that people don't think branding is important, or that they don’t have a sense that branding is something that needs to be invested in, it’s that they're not committing to it. We see that the smart companies take a percentage of their revenue and invest it in the branding component and that helps lead to more success. 

- Mark Stocker, Managing Director

I wish people would think of branding as becoming better. I think every brand—from the bottom to the top—always has room to improve. Branding isn’t about becoming famous and doing lots of advertising campaigns. Even if you're a small or unknown brand, you still have room to grow. We try to help our clients understand the idea of becoming a better brand.

When thinking about design or branding, a lot of people just want to do something different. They want to be different from all their competitors, but I think the ultimate goal should be to be better. Being different can be part of the solution of course, and it can help you stand out from competition, but trying to be different just for the sake of being different won’t work. If you don’t know where you want to go, then there’s no point in being different.

- Nathan Wong, Senior Designer

When I tell people I work in branding, they don't seem to really understand what that means most of the time. Sometimes they’ll ask if I mean we do advertising because it is something that people seem to be more familiar with. I wish people were able to understand branding in the first place. I wish people understood that branding is about having a core idea that influences your strategy. The strategy then drives your brand communication design.

- Camile Lin, Designer

I wish people understood that branding doesn’t have to be about making things up that aren’t true, just to look good. I think that’s a common misperception. That branding is all about making things up; that it’s some kind of marketing veneer with no real substance when stripped away.

The truth is branding can be honest, and authentic. Brands that understand this are the ones who walk their talk. For example, people who work at Nike claim the experience inside the company is the same as the experience we see them projecting in their design and marketing efforts. They’re connected because those efforts are simply an honest reflection of their true values. And that’s why they’re successful.

- Chris W. Hubbard, Communications Strategist


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