The term branding people use it
interchangeably with logo design,
identity design, and even sometimes
typography and maybe we need to set the
I know you’re the best person to tell us
what is branding Marty?
So let’s start with what branding isn’t.
It’s cause it’s not a lot of things
people say it is. It’s not a logo.
A logo is a very useful tool for a
business, but it’s not the brand.
It’s a symbol for the brand.
A brand is not a product.
So when people talk about this brand
buying this brand or that brand they’re
really talking about buying one product
or another product.
The brand is not that.
People say the brand is a promise the
company makes to customers and there’s
some truth in that.
I mean it does end up acting as a
promise, but that’s not what it is
Advertising people like to say “well
it’s the sum of all the impressions that
a company makes on an audience.”
Well you know if you’re trying to sell a
lot of impressions I can see where that
might be useful to you.
But from a business point of view why do
they want that? How does that help
creative people understand what they’re
So none of those things are really what
branding is. A brand is a result.
It’s a customer’s gut feeling about a
product, service, or a company.
It ends up in their heads in their
They take whatever raw materials you
throw at them and they make something
out of it, but they’re making it.
They’re creating it.
And so in a sense when you create a
brand you’re not creating one brand,
you’re creating millions of brands like
however many customers or people in your
Each one has a different brand of you.
So a brand has like a reputation.
So it’s your business reputation and
everyone’s gonna be a little bit
different about what that reputation is.
And that’s OK as long as you have got it
corralled mostly where you want it and
that it’s beneficial to the company.
So we tend to look at companies and
designers tend to look at branding as,
from our point of view, like this is
something we’re doing. We’re telling a
story. We’re making a claim. We’re you
know making a pitch and that’s what we
But that’s not what a brand is. The
brand is the result of that.
And if you don’t start there, you don’t
know what you’re doing.
You actually don’t know. You think you
know what you’re doing but you don’t.
So from a designer’s point of view I
mean I always tended to be this way it’s
like I just had, it was my gut feeling.
Right? About whether this is going to
work or not.
And then I would sell it as hard as I
could to get the client to sign off on
it. From the client’s point of view,
they’re going off the checklist.
I got the logo, I got the tag line, I
got the ad campaigns. Check! And they
think they’re done.
None of that’s right.
You know? What’s right is what happens
in people’s heads. Like what have we
What’s the reputation that we’ve created
through the products we’re putting out,
and the design of the products, the
messaging we’re putting out, the look
and feel of them, our culture. You know?
How does that affect people? How our
employees behave, you know, how is that
affecting our reputation? All that stuff
So it’s a big world.
And it actually takes in almost all of
the business. Not so much finance but
finances involved too because finance
has to greenlight all these things. But
almost everybody in a company is you
know affecting the brand, doing
something with the brand, doing it for
the brand, or hurting the brand.
So you’ve got to think of it that way.
I didn’t want to say one word because
that was perfect and this is unscripted.
Marty is just talking from decades of
experience and writing and articulating
this. It’s very clear to me.