Brand Now

How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World

 Brand Now

Author: Nick Westergaard
Pub Date: May 2018
Print Edition: $23.00
Print ISBN: 9780814439227
Page Count: 240
Format: Hardback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814439234

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Excerpt

Logos, Logotherapy, and Brownies

After one of my talks about branding, I’m often met off-stage by people with their chests puffed out and a big smile on their face. They lean forward with pride and say, “We just rebranded.” As they rock back, they add: “Ye-e-e-e-ep. We just redid our whole logo.” With an awkward grin frozen on my face, I nod along and look for a way to change the subject. “Where did you get that brownie?”

That’s because it takes all of my powers not to conjure Mandy Patinkin’s Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, whose second most iconic line states in response to an-other character’s continued use of the word inconceivable, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Branding is your logo, right? If your brand’s broken, you must need a better logo. If you’re looking to reinvigorate your brand, try a jazzy new logo. Why does everyone make this branding stuff so hard?

This thinking is, of course, shortsighted. Your brand is so much more than your logo. And that’s what we’re going to look at as we unpack the seven Brand Now Dynamics. At the risk of confusing you, logo is a good place to start. Or more specifically, its root, in the Ancient Greek logos.

Actually, logos meant a lot of things in Greek including “ground,” “plea,” “opinion,” “expectation,” “word,” and “discourse.” It became a more technical term as the philosopher Heraclitus used the term for a principle of order and knowledge. Logos is the logic behind an argument. Persuade an audience using logical arguments and supportive evidence. Logos helps us unlock meaning.

And meaning matters. A thinker who means a lot to me is Viktor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor. His own hellish experiences led him to discover the importance of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even the most brutal ones. Frankl went on to found logotherapy. I initially assumed logotherapy was a cool psychological grounding for branding and logos. I was slightly let down to discover that it’s actually a form of existential analysis. As it turns out, it can help us, too.

One of logotherapy’s key principles asserts that our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life. According to Frankl, one of the ways in which we discover meaning is by experiencing something or encountering someone. Which brings us back to brands.

We are overwhelmed by stimuli in today’s distracted digital world, which is why we want to create brands that stand out. But we miss something in the earliest stages of brand development. We stunt our work by failing to provide meaning. Nigel Hollis is Chief Global Analyst at Kantar Millward Brown, a market research firm focused on advertising effectiveness, strategic communication, media, and brand-equity research. He’s also the author of The Meaningful Brand. In his research, Hollis has noted that less than 25 percent of brands are seen by shoppers as distinctive.

Too often this leads us to the Marketing 101 staple: differentiation. How is your brand different from mine? This sets the bar too low. Instead of just differentiating your brand from what else is out there, you need to create meaning. When I interviewed New Zealand–based brand strategist Mark Di Somma, he noted, “You have to build an understanding both inside your walls and outside of your walls. You have to build something people want to interact with.” You have to build something with meaning. A brand that stands for something. Whether you’re a multinational conglomerate selling consumer packaged goods or a realtor selling houses, your brand has to mean something to those you serve. Why should someone care more about your products? Why should I buy a house from you? A brand with meaning answers these questions seamlessly.

If you follow this back to my awkward conversation with someone who’s rebranded with a new logo—pre-brownie pivot—I'll cede that, of course, your logo is a part of your brand; but ultimately that’s just one expression. From the Greek logos to Frankl, Hollis, and Di Somma, to build a standout brand, you must be grounded in meaning. Beyond the services you provide and the products you sell. Meaning has many definitions, but most useful are those that cite endowing something with “purpose or significance.”

So, where can your brand find purpose and significance?

Excerpted from BRAND NOW: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World by Nick Westergaard. Copyright © 2018 Nick Westergaard. Published by AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used with permission. All rights reserved. http://www.amacombooks.org.

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