Branding is utter BS. Right?
Branding is BS. Right? I mean it’s all just some fancy logo and nice colour scheme. Throw in a catchy tagline and boom! There you go. Branding! After that, just rake in the big big bucks!!! Woo hoo! Right?…
So is branding really that powerful? I don’t think the answer is as straightforward as one might think. I think it depends on what you think branding is. If you think branding is just about having a nice logo and a fancy colour scheme, then I would say that branding is BS.
Consider this: I have a new company. I spend 80% of my budget to come up with a killer logo with the most amazing fonts, colours and tagline. Awesome stuff! What’s next? *Crickets*… What just happened? You just paid an artist to create an artwork that maybe… maybe some people will buy. I mean we have all bought something cos it looked nice before, right? But then if that’s the case, why not just sell artwork?
Most people have this conception that branding has to do with the visual and external aspects of branding because these elements are the most visible and tangible. But that’s not really why branding is so powerful.
Think of it this way – a company’s brand is its personality. Think about your bestie. You go through thick and thin with this person because of who he is. His personality is something that you can relate to. There is loyalty because you can relate to him. Even when shit hits the fan and things get though, you still stick by him. That’s what friends do right? And friends RELATE to each other. Now that’s exactly what branding does.
Also consider this: Would you go through hell and back again with a person who looks really good? Perhaps some might; in those cases, they’re probably people that are suckers for good looks. Most aren’t. I mean, people cheat on their model partners the moment they no longer feel the connection with them.
Imagine your company as a person. Who is your company? How does she behave? What does she do? What’s her personality? Now, we’re talking. Let’s look at some big brands.
Apple: The Innovative Visionary
Apple is like that visionary friend who’s always one step ahead. They’re the type who constantly brings groundbreaking ideas to the table, setting trends that others eagerly follow. With a minimalist and sleek style, they exude sophistication and an affinity for the finer things in life. But beneath that cool exterior, they’re known for being meticulous and perfectionistic, striving for excellence in everything they do. Apple is the friend who effortlessly blends artistry and innovation.
Nike: The Inspirational Athlete
If Nike were a person, they’d be the ultimate athlete—driven, ambitious, and always pushing boundaries. They’re the motivational coach who encourages you to break through your limits and achieve your personal best. With a can-do attitude and an unyielding spirit, they lead by example, showing that success is born from hard work and dedication. Nike is that friend who inspires you to lace up your sneakers and chase your dreams.
If I identify as a creative visionary, I would want Apple to be my bestie. And when they make the iPhone 20, which is smaller teal version of the iPhone 19, I would still cry with joy and be the best cheerleader I can be.
If I identify as a driven and ambitious athlete, I would love to have Nike as my friend. I would want to be inspired, and even though my friends tell me that their shoes are made by child labour in sweatshops, I’m still inspired.
So, just as a person isn’t just all about his looks and fashion, a company isn’t just all about her logo, colours, fonts, tagline or packaging.
If you’re in the beginning stages of starting your business, going all in on the so-called “branding” is going to be a waste of time. Why? Because you aren’t even sure of who you want to be friends with! Heck, you probably don’t even know who you are as a company. Very few brand new companies have the funds and budget to do heavy market research to know EXACTLY who they want to reach out to and who they need to be as a company. We’re talking small startups here; not the big MNCS with TBs worth of market big data. Most new companies start from a dude just doing his thing.
My suggestion is to spend some time to discover who you can be as a company; discover who you want to be as a company; and then discover who you NEED to be as a company, in order to appeal to a market segment that you have access to and can afford to pay you well enough. Now, when you’ve discovered that, then that’s where we can deliberate about a deeper level of branding – a level that is past the surface.
So, is branding utter BS? Depends. If you’re new, focus on figuring out yourself and your market first. Don’t spend the effort building a brand that might not even be well received. Once you’ve done that, don’t just think of the logo, colours, fonts, tagline. Be deliberate and consistent about the activities you engage in, the way you behave and the way you speak to your audience. That’s the non-BS branding.