Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier

A great book on the wonderful world of branding. It is a small book which makes it a quick read. He presents the topic in a innovative way that makes it a pleasure to read. In fact, Marty has created a brand for himself (branded himself) with the signature of the book. His style (typography, layout, images, etc.) is unique and very visual.

I was recently involved in a project of creating a logo for a company. We were trying to put reason behind the logo, and were treating the logo as the brand. First of all, this book demystifies the logo. "A brand is not a logo or a corporate identity system or a product. A brand is not what you say it is. A brand is what they say it is". Wow, how true it is. Nobody describes the logo or explains the reasoning behind their branding. It is how the audience perceives it.

He also says that in order to differentiate yourself (or your company), you should answer these three questions:
who are you?
what do you do?
why does it matter?
The last question is where most people stumble. This is a powerful concept which applies to both companies as well as individuals. Why does it matter? Why should I care? This aims at contribution. This reminds me of Guy Kawasaki's idea of answering the little man. Whenever you are about to do something or write something, imagine that there is a little guy on your shoulder who asks "so, what?". If you cannot answer him, then you are not contributing.

Here are some of the quotes and snippets from this book:
Brands should be charismatic and stand for what people want, be it joy, happiness, success, love, comfort,..

It takes a village to build a brand. Branding cannot be done in isolation. Everyone in the company should work towards creating a brand.

Innovation is what gives brands traction in the marketplace. Innovation needs creativity. Infuse and encourage creativity in organizations.

The 7 criteria for a good name:
1. Distinctiveness
2. Brevity
3. Appropriateness
4. Easy spelling and pronunciation
5. Likability
6. Extendability
7. Protectability

Logos are dead. Long live icons and avatars.If it's not innovative, it is not magic.

Avoid these three barriers to achieve full potential in web design:Technophobia, turfismo and featuritis

Focus groups were invented to FOCUS the research, not to BE the research.

Your business is not an entity. It is a living organism. So is your brand. Treat it so. Alignment is the basis of a living brand.