Friday, January 4, 2008

Building a Charismatic Brand: Part 2 > Collaborate

What is a charismatic brand? It's any product, service, or company for which people believe there's no substitute. Charismatic brands have a clear competitive stance, a sense of rectitude and a dedication to aesthetics. Why aesthetics? Because it's the language of feeling, and in a society that's information-rich and time-poor, people value feeling more than information. In this series we will discuss the five disciplines (differentiation, collaboration, innovation, validation, and cultivation) of branding that must be mastered in order to have a charismatic brand.


Branding is not a solo act. It is a community that requires a multi-level team of executives and employees, marketing and PR, a branding firm, suppliers and stockholders. Like the cathedral builders of yore, it takes scores of specialized craftsmen and years to build a charismatic brand. These "branding craftsmen" share ideas and coordinate efforts across an entire creative network. In short, they collaborate. The more brains acting in UNITY, the more likely the success of the brand.
The three models listed below demonstrate the various executions of brand collaboration:

  1. The one-stop shop is the place where all responsibilities of branding--research, strategy, design, campaigns, tracking--takes place such as in an advertising agency. The one-stop shop advantage is the unity of the message and ease of brand management for the client. The disadvantage is that an offering of broad and varied services can often times result in a watered-down talent pool in one or more of those services. Additionally, the client has less control of the management of their brand.
  2. The brand agency acts as a contractor of the brand for the client, subcontracting only the necessary responsibilities of branding to the "best of the best" for that application. The brand agency, like Hornsby Brand Design, heads the project and gathers the best specialists on behalf of the client. The advantage of using a brand agency is that the brand message is developed by expert talent gathered for just the needs of the brand creation and the agency maintains unity across all media applications. Additionally, the client company is unfettered with researching and developing these talent pools. The disadvantage is that the brand control still lies outside of the company, but this can be remedied with close interaction between the brand agency and the company.
  3. The in-house marketing department has the advantages of the brand agency in that they can subcontract specialists while hiring full-time managers of the brand, giving the company full control of their brand. The disadvantage is the inability to think outside the box. Working with the same brand in the same environment with the same resources can limit a creative and fresh approach to branding and risk repackaging the same old processes and philosophies with only a new ribbon. Success of this paradigm requires a strong internal team with lots of access to innovation.
It takes a village to build a brand. By asking left-brainers and right-brainers to work 
as a team, you bridge the gap between logic and magic. With collaboration, one plus 
one equals eleven.

*Source: Marty Neumeier, The Brand Gap (Berkeley: New Riders Publishing, 2003).

No comments :

Post a Comment