The other day I was sitting in a McDonald’s drive-thru when I noticed a sign on the wall inside that said, “The dictionary is the only place where SUCCESS comes before WORK.” Believe it or not, the same cheap slogan used to motivate McDonald’s employees could be applied to your company’s branding efforts.
The work doesn’t stop once you’ve developed a logo and slapped it on your stationery. If that’s enough to drive your company to success, then you don’t need to worry about branding in the first place. The whole point of creating a brand is to lead consumers to trust and think positively about your company or product.
Marty Neumeier, author of The Brand Gap, puts it like this: “A brand is not what YOU say it is. It’s what THEY say it is.” Your logo can be your key visual building block, but what really matters are the emotions your audience attaches to it. Developing a strong brand that taps into those emotions takes work.
So how can you make your work pay off? That’s not an easy question, and the answer varies from one product to the next.
The best recipe comes from a healthy blend of strategy and creativity. You can do all the research and put together a perfect strategy that can be spelled out in a single sentence, but if there’s nothing that differentiates the creative from what your competitors are doing, no one will even take notice.
Likewise, a product could have award-winning, eye-catching creative, but if there is misguided strategy or no strategy at all, it will eventually fall short of long-term success. One of the biggest challenges, and most important decisions, has to do with putting the right marketing and creative people to work for you. This configuration can vary dramatically from one company or product to the next. But the bottom line: when the right team is in place, and strategy and creativity come together properly, your brand will get noticed, be remembered and begin to add tremendous value to you company.
So get to work! And make sure your efforts are directed to the right people and places. I mean, if it can lead McDonald’s employees to success, shouldn’t it work for you?