Grow Your Brand: Part 2 – The Do’s and Don’ts of Branding

Your brand is what people say about you after you leave the room

– Jeff Bezos / Amazon

Several weeks ago, we started to take a look at branding. Branding is the Big Thing right now. It’s more than a Buzzword. It’s the narrative — the story — behind your Mission Statement. Well, not behind the Mission Statement, but the out front this-is-who-we-are-and-this-is-what-we-do-hello-how-are-you greeting? When you do it right, it’s better than speed dating.

We know that some beer tastes great and is less filling. We know some cars make us feel free and powerful and sexy. We know Flo will sell us insurance and make it fun in the process. We know the difference between Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, and we know we can go to Las Vegas to have a good time and no one will tattle on our activities there. And is there any example more perfect or timeless than The Breakfast of Champions? It’s not just a tagline, is it?

But we also know that sometimes you come up with a FAIL. Look again at some of those Super Bowl commercials. Some of them are wonderful and entertaining. Clydesdale horses make me feel all warm and romantic, and I know exactly which beer they want me to drink. But then there are the other commercials. The ones that leave you scratching your head about what the heck they were selling. Branding fail. Quick, what was puppy monkey baby selling? Did it move you? Did it make you thirsty?

Be true to yourself

We understand that branding is about telling the story of your company or product in a consistent, relatable and simple manner. As a video production company, we also know that video is a great medium to tell your story and communicate the emotions that help define your product or story. But remember — good branding is not just “make a video.”

“People think branding is the visuals,” Jeston said. “But it’s not. Branding is the story of the company and even the story of the brand. You need to ask yourself ‘Where are we coming from?’ And ‘What does our product or service mean to our customers?’” 

So, when you look to the dos and don’ts of branding, the first Do on the list is to Be True To Yourself. “In fact, be the truest form of yourself possible,” Jeston said. “That’s where brand comes from — YOU — and the people in your organization.”

You have to live it, breathe it, deliver it.

– John Remsen, Jr. on the subject of branding.

Do these things

This list is a great place to start when you start examining the marks you need to hit when you are creating your unique brand and story.

  • Know Your Company
  • Know Your Customers
  • Know what you stand for
  • Tell people why you are unique; skip the buzzwords of the day
  • Tell people why you are the solution for something
  • Be relatable through shared values of your customers
  • Tell a story; evoke an emotion
  • Use great visuals to illustrate those emotions
  • Consider bringing in a professional
  • Keep it simple
  • Eat, sleep and breathe it
  • Branding guide; fonts, colors, content, style, tone, whatever; develop a voice
  • Let customers tell your story

Take a look at these two videos. The first one hits all those marks. You are completely sold on the idea of owning and using a Samsung Galaxy. 

The second video is a fascinating look at how you brand something that seems incredibly challenging to brand. How does the industry brand perfume? Watch and learn.

Don’t get branding confused with marketing. Branding is a tool to connect with your ideal audience. It is not a promotion, it is a core building block to your company.

– Jeston Cole Lewis / Argos Productions

Don’t do these things

Watch out. There are plenty of missteps just waiting in your path. If you follow the list of Do This advice, you should be OK. But remember the potholes and temptations:

  • Your story has to be something other than Buy Me
  • Don’t fake it, or you won’t make it
  • Don’t make claims you can’t prove or substantiate
  • Don’t make it about you; make it about your customers
  • Don’t get caught up in what your competition is doing; check out what they’re doing, but then make sure you’re telling YOUR story 
  • Don’t change your brand or story on a whim
  • Don’t ignore trends; BUT only incorporate ideas relevant to your brand and story
  • Don’t skimp on design costs
  • Don’t become overly cheesy or predictable

Just to make sure this part sticks, take a look at this branding disaster. You may have heard about the Cooler and Warmer Rhode Island Marketing Debacle. You don’t want this to happen to you.

See Jane Brand Strategy

That’s just what you’ll be able to see and learn about in an upcoming video series with branding expert Jane Naillon. At age 19, Jane moved from Boise to New York City, the branding capital of the world. After 20 years there, she came home a decade ago to use her experience right here in the Treasure Valley, with clients that included the Trey McIntyre Project, JUMP, Idaho Public Television, the Grove Hotel and many, many more. Her company is, and she is also an adjunct professor at Boise State University where she teaches Brand and Marketing in the Arts.

Watch for this fascinating interview series! We’ll learn what is branding and what isn’t branding from someone who lives it. Here’s a clip:

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