Your branding solution is more than just a new logo, a clever tagline or a set of pretty ads.

It is a comprehensive and integrated set of strategies and tactics that work together to determine that relationship you will have with your customers and constituents.  In today’s hyper-saturated media, retail and industrial environments, meaningful differentiation, relevance and loyalty are becoming more difficult to come by.  And, even more difficult to sustain.  Clients that engage with candescence get what they need to improve their brand in the marketplace and grow their business or not-for-profit organization.

The Ten Branding Principles We Live By

We start with the fundamentals. A value proposition is the foundation for the brand. It is the key to business or organizational viability. We create value propositions by generating a large number of possibilities and then evaluating them based on three strategic criteria: a) validity—is the statement true and accurate description of the business, product, service or organization? b) motivation—does the statement have potential to cause a behavioral response, not just a “feel good” or “oh that’s nice?” and c) differentiation—can the statement separate the brand from the competition or set of alternatives available to the consumer?
A value proposition by itself isn’t a brand. Brands happen over time by virtue of a well-managed branding campaign. Brand campaigns share several characteristics but in particular, they are a) consistent across media contact points. The website, print advertising and direct mail all look and feel like they are part of a “brand family.” And, they have continuity over time. Effective brands do not change horses in mid-stream with too-frequent changes to the strategy or creative device. This requires discipline but also the proper discovery of an idea and set of strategies worthy of investment over time.
An effective brand operates between business planning and the marketing mix elements. It is an asset that grows in importance. In a brand-led business or organization, a significant goal of business planning is the optimization and amortization of the brand and related brand assets. A well-utilized brand tends to strongly suggest how the brand should be deployed through media channels and other “marketing mix” decision areas.
Growing organizations are often faced with too many choices. Media sponsorships, new products, partnerships, sales promotion ideas. In many organizations, the issue isn’t a lack of ideas and opportunities but the presence of too many choices. The often dizzying set of options can resemble drinking from a fire hose. The good news is, a strong, well-defined brand, can help filter the choices. Some tactics will align better. What is often helpful is the creation of a resume for the brand (as if it were a person looking for employment).
We live in a surplus economy. Sometimes an innovation or new product is highly differentiated. But too often, these opportunities are short-lived since good ideas attract competition. Most marketplaces are competitive if not totally commoditized. In this environment, it is the brand that creates relevancy, customer intimacy and loyalty more than the product or service itself. Brands are a means to creating relationships, not just transactions.
Creating something durable, memorable and proprietary takes a little effort. Brand discovery, activation and management is a process. That said, there are more and less efficient ways to work that process. Candescence is a specialty firm that works that process–over and over and over. We don’t over invest in the time and cost associated with quantitative research and we don’t rush into tactical thinking. The “5-I” (inform/insight/intent/ideation/implementation) process is comprehensive, efficient, inclusive and always leads to actionable strategies.
Quite simply, a brand is bigger than any single product, service, organization or even portfolio of products or businesses. Essentially, brands are enduring ideas that can provide an umbrella or platform (pick your metaphor) for business success. Brands increase sales velocity, market share and profit margins. It is the brand that multiples business value, not the product.
If you are ONLY shopping for a new tagline or a logo or even a new website, you are probably in the wrong shop. We are a firm that begins with strategy. First we discover, then we develop strategy, then we implement. Logos, taglines and advertising campaigns are tactics we will create in the implementation phase. That said, we’ll be ready for all of that in typically about six to eight weeks. The difference is, we will recommend strategically sound, proprietary and durable tactics that will drive your business or organization ahead.
Contemporary branding relies less on mass communications and more on social, viral and experiential expression. We live in a post-modern environment. Gone are the days when consumers accept declarative statements from the spokesman in the :30 commercial or the two housewives in the kitchen. Give the consumer the means to brand you! They—not you—own their perceptions of the brand.
Simple in theory but a bit more difficult in practice. Most industries are crowded with too many competitors pursuing too few strategies. The clutter of messages becomes overwhelming, suspicious or just irrelevant. Meaningful differentiation–if it exists at all–is often based on superficial or specious tactics. Creating something which is both meaningful and different depends on market understanding that is more profound than the competition. This is the basis of our “3-C” process which systematically explores the corporate/consumer/competitive domains for insight that leads to a more robust strategy.

Ready to learn more? Check out Our Planning Process

View Our Process