Branding is Essential: Part 1

There is much misconception of what the term “Branding” means. It has been widely overused, diluted and distorted for decades, almost to the point where it no longer represents its original intention.

Some people conflate branding with logos. Some look at it as an ego exercise. Others see it as just another “todo” in their efforts to create or revitalize their organization. Some people even believe that branding is a waste of time and money.

Yet, it is clearly visible that the most successful enterprises in the world created their branding as a cornerstone of their business. When done well… your brand becomes a tangible asset.

Branding is storytelling.

In today’s world… whether it is driving through a city, walking past a sign, or scrolling down through your social media feed, your audience gives you only a few precious seconds of their attention. Within that moment, we have an opportunity. We must successfully get their attention, convey our story, and build a rapport with that audience.

What is your story? Why does your story matter to your audience? How do you tell your story to them?
Effective branding begins with the discovery phase. We are not creating a story, we are discovering YOUR story.

Every place has a story. Every story has a place.

It is only through the diligence of uncovering your real story can your brand or rebrand be created. More and more each day, audiences are attracted to authenticity. They respond to the congruence of your brand, values, and delivery of what you promised them. The more of those elements diverge, the less effective your marketing. Your brand is the very first thing that is seen. It forms an image of your identity and your relevance to your audience.

Whether you are a decades-old brand needing to refresh for a new audience, or an upstart looking to differentiate yourself from the pack, the mission is the same: Discover YOUR story, Develop YOUR core messaging and then express this through multiple channels in places where your audience assembles.

“One of the added benefits of conducting a thorough discovery process; when you are inclusive of all stakeholders, including your team, organization, customers, and potential customers, you are giving them a voice in the process. When you arrive upon your honed brand, your story, it serves as a rallying point. The story includes the people involved in it, and they rally around and support it. It’s more than merely “buying” into it, they become avid supporters. The process of inclusive surveys and research serve to unify teams, organizations, and communities.” — Cliff Selbert, Co-Founding Partner, Selbert Perkins Design

Almost anyone today can use an app to produce an image and call it a logo. One can paste those images into a website. Yet the intention of these elements is not to produce pretty websites or decorative bobbles. The purpose of your brand is in getting a prospect’s attention, tell your story of who you are and how you are relevant to their life, and getting them to take action.

Your brand, your identity, your core message, are assets into which you invest time, money, and resources. Maximizing your ROI on these investments is your primary focus.

At Selbert Perkins Design, we are storytellers. We begin each project, whether it is a full corporate or city branding endeavor, or a wayfinding and signage project, looking at the bigger picture and how all of the elements come together to tell your story in order to drive your economic success.

Stay tuned for Branding is Essential: Part 2, where you will learn how we apply Branding in various project types.

“Kansas City truly lives at Two Light,” said Marnie Sauls, Executive Director of Residential Management for The Cordish Companies. “Everywhere you look, whether in original pieces by local artists or collaborations with our design partners, a piece of Kansas City history is celebrated.”

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