2 minutes

Branding is Never Done

One day while thinking about the disconnect between theory and practice, we realized that branding agencies and service providers tend to fall into the trap of linear thinking. We build for our clients thinking “a + b = c,” and then we’re done, right? 

Thankfully, this line of thought (pun intended) is starting to change, and people are much hipper to the concept that the process of making anything, especially great things, is not a straight line. But most are still thinking, to use a word that would make our teachers proud, teleologically, i.e., that there is a beginning and a definite end towards which all things must march. 

The realization we had is that, as Jesse Eisenberg’s Mark Zuckerberg once put it, branding is like fashion in that it doesn’t have an end; it just keeps evolving. 

So, we did as anyone would. We drew a triangle.

Our triangle connects the three big categories of work that we think should (and do) exist in an infinite dialogue with one another; categories that give shape to a brand. 

These disciplines or categories are:

  • Strategy
  • Identity
  • Experience 

We develop a strategy that informs the creation of an identity that defines and gives shape to an experience. Experiences give rise to lessons or insights or observations, which reinforce or eat away at strategy, which must always inform and underpin identity, giving rise to new experiences. As Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri said, “And on it goes, this thing of ours.” This means our work is never done and our eyes should be open to “being wrong” or changing tack or improving. 

No matter what anyone tells you, a brand is not just a logo, a social media post, or packaging. A brand is as dynamic and malleable as the customers that embrace it and the organization that offers it. All of this means it’s okay to think outside your lane and take cues from other practices and disciplines. A brand is like a garden; it needs to be tended in context with its environment.

Author: Ben Greenberg is a founding partner of BS LLC, who helps turn insights into deliverables. Ben is a student and practitioner of human-centered design. He is a member of the board of directors at the Mercantile Library, Breakthrough Cincinnati, and MORTAR.