Clarity first

I was asked to conduct a session in ‘branding’ for the team members at Design Horse. Clearly, it would have been easy to whip out a deck. It wouldn’t be much to present some concepts with fancy brands, some wordplay and of course, my own experience, would it?

But I sat down to think if that is what it is. As someone who calls himself a ‘brand practitioner’ with an aim to break the silos between strategy and design, between business and brand, am I using this opportunity to really do that? And then, I asked myself ‘who are we?’ as an industry.  

Our branding world is full of Big things. We could start with The Big B. And no, before you call out Bachchan sahab – no, it isn’t about him.

The B in Big B, of course, could stand for brand. It could also stand for business. Some others will say branding is also about The Big D. And no, it isn’t Big Daddy. The D stands, as you may have already guessed, for Design. And then it could be about The Big M too. And no, no, it isn’t Big Mamma. The M stands for Marketing.  

So many words, and therefore so many possibilities of bigger things. Business Design, Design Business, Brand Design, Design Brand, Brand Marketing, Business Marketing, Marketing Design – phew, I’m sure we’ve heard terms like this thrown around carelessly in our careers. So, we are an industry with companies offering all this? Is it?

If that confusion wasn’t enough, we have The Big S make an entry. And this time, I am directly telling you the S is for strategy. And so, you have more combinations come up - Brand Strategy, Design Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Strategy Design and maybe more.

What exactly are we offering? In name of evolution and sometimes to sound pure smart, these terminologies are used without thought. And I realized that it is not just about who are we. We possibly need to have clarity on even using the terms. The clarity is important so that we can talk in one voice and not use words frivolously or interchangeably.

With this, if I simply say, ‘brands need to work for businesses’, then it is imperative to define business in our parlance properly. One way is to say it is about CCD. CCD what? Creating, communicating and delivering value.

With that we have creating value as product management, communicating value as brand management and delivering value as customer management. Of course, we can now at least see in which direction we operate.

And in jest, did you notice we have two more words – value and management. So should we create more terms? Haha! No. We will leave it there.

My reason to take this road is again to emphasize on clarity of words we use – verbally or even in our presentations. This is in contextual term, not necessarily in a literal term. Clearly, you have the liberty to define your concept in a context that is understood by both you and your client for best results.

To sum up, jargons may not be necessary. But words or concepts in general business contexts and within organizations such that all team members understand, and also lucidly convey it to clients is a good way in brand thinking. Clarity is the first step.