I’ve been recently reading this superb book on branding by the superb brand guru Wally Olins. He has had several years of experience in corporate identity design and branding of big organisations. He has provided consultancy to many organisations like – Renault, BT, Volkswagen, Tata and Lloyds. This bright yellow book has been turning heads while I was reading it on the train. Which shows how powerful branding can be. The cover itself has bright bold typography displaying the title of the book in black. It runs from Back cover to Front cover – another lesson in brand management – don’t show everything, build curiosity.
“The traditional communications partner for the large company was its advertising agency. Gradually, however, as the area of communications has become more complex, specialist agencies of various kinds have emerged, including branding consultants. Branding, or as they were formerly called, design consultancies, are rapidly growing in influence within the communications business. In many countries, as branding becomes more sophisticated, companies are increasingly turning to these specialist branding consultancies for aid.” (page 70)
Author explains very clearly why branding has become important in today’s context. It is a more effective, more powerful, more comprehensive communications strategy. The success of brands (organisations) depend on how their audience (customers) see them. If there are two alternatives to same product/service and both are equally efficient and there’s hardly any scope for improvement in their quality, then, given that they are identical to each other, the customer will make choices based on his/her emotions.
The author also points out that not all brand consultancies are good at what they do. Often, smaller ones are better.
“Most branding consultancies are small and independent. Even the bigger ones have between twenty and forty people and just one or two offices. More often an individual designer sets up a business, makes a partnership with some other professionals on a freelance basis, and off they go.
In the past few years, however, there has been a further development. There are now a few consultancies, all part of major global communication groups, which have ten or more offices and upto eight hundred staff. Most of these consultancies claim to be multi-disciplinary. Although these big consultancies are very experienced and therefore ‘safe’, their work is often bland and unimaginative; they hide behind process to which they give complex jargon-ridden names, in an attempt to make it all a bit of a mystery.” (page 70)