what is normal,
The Expected? The Mundane?
The Status Quo? Average? Predictable?
No matter how you choose to describe it, the definition…invariably… varies. Whatever your view of normalcy, two things are certain:
It has its place; it gives ‘reasonable’ people and society a standard to conform to.
When your business needs breakthrough, high-level advertising and marketing ideas to propel it to the next level, or separate it from its pack of competitors, ‘normal’ is the LAST thing you need.
In fact, it’s precisely when you need US.
We’re in the business of differentiation. So, to do it well, we generally strive to be anything BUT normal. Creating game-changing, business-building ideas is our sweet spot. It’s what we do, and where we thrive. In fact, a great creative product (a great idea) is STILL the single best way to gain an ‘unfair advantage’ over even your largest competitors, and move your business forward. It can level the playing field (or a competitor) for scrappy, new brands who have the will to disrupt ‘business as usual’ and create the kind of stir that simply can’t be ignored.
why the change?
Fair question. The short answer is, we’ve evolved. The more complete answer has a lot to do with adapting to better serve today’s clients and their challenges. Today’s consumer has evolved and we must also evolve how we influence them. We live in an ‘innovate or die’ world. One with emerging media that demands we continually speak louder and more memorably than ever before.
But it‘s still about making impressions… the lasting, more quantifiable kind that grow market share for our clients.
“To understand this, we must first understand branding…perhaps one of the most misunderstood and incorrectly defined terms in the lexicon of marketing. A proper understanding of what it IS, ironically, needs to begin with what it is NOT.
For starters, branding is NOT simply the use of your logo. While the word branding has its origins in the application of a distinctly shaped, red-hot piece of iron applied to the buttocks of livestock to indicate ownership, its definition there is as short sighted as being too busy driving to stop for gas.
In fact, the concept of what defines a ‘brand’ relative to its many ingredients, might be best illustrated by looking at our portfolio.
As you can see from our portfolio, over the past 35+ years we’ve become much more than simply an ‘Ad Agency’ or a ‘Marketing Firm’. We’ve evolved into a creatively driven, strategic ‘boutique’ that helps businesses and brands ascend, and distance themselves from the pack. The architecture of how this gets done is as vast and varied as the nuances of a client’s specific problem—and it’s tailored TO them. No two clients’ situations are ever the same, so no two solutions can be either.
In recent years, we’ve seen single-service providers (online logo designers, video producers, etc.) we affectionately refer to as ‘hacks’, push exceptionally low-cost options that seem to treat these branding tools as commodities. They are not. Now, more than ever these tools need to be carefully coordinated and orchestrated within a fast-paced, ever-changing playing field.
That takes a balanced combination of boutique-level services, made-to-order, and game-changing approaches to challenges our clients have today, while planning for future course corrections they don’t even know about yet. Everything is changing…and so must we.
Calling ourselves ‘A Brand Architecture Boutique’, signals that we are carving out a niche to provide clients the best solutions and service out there. Basically, we’re continuing to ‘practice what we preach’. Imagine that.
so ask yourself…
Is your brand really a brand…or just a name?
Brands all have a variety of attributes—intended and otherwise. They have distinct personalities and structures…ideally as a result of careful planning and nurturing. Some brands also ‘weather the storm’ of market ups and downs better than others. How? Well, similar to a well built home or other physical structure, it has a lot to do with the ‘architecture’ of their design.
The strongest, most durable brands all have certain things in common. They are, generally, based on a simple, timeless promise…an ideal or core values that never goes ‘out of style.’
One of the best examples of this is shoe giant Nike. Did the brand reach its mythical stature by focusing on its shoe designs, features, or physical characteristics? Not by a long shot. It did so after realizing that the brand was best served not by focusing on what it was MADE OF, but what it STOOD FOR. Nike’s brand is about celebrating great athletes, athleticism, and achievements born of single-minded determination—standing the test of time like few ever have. Why? Because Nike aligned itself with a simple, core value and enduring sentiment embodied in the simple expression ‘Just Do It.’ Simple, elegant, and powerful.
Simple, timeless, and centered around strong, universal values. The best brands share a common architecture.
why? it’s simple
Because as soon as you stop asking questions, you stop finding answers…an unforgivable sin in our business.
So, we continually inquire…What if we do this that? What if we combine this message that visual? What if we offer this incentive that bold, new warranty? The list is endless, depending on the scenario. The power of asking the right ‘ question’ is where a brand’s key differences and opportunities ‘live’…always. It’s the difference between asking just another question and asking a BETTER question. It’s the difference between standing still standing OUT. And, it CAN be the difference between simply surviving an economic crisis and THRIVING during it.
It also has to do with examining your business with a 360-degree lens. Does the message your brand portrays stop as soon as the ad schedule does? Is getting customers through your door an end result, or is it the BEGINNING of a journey? What things directly affect someone’s likelihood of being a repeat customer, and are we HIGHLIGHTING them?