As brands seek to stay in touch with consumers, some are saying the future of brands depends on them looking less manufactured. That feels like an overstatement.
How do we recognise a brand? What do consumers see, and how different is that from the ways brands are structured?
Pitch a new brand identity system to almost any large company with multiple divisions and inevitably someone will plead to be an exception to the new rules. This is particularly true where brands or divisions have had their own identity in the past. Attempts to consolidate a myriad of “brands” into a consistent brand identity system or to replace a whole portfolio of marques with a single power brand will be met with varying volumes of indignation.
No sector in its right mind should define itself by what it’s not. So why do non-government organisations (NGOs) and not-for-profits (NFPs) do exactly that: define themselves so proudly by what doesn’t get done rather than what they do? No is not a brand. Car manufacturers aren’t in the non-bike business. Food manufacturers aren’t in the non-hunger business. Phone companies are not in the anti-isolation business. So, excuse the pun, but what gives? Both the NGO and NFP labels, it strikes me, are useless ways of positioning those intend on delivering on a strong altruistic intention. First of all because the terms themselves carry no meaning. (Not being part of government doesn’t actually make anyone part of anything.) Secondly, because to be perfectly frank, every organisation is interested in making money – it’s just what they do with it that differs. And thirdly, and most importantly, because the NFP/NGO label doesn’t talk about the one thing that really motivates those who are being asked to support and donate: the difference that their support actually makes. …