One of the more interesting phenomenon I have seen with the advent of the Internet, particularly since social media has taken off is the idea of branding of self. There is the true self, your image, and then the reality of what others think of you through a limited set of filters. One of the more interesting cues to this behavior was when Martha Stewart went to prison. Researchers found that the Martha Stewart Brand was larger than life for the actual person Martha Stewart. Another example is the Livestrong Brand.
While I know the yellow wristbands were a merchandisers wet dream and several corporations marketing machines made a great deal of money with the noble idea of promoting cancer awareness, it was all one carefully constructed faux pas, that made a lot of people, a lot of money. Maybe that is why when I saw people wearing the bands, I wanted to gag – not because of the cause, but the marketing machine pushing the cause…as a merchandiser, the idea was a license to print money, but I wondered just how much of the money was going into actual research?
One of the beauties of a skunkworks environment for creation is that meetings are minimal, you interact with one high level person that has a great deal of power to guide the idea, and you take the 80% of the time it seems people spend talking about whatever to everyone and promoting their brand – and you use it to work on solutions to the problem.
It is the opposite time use of when you are out selling something. You spend most all your time building relationships to find solutions for people problems with your product or service. As the piles of money on the table for the highest level of politics, sports, entertainment, business, and the military - the idea of service of self seems to creep in with our ever increasing instant gratification mentality.
The other factor I was thinking about with my niece and her job. She is a young college graduate and in her career it will seem normal to have many jobs. The days of the loyalty to working one career inside one company inside the United States seems slim – unless you are working for the government in some capacity.
While not a graphic designer, i have had to do enough of it with bringing ideas to life, so I am smacking away at my brother in laws logo. It isn’t that his original idea wasn’t good, but when you see the entire brand package coming together and it is noticeable that the logo is not the best fit for his brand, well, I guess that is why people will work with me, as I am dumb enough to just keep working till the right solution presents itself.
How does it work? There is no big secret; it is like when I worked in toys. I loved the idea of creating cartoon characters. You would just keep drawing ideas until finally one of them seemed to speak to you, “I am the one you want to go with…just keep drawing me.”
That is how it seems to work in the past day. When all is done, I will be happy with a custom tailored solution with a unique brand to go into the market. I guess, as I get older, I go for the clean, simple, and direct approach.
I think I left illusion and manipulation back in the road cases with entertainment.
I remember attending burningman when it was much smaller to test equipment. They had a “No corporate sponsor” vibe that I really thought was amazing. The “No label” brand.
Is there such a thing as the, “No more mindless bullshit brand?”
Or, did I just invent it, as I rambled away? Now I will go back into brainstorm for a bit and see if I can finalize some ideas that really work.
Enjoy a nice café for me. I have to go the store and get some beans. I get too engrossed in solutions and loose track of time, ran out of coffee beans. Yes, i realize my error. “No coffee? Wtf?”
I guess the irony of this post about branding is a present I did for a friend. They sincerely asked, “Can you make a Coca-Cola door for me?”
Perhaps that is the benefit of having to work across so many disciplines, you can safely say, “Sure!” And know it will come out just fine, then remembering all your paint and spray materials are on another continent. ahh, the old old school workarounds of tape, razor blades & time.