Branding in the Fourth
I get about half of my business through
the web, which is just fine by me. Nothing enables my agoraphobia quite
like moneymaking opportunities plopping themselves down on my desktop
A number of inquiries are notes about
someone's business, how it's beginning to grow and how they agree that
establishing their brand is absolutely critical to long term, sustainable
And then comes the Question of Doom:
"So, um, how much does a logo cost?"
Yeesh. This is where I begin to feel like
Klaatu, the alien robot from another dimension, who freaks out the entire
planet in The Day The Earth Stood Still. For those of you who missed the
movie, Klaatu pretty much blows our minds by doing weird things like making
gasoline out of strawberries, or something like that. In any case, it's
Klaatu's fourth-dimensional perspective on things that eventually inspire
Earth's citizens' awe and admiration.
Then, of course, the air force tries to
blow him up.
Nevertheless, I often have to take up
Klaatu's mantle in order to explain that real, honest-to-goodness brands
- brands with big muscles and plenty of hair on their backs - don't restrict
themselves to one-dimensional stuff like logos and letterhead. They're
intelligent life forms from the Fourth Dimension that can transform your
business at warp speed.
Branding in the First Dimension tells
people who you are. Its most basic species can be spotted as a full color
corporate symbol napping gently in the middle of your business card. Perhaps
a beautiful photo-rendering of Zippy the Gearhead proudly proclaiming,
"Spacely Sprockets." That's fine. But just as with your favorite
supermodel, looks alone will only take you so far. They may identify who
you are, but not much else.
Branding in the Second Dimension tells
people what you do. Sure, we know from Zippy's posture that your company
is called Spacely Sprockets, but what about the other stuff you make?
The Anti-Matter gasket seals? The Dilithium Crystal-based lubricants?
A real brand communicates all aspects of your business, so that when faithful
gasket-seal buyers venture into the lubricant market, they seek out your
Branding's Third Dimension communicates
how you do what you do. The best down-to-earth example I can think of
this late at night is an oil change. You know what you get when you take
your Hyundai in for an oil change? New oil. You know what you get when
you take your Mercedes in for an oil change? New oil and a beautifully
washed car. True, you pay more, but you leave with more: the distinct
impression that Mercedes takes real pride in the work they do. Which reassures
Mercedes owners that their car purchase was a good one - and that their
next one is a no-brainer.
Finally, we get to the Fourth Dimension,
my personal favorite, where the gravitational pull of market forces stretch
and shape your brand, producing a relevance your prospects find intriguing.
It can be a quality claim. A product attribute. But whatever you choose,
it has to be memorable, compelling and powerful enough to grab your prospects
by the lapels, lift them off the floor and tell them they'd be complete
dolts for choosing anyone other than you for whatever it is you're selling.
And if it's really killer, it can make
us like you while you're doing it.
Federal Express did that by showing us
that they knew the tortures we endure when our packages don't arrive on
time. And they spoke to us in a way nobody else did.
I can hear many of you asking, "Gee,
Rob, is there a Fifth Dimension?" The answer is yes, but they never
had a hit after Sweet Blindness and Up, Up and Away.