You've Got the Brands. I've Got the Hooks.
Updated: Jun 12, 2018
As a "branding professional," I necessarily spend a significant amount of time and mental energy thinking about branding—what it is, what it's not, where it begins, and where it ends (or if it even does). While there is no universally accepted and all-encompassing definition for a "brand," there are some things on which most professionals agree. As I've mentioned in previous posts, a "brand" is not a logo, or tagline, or color palette. A brand is the sum total of all the mental associations people make and the feelings they have when they think about or interact with your product or business.
So when branding professionals say that they will "do your branding," they're admittedly misrepresenting their work a bit. You see, your brand exists even if branding professionals never get involved. Even if you don't yet have a logo or a website or a fancy brochure. And even if you never get those things. Essentially, if you've got a product or service and people have begun interacting with it in any way, like it or not and for better or worse, you've got yourself a brand.
I often tell my clients that I can't fool customers into thinking that a bad product or service is actually a good one (well, technically I could probably fool them into making a first-time purchase, but then they'd go nuts railing against you on social media and you'd lose tons of business anyway—not to mention the fact that I'm philosophically opposed to lying in my work, but that's a topic for another day....). What I can do, is help you determine what aspects of your current products or services resonate most powerfully with your core customer base, and then translate those insights into messaging, materials, sales scripts, visuals, etc. that effectively communicate what your most compelling attributes are—re-enforcing enthusiasm among your existing customers, while bringing new ones into the fold.
So, in short, I don't do branding. As the 1980s music duo The Pet Shop Boys would have said had they been in the branding business rather than the synthpop scene, "You've got the brands. I've got the hooks. Let's make lots of money, sell more of your products, increase donations to your nonprofit, attract more students to your institution..."