Honesty in Branding

In the welter of information and descriptions of branding one definition feels particularly close to our heart – the one presenting branding as a process of imparting meaning, which helps a brand build relationships. These relationships are most important to us in the process of building a strong brand, at every level of our work.

Brands have a hard-knock, busy life these days. They constantly have to:

  • present themselves
  • prompt contact
  • engage

However, the network that needs to be created in order to achieve this goal is getting ever more complicated and ambiguous. To establish order, the message must be simple, coherent and clear, which qualities need to be treated as pillars in brand identity building. Arguably, a communication based on such principles facilitates getting through the immensity of information we are being bombarded with every single day. But a strong and simple message is not enough to guarantee engagement and brand attachment.

Is there anyone who hasn’t bought a product which disappointed, used a service that proved over-hyped or voted for a politician who had promised far too much to remember it all? Creating their image, brands can’t afford such slip-ups and negligence. That’s why we always give our clients this piece of advice: be honest, because it is the only way to succeed and remain credible.

Engagement is a reward for honesty

Brands which communicate in a natural way with their target audience are understood better – and it is the clear language that gets the customers hooked on the story we want to tell them. Branding is all about creating relationships – and the best results are achieved by building them on an honest foundation. Here are some examples:

Adventure

Adventure is a private primary school, where education is construed as a journey, an expedition in the search for knowledge. For the school’s founders and teachers, learning is an adventure and they do their best to make it just that for the students. All activities – both compulsory and extracurricular – are instructed in an original, unconventional way so that they attract students’ interest, prompt them to ask questions and seek solutions on their own. When we started collaboration with Adventure, we felt their authentic enthusiasm for working with children and the students’ energy proved infectious during our visit there. We sensed the kids’ potential and decided to tap into it. We reached a conclusion that if students are at the centre of the Adventure school, which promotes an active attitude among its pupils, then their active participation in the process of image-building seems obvious.

Children received from us carefully prepared cut-outs and were asked to arrange them into images which they associate with learning, school and adventure. The collages created in this exercise became the axis for the school’s visual identity. The solutions worked out in the common effort were spot-on and quickly earned the approval of both teachers and parents. And the children, who actively participated in the process, strongly bonded with the new visual image of their school.

The ultimate proof validating the direction we chose was the fact that children, along with their chaperones, dropped by our office on more than one occasion. Several weeks after the project’s completion, they popped in to say ‘thank you’ and show their appreciation of our work, which was a very special reward to us. Such good reception would not be possible if not for the honest and open collaboration model, which drew on the school’s philosophy and thus naturally emphasised its character.

We Care

Another example based on honesty is our last project. We were asked by a large company operating on the medical market to create an umbrella brand which would integrate all activities connected with education, prevention and diagnosis of diabetes. The problem is grave as, with 550 million diabetics worldwide forecast for 2030, diabetes will be the 7th cause of death. The spectrum of people who are affected or are at risk of the disease is very broad. The greatest challenge was creating a spacious message medium, which would be able to reach people very different from one another.

We were sure that we didn’t want to suggest a project resembling same-old, traditional, „medical” solutions, as those tend to deter rather than encourage people to familiarise themselves with the content. The key assumption was creating a flexible tool, which would naturally adapt to the communication it carries and the target audience it is to reach. And that’s how ”We Care” was developed.

The main task of the brand is to inform that understanding the essence of diabetes and awareness of the risks carried by the disease can prevent or at least control it so that it doesn’t pose any threat. It will allow the affected to enjoy their lives, fulfill their dreams and passions, relish every day, every moment.

 

„Honesty is a very expensive gift. Don’t expect it from cheap people.”

 

These two projects along with our previous experience confirm that the best results are produced when we work with our clients instead of working for them. Substantial engagement in the process on the part of the partners is an investment in mutual trust. Honesty in shaping the relationship is of exceptional value as it influences every project by enriching it with a very important, intangible value. Warren Buffet once said: „Honesty is a very expensive gift. Don’t expect it from cheap people.” The same can be said about brands. That is why it is so important to us to build an image on the basis of an honest, specific message.

Now try to achieve that! Though it seems simple and natural, it poses much trouble and requires quite some time… But when at the end of this bumpy road you sigh: „Why didn’t we think of this earlier?” – it means that we have achieved our goal and that is how we succeed.

 

Marek Guziński