Like the fabled little-girl-with-the-little-curl-right-in-the-middle-of-her-forehead, when branding is good, it’s very, very good. And when it’s bad, it’s horrid.
And here’s the thing: There’s a great deal of skill, finesse, and psychological fill-in-the-blank-ing that goes into the very best branding. But creating good, solid branding is not all that difficult; it just requires a level of commitment that many of us lack.
What are you selling? You are selling a microcosm.
You’re selling small parcels of an entire, perfectly-formed, miniature world. A world with its own logic, order and beauty. This world does not exist, could not possibly exist, as a whole, on this planet. But the parcels you sell make their buyers feel as though they carry bits of this world around with them. They serve as covert membership cards, touchstones, rosaries, IDs.
Your branding needs to be utterly earnest, regardless of tone, about the world it’s selling. Earnest about its cheekiness, its usefulness, its temporary nature, its atemporal nature, its status, its cuteness, its superiority.
Believe. And then make me believe.
Consider the circus. When I visit the circus, I know that, very probably, the Bearded Lady is not truly bearded; the Alligator Girl is probably rocking a whole lot of dried Elmer’s Glue; the Wolf Boy is not some sort of lupine missing link. (And the clowns, obviously, are neither jolly nor intent on making you laugh; they are, in fact, waiting for you to turn your back so that they can sneak up on you–a fact best left for another post.)
But this is the circus, and I came to believe.
So let your production value be over the [big] top. [Sorry.]
Show off for us.
Or don’t: Let the stark, non-showy nature of your branding speak to us in reverent tones about your practical, tactical, no-nonsense world.
Because my money can go in any direction my browser can pull up.
Make yours the greatest show on earth.