Which comes first? It’s not a trick question. And I won’t go all “sort of” on you. The answer is product design. A good brand planner will take the product design, understand it and package it. A great brand planner, while packaging the product will “inform” it — change, evolve, aspire it and help create its future.
Brand planners know when you see a friend’s baby for the first time there’s a difference between “What a beautiful baby” and “Ooh, what an amazing rosebud mouth.” It’s the different between talking an observing. Most marketing today is talk. When you talk to a product designer and really see what they have created, you connect. Just like when you really see someone’s baby.
In today’s commodities world (see yesterday’s post on banks and healthcare), it is imperative for planners to find the difference. It may only be a DNA-like strand, but it’s there. And once found that difference can give form to the brand idea. Not a tagline, not a campaign, but a brand idea: The world’s information in one click. Refreshment. Different. The people who tell you brand design comes first are probably art directors. Or peddlers of marko-babble. Peace be with you and with Lara Logan and her family.