Every month SmallBox hosts clients and friends for a lunch and learn session in which one or more ‘Boxers discusses an industry topic. Creative Director Leigh Marino and Director of Strategic Services Jason Ward led this month’s ‘Box Lunch discussion around branding – or as we call it ‘round these parts: B(b)randing (pronounced with a small stutter). Don't worry, if you missed out we've included the slideshow at the end of this post.
A Quick Recap on Branding
Before, the concept of branding encompassed a few very straightforward items – a logo, a product or service, a tagline, a spokesperson.
Brands today, however, take a much more holistic approach. In addition to the previously mentioned items, they focus on creating emotional connections with their audience. Modern brands engage audiences, reflect their culture, and deliver on their promises.
Big B vs. little b
Modern branding practices call for an alignment in (big B) BRAND and (little b) brand – what we call the B(b)rand!
A solely Big B approach is typically subjective, executive-led, top-down and aspirational. Big B makes a promise to its audience, but doesn’t necessarily reflect the authentic experiences of customers or employees. A little b approach works bottom-up; it’s experience-led and personal. Little b delivers on and keeps its promise to consumers and fans.
Harmony means alignment of brand and BRAND. Harmony of brand and BRAND fosters loyalty among consumers and employees, and leverages referral and social actions by those groups. They aren’t as reliant on advertising and marketing because brand ambassadors act as foot soldiers.
What about when things aren’t in sync? Misaligned brands fail to keep their promises to customers, rely heavily on ads, invite criticism and negative reviews, and create detractors – essentially the opposite of everything that makes for a great brand experience.
How to Make Big B Reflect Little b
A modern brand should reflect real experiences – of employees and of customers/clients/consumers. Easy!
Just kidding – this concept can certainly be tricky, and it all starts with holding up a mirror. Rather than focusing on the ideal or aspirational brand image, it’s important to zone in on what’s really going on. Start by defining the purpose and values behind the brand. Then, seek insights from your audience and team – this could be as simple as sending out a survey.
If this research – essentially, the make-up of the little b – doesn’t reflect the brand’s purpose, values or voice, then something’s wrong. It’s time to build up the BRAND with insights from the brand.
More from Leigh and Jason
Below are the ‘Box Lunch presentation slides for your enjoyment! Browse for examples of BRAND-brand revelations (Radioshack!) and alignment (Oreo).