When People Say Branding Isn’t Everything, Remind Them Everything Is Branding.

Many meetings, discussions and presentations get derailed by the concept of branding. I imagine at least one of these commonly uttered phrases will sound familiar to you: “Is this a brand ad?” and “The brand doesn’t matter in this execution.”

The reply to each of these is an unadulterated “Yes it is.” and a “Yes it does.”

Unfortunately, with about as many definitions of the word brand as there are brand consultancies, the language around the concept is diluted. At Laughlin Constable, we subscribe to straightforward definition: A brand is a promise and, more importantly, an expectation. As such:

Every ad is a brand ad. The term “brand ad” has, unfortunately, become synonymous with “soft sell.” It’s anything but. Event ads, rate ads, banner ads, sale ads? They are all brand ads. Each contributes to the expectation a consumer has. Even the seizure-inducing Head-On commercials are brand ads. (For those masochists among you, try to sit through the entire user-generated ten-minute Head-On commercial. I dare you.)

Everything is branding. Some media – and the online environment is a great example – are described as needing to be transactional. I don’t disagree. Transactions are essential. But how that transaction happens, how it’s presented, matters to your brand. Load speeds and “branding” are not mutually exclusive ideas. A simple, intuitive display isn’t just good UX design, it suggests the brand is there to help you.

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