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Why your brand strategist isn’t Willy Wonka

Perhaps you are equally tired of hearing that ‘a brand is much more than a logo’ –and still wondering when you’ll chance across a simple explanation of what branding actually entails; an inclusive and astute perspective that your CEO, CMO and CFO endorse and your entire organisation understands.

We appreciate great brands like great innovations, yet rarely do we comprehend how they came about, or how we can be similarly successful.

The immense goodwill and business value of a great brand are undisputed– the way of getting there, however, isn’t. In fact, the problem is that few people truly believe such value can be artificially created, and it looks like history is proving them right. Our most valuable global icons today, be it Google, McDonald’s, Mercedes-Benz or Red Bull, all evolved from a captivating story, a disruptive idea turned into a great business model. Their success owes to a fusion of visionary thinking, business acumen and destiny – none of it manufactured.

There are two fundamental implications for brand consultants: Firstly, we facilitate the emergence of brands, rather than ‘create’ them, and secondly we help associate all operational activities of a business into a greater something, uncovering a story the organisation may have never been aware of.

Brand consultants are no wizards, and even the best of us do not have magical powers. What we do have, however, is an ability to identify and amplify inherent greatness in an organisation, and express it in a way that can make it a powerful cultural catalyst. If anything drives business transformation, it’s an honest narrative – grounded in reality and connecting a company’s ambitions with its legacy,demonstrating how to use its current strengths to get there.

Imagine it this way: If you’re a little chubby and looking to win a pageant, dressing well is a good start, but you’ve still to undergo a lot of exercise to stand a chance, and change will only happen once you start working out and change your mindset. Regardless whether you are or aren’t a good person, embarking on this journey speaks in your favour, and empowers you to keep going. Your brand is neither the new wardrobe, nor your investment in a personal trainer, but your willpower to do it and your underlying intent.

As good brand consultants, we’re a mix of motivational speaker, style advisor and fitness coach. While we empower and accelerate your progress, you’ll still have to break a sweat to making it happen.If you look at branding this way, it doesn’t really matter where it sits within your organisation – so long as your senior leadership appreciate that, figuratively speaking, it is the soul of your commercial origins and the sun of your corporate solar system.

The writer is Philipp Kristian Diekhöner, creative director and innovation strategist at boutique digital agency Mediatropy.

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