Building Better Brands: Brand is Culture Not Image

Building Better Brands: Brand is Culture Not Image

Going back to what I said last week (Brand as a Living Thing), Brand is more than just a logo and some colors โ€“ a brand is everything we make, everything we do, everything we say as a company. This means it stretches beyond what our designers and copywriters make. It's a culture that should affect the entire company.

Before you ever pick up a pencil and sketch a logo or design, you should look into what a company stands for. Beyond that, what the individuals that make up that company stand for. Your company is made up of brilliant individuals, and though it may seem like the company you work for is an overarching identity of all of you, the company is actually an expression of your collective efforts.

Much like each person's personality, a brand shines brightest when you allow it to be honest and be itself.

Dropbox Design does a beautiful job of highlighting how they work as a design studio. They are leaders in the tech design arena, and their work reflects that through thought leadership from individuals.

Their brand is consistent and strong in individuality. Their company blog is consistent, but features a collaboration between many unique designers, illustrators, writers, etc. The brand is built to be inclusive and eclectic, not a set of rules that confine and set consistency to every pixel.

Intercom Brand Studio may be my favorite tech brand design team right now. They're extremely public facing with their work, they all bring their own personality to the team, and show their works in progress. Their feed is interesting on an art level, not a product level, so it doesn't exclude non customers.

The inherent problem with social media as a company is it will inevitably feel like a #ad. The approach they take on sharing their work as just a diary of their fun and artistic every day, not a marketing piece, is a way to build their brand image in a way that's not heavy handed.

They put a lot of effort to making sure their creatives are making and doing things they love, whether it contributes to a real company asset or not. Giving creatives room to create however they want within the brand gives new perspectives to how the brand can grow and change with trends and also set new ones. Ultimately that fun and freedom of creativity makes a better place for people to work, and that creates great team culture, and company culture too.

To design a brand isn't necessarily to design anything, but to build a framework to allow your company express itself in the best (and most honest) way possible. It's a platform for your brightest humans to showcase everyday that your team is as brilliant as the products you're building, and that everyone should want to come work with you too.

A brand is an expression of what your company stands for, through what they talk about, what they build, and who they are as a team.

To build a better brand is to incorporate the human element into the work you do.