There have been many outstanding books written about ‘branding’ and yet I find that few are read outside of the public relations and advertising industries. If you were to ask one of those professionals about the topic of branding, they would tell you it is an extremely serious and vital component to the success of a company.
A ‘brand’ applies to all companies. There is always a company brand whether it is intentionally created by the organization or simply constructed by the market. A brand encompasses that company’s reputation and image. It can be creative or stogy; innovative or proven; human or physical, and serves to communicate what the company intends to accomplish through its values.
I have always been completely frustrated with the lack of interest in the branding of technical firms with which I have been associated. Often, their brand attitude fluctuates between total indifference and a desire to be ‘me too,’ copying the claims and messaging of competitors and, thereby, failing to distinguish their own strengths. This approach, or lack there of, to branding often stems from a flawed internal opinion that the brand should reflect your history or portfolio of past work, as opposed to the company’s culture. For engineers, this translates to a brand made up of concrete monuments, usually represented by endless aerial-oblique photographs taken 1000 feet above the structures or cross-lite surface photos of bridge cabling or the winding interior of a tunnel. There is a conviction that, just as the wall of the corporate reception area should be lined with awards for past feats; the company’s identity is physical. Of some 50 technical companies I observe, only about 5% do something different with their brand strategy, giving them a ‘savvy’ image in the […]