In the world of so much information and so little time, branding is not a mere marketing tool but probably the only and the most efficient way of communication: to tell what and why an organization does for whom and which is relevant not only to corporates but also to government, and even NGOs. Brand Gap is a small book with few pages and large font that gives the secret recipe to succeed in branding bridging between logic and magic a.k.a. strategy and design. Marty Neumeier, the author with several decades of experience in branding, very quickly and briefly touches every aspects of branding to help the reader understand what branding is all about–what brand is and is not, why branding is so important, and how to be good at it.
Neumeier offers a framework for better-branding: Differenciation – Collaboration – Innovation – Validation – Cultivation. By Differentiation he means focus, focus, and even more focus. he claims a brand should redefine its category if it is not the market leader or the 2nd player. Collaboration is about getting the best team. The author takes Hollywood as the best example of the collaboration–a village of different talents who work together for the best and disperse right after the show-best for each other. The model shall vary, however, for each brand as all brands have different genes and environment. Innovation means the gut to be different giving clear benefit to the customers from strategy through execution because execution is where the rubber meets the road. In other words, creativity is what gives brands their traction in the marketplace. Validation is about test, test, and more test as we do in design field (or at least we should). Good idea doesn’t always validate, so tests in the real context in the only-and the most efficient way. Finally, cultivation is about cloning the gene of brand to all the personnels of the brand as brand is like person-I eat noodle today and rice tomorrow, but I am me, aren’t I? Since keeping the track of all the people in an organization is simply not possible, the book suggests to get all the staff identical compasses.
Last, but not the least, Neumeier emphasize throughout the book that branding is about bridging left and right–strategy and creative, logic and magic, marketers and designers. For this, he claims each organization should have a CBO-Cheif Branding Officer who forms a human bridge between aforementioned elements. I find this book rather handy as it walks the reader through the essence of branding while touching many details of actual work. I believe, however, innovation should take place in every step of the framework he offered because methods of differentiation, validation and cultivation are to be innovative at the end of the day-I know he probably meant it as well.