Your brand is your promise to those that matter. It’s who you are, what you deliver, how you achieve it, what makes you different from others promising the same thing. How you communicate those ideas — the defined audiences, the messages you project, the channels and tools you use, and the desired results — are the way that you build that brand image…..
Generally, I find myself working with clients to propose budgets that are generous enough to allow us the time to develop an exceptional marketing or communications product. In pricing, unlike so many other industries, most creative agencies and design firms are led first not by the profit line, but by a desire to perform well. We are driven to win approval of our ideas and overall presentation, our skills measured by a successful result. We want to please the client manager and we want to build relationships.
That requires bigger dollar allocations frequently, if not for elaborate resources like original photography and animation, copy writing, paper, programming, etc., then simply for the time a creative staff will invest in brainstorming, researching, thinking, planning and executing the product. The craftsmanship and achievement of excellence often takes more time than any client — and sometimes even the designer — can imagine.
Clearly, of course, not all marketing or brand tools can receive the same glamorous development budget. Important initiatives such as sales presentations and many internal communications are often hampered by this fact and subsequently developed by internal creative staff, assistant or non-graphics professional.
In the spirit of collaboration, I’ve distilled my basic tenets for design into a few bullet points, arranged in no particular order. I actually wrote this several years ago, but with modest updating for this post, I believe these ideas still have practical value. I hope that this list may be of assistance to any brand, marketing, communications, or sales manager who needs effectively designed and packaged content.
So for the do-it-yourself design project or one on a shoestring budget that cannot be outsourced to receive the studio/agency solution, I suggest beginning and ending each creative engagement with a checkpoint of these guiding principles, prior to final execution:
Apple is under attack from the plethora of businesses that are offering music and film over the internet. News that companies have taken aim at the tech icon’s market share is so abundant that releases appear to be issued on an almost daily frequency.
Spotify is entrenched almost exclusively in Europe, and claims about 10 million users worldwide. Unlike Apple, Spotify offers music downloads for free and generates revenues through advertising. The company also has a subscription-based “premium service” section for members who are encouraged to build their own playlists and share with friends. Spotify is not yet available in the U.S., although it is currently working on new rights agreements with major music labels that will enable the company to offer its music to U.S. customers.
The New York Post reported over the weekend that Pandora, another music streaming service, is poised to take a substantial hit based on Apple’s new subscription plan. Pandora, which has been planning an IPO, is considering all options including a legal action against Apple. The company presently has about 80 million subscribers, but along with companies like Spotify, Rhapsody and Last.fm, is in danger now because it will be unable to share 30% of its revenues with Apple and continue to pay for the rights/usage agreements to the content.
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When people think about brands, they think about the visual presentation of the corporate identity, a logo, an advertising campaign, a slogan — or they think about the strategic plan of the company, the mission, vision and values. I’ve heard it said many times that the brand is an expression of the core values of any organization and that the process of rebranding speaks to the heart of any company.