• Karl Schmieder

Are You Building a Brand?

In 2019, we helped redesign and launch two new brands. Building those brands was a special treat for us since it required using the following skills: research, assembling a team of designers, packaging specialists, and specialty printers. It also required leadership skills. Both brands are on the market and are doing well. Ask us about them.

If you are building a brand, you may need to start from the beginning.

What Even Is A Brand? The term comes from the act of marketing livestock to identify ownership. A practice that dates back to the ancient Egyptians.

A logo is not a brand.

But a brand is not a logo. It's a lot more than that. It's an idea, positioning, a name, a market, a personality, a product (or products), and partnerships. Mostly, a brand is about audience perception. Volvo's brand is about safety. Apple's brand is about design to make technology simple. Telsa is about innovation.

The messagingLAB brand is based on our client's needs and our interests

The messagingLAB brand is built around my personality, interests and past successes

I'm a strategist, consultant, and copywriter.  My brand is about agility, smarts, and a large network. It's heavy on the knowledge built from my time in the trenches of biotech, clinical development, and synthetic biology. Over the past four years, that knowledge has been of interest to the emerging cannabis industry. I'm proud of being different than competing communications and management consulting agencies.

Big Company vs. Small Company Branding

If you're a startup or a smaller company, you have advantages that big companies don't have when it comes to your brand.

You can move a lot faster. But that agility comes with responsibilities if you're going to work with big companies. For example, big companies will want you to demonstrate that you can scale and deliver.

Clients I work with do this by proposing smaller, proof of concept projects that demonstrate they can do what they say they're going to.

I do this by having a network.

Smaller companies can also have a personality. In most cases, that would be the CEO.

In big companies, the only CEO that has nearly universal recognition these days is Elon Musk. Until his untimely demise, Steve Jobs was the personality behind Apple.

In my opinion, not enough companies put a personality front and center. Doing so offers the opportunity to humanize the company. Healthcare-focused biotech companies should take advantage of this because healthcare is about people.

There is a trend right now with big companies where they're trying to appear smaller.

For example big beer conglomerates are acquiring local brands. Small is new big and big is the new small.

So what makes a great brand? I'll dive into that in my next post.

By way of background, I have dozens of books on branding on my bookshelves. My favorites are THE ART OF BRANDING and THE BRAND GAP. THE ART OF BRANDING traces the career of Pablo Picasso to give an overview of the ENTIRE brand building process. It covers mission statement, building and market analysis, brand extensions, brand awareness, market performance, and a lot of cool stuff that is easy to follow and understand. It is a practical, very visual book.

THE BRAND GAP defines the idea that a brand is not what you decide, but what your audience or customers decided. Your job, according to Neumaier:

Nudge your customers in a direction, listen to them, and react to their demands.

That's how you build a brand.