Brand with responsibility: aligning brand, business strategy and purpose
Jack Perlinski is the founder, CEO and principal strategy advisor at Brisbane-based DAIS Brand Strategy Advisors. He argues that the idea is the key driver for brand engagement, implementation, and sustainability.
Branding today demands rigour, and responsible branding requires deeper stakeholder engagement that aligns to the business strategy.
There are two typical mindsets we encounter as brand strategy advisors. That of the decorator, who will end up spending money on a new brand because of how it looks; and that of the strategist. The latter values the idea over the veneer. It is the strategist who will get the greater return on investment every time.
At DAIS the value of the idea really matters most. We see too many companies waste money because the actual engagement and implementation of their new brand strategy has little to hold on to. To be valued a brand must speak directly to the true desire of its customers. It must also understand know how its impact will be measured. When an authentic emotional connection exists at the heart of a brand identity everyone gets so much more than just a return on investment.
With over 33 years in the identity industry and growing more than 40 brands a year on the DAIS journey, we are uncompromising about the necessity and value of the idea as a key driver for brand engagement, implementation, and sustainability. There are those out there that are happy delivering decorative outcomes, that generate short lived and meaningless impact. That’s not our bag. We provide insights where strategy leads structure, ensuring the brands we build are as valued by our hearts as they are on our balance sheets.
A brand thrives or dies on whether an entire organisational culture buys in and takes responsibility for its story. And we’re specialists in facilitating that process.
Often, when a client engages us in their brand evolution, what is experienced in the early discussions is unresolved or unaired confusion about how to explain the company’s future direction or personality. These moments feel to the client like insurmountable roadblocks to the endgame. They’re actually formative foundations for a genuine sustainable brand.
Owners of companies might wish to delegate this responsibility, but that's a mistake. As business owners or leaders, we must be prepared to dive into the process and contribute to it. The most important custodians for any identity project are the owners, managers and boards leading the brand, and they must be inspired to embrace the desires of all stakeholders both internally and externally.
Every brand comes seeking a fresh look or market cut-through - it’s all colours, logos, emotions, and agendas - but it’s only when we engage with a broader stakeholder community that we end up uncovering fundamental variances in the opinions and perceptions of the company’s focus and future. These are some of the most crucial debates and discoveries a company can invest in, and facilitating those discussions is the most rewarding part of the work we do. It is also where the important ideas lay hidden.
In those initial engagement phases, our process is really about confirming their true passions and what has inspired their love for the brand from the very beginning.
Even when we develop a new brand, it is always tethered to a backstory, a passion, the one perfect idea that defines who they really are. Drawing out a story to be woven into the fabric of a brand is an art, but distilling it, balancing it, and finding sustainable ways to connect that passion to the desires of customers is actually a science. Finding that one perfect idea for a brand defines our success and how to brand with responsibility.