Branding is Broken – A Call to Arms

In Marketing Agencies by Distility29 Comments

Brand Strategy - The Future is Now

Branding is ill-defined, usually vacuous, often expensive and totally unpredictable Seth Godin in Seth’s Blog

Incomprehensible VoodooGuy Kawasaki in The Art of the Start

We are brand technologists. We love branding and believe in it. But we are here to say that branding is broken. 

Why would we say this? Brands seem bigger than ever. Everywhere we look, we see brands. Brand talk has hit the mainstream. We talk about personal brands, political brands, national brands – everything is a brand and every schoolchild a brand expert.

But branding – the creation and development of brands – is still, as it is most often practiced, a complete and utter mess. Branding is more occult than voodoo, more expensive than yachting, and more dangerous than lawn darts. Branding is slower than rust, more frustrating than roadwork, and has a return on investment somewhat less measurable than prayer. Big agency-style branding is the product of a time when business moved slowly, budgets were big, and television was an exciting new medium. And do-it-yourself branding can be a grand adventure, like going for a drive in the country with no map and a quarter tank of gas.

But we know there is a better way. Branding can be fast and agile, keeping pace with today’s exhilarating speed of business. A good branding process builds on what your team already knows and then helps them clear away the muck of fuzzy thinking to achieve an exciting new understanding. Branding can fit within your schedule and make excellent use of your time, leaving you energized instead of exhausted. When you create or redefine a brand, you can and should see value and progress at every step of the way. Just as your brand must work across all your communications channels to deliver amazing communications, your branding partner should work comfortably with your internal resources and your outside marketing partners to deliver a great service with no gaps or overlaps. Your brand should go beyond a name and a design to encompass a clear, coherent, compelling strategy that has the strength and flexibility to take you wherever you choose to go.

We come not to bury branding but to raise it, up to where it can work with the same flexibility, innovation and energy that you do. Long live the New Brand Age.

Are you with us? Email us at to let us know.