Design trends, proven strategies, new technologies…they can all be part of successful branding, but they’re never at the core.
Successful branding isn’t the result of a formula. It develops over time by addressing what makes an organization tick, by unfolding a story with a purpose, by creating something special for a special group of people.
That group, at the heart of every brand, is the audience—their interests, their needs, their actions.
At Proof, we begin every project by identifying a target audience, and continue the process with extensive customer research, many rounds of revision, and continual exploration. No audience is exactly the same, so we have to be prepared to flex every creative muscle, to scrap what’s worked in the past but doesn’t quite fit the present, and to conjure an authentic experience for a wide range of demographics.
As Srinivas Rao, founder of The Unmistakable Creative podcast explains, cowering to a mimicry epidemic is dangerous and a sure way to drive customers to competitors.
“Getting to serve an audience is a privilege. The minute you take them from granted or try to squeeze blood out of a stone, is the minute they’ll disband.”
Getting to do what you love every day is a privilege, too. Learning from others is a part of that process, but you don’t need a constant cheat sheet to do what you do best. What you do need is trust, wonder, patience, and the willingness to do the hard work of creating something new and better for the people you were meant to serve.
Copycat branding never wins, but a commitment to strategic ingenuity will attract the right audience for miles.