The New Rules Of Branding

Right on the tail of publishing his latest book, BrandFlip, Marty Neumeier and AIGA launched a two-day brand workshop in Santa Barbara. A sequel to the inaugural Zag! workshop I attended last year, this year’s event hosted brand professionals from across the United States, Europe, the UK, and New Zealand. A quaint venue in sunny Santa Barbara housed 2 full days of the world’s newest brand insights taught by Marty Neumeier, the world’s leading authority on brand strategy.

Although the importance of branding hasn’t changed, the surge of social media has caused a significant shift. Communication, practices, and the relationships between customers and brands are morphing. Experience in the industry is not enough to succeed. The rules have changed.

At BrandFlip, we learned a few new realities:

  1. Customers now run companies and participate in actually creating the brands, not just supporting them
  2. People are less focused on products and more on meaning
  3. Customers are less concerned with what they’re getting and more interested in who they’re becoming
  4. People buy in tribes to feel safe and successful
  5. Tribes are connected through technology
  6. Brands need to flow through multiple technologies
  7. The most successful brands are not static, but fluid
We learned how to capitalize on that as a brand. You’ll want to learn that too.

Same players. Different sequence. Get all the insight on BrandFlip.

All 15 of us who attended had a chance to work on either our own brand or one of our customers. I opted for the latter.

We started with the all-important brand and customer identity, and moved through customer aims, tribal mores, company values, positioning through differentiation, touchpoint design and prototyping.

After applying these strategic concepts to our chosen brand for 2 full days, each of us got to present our key findings. These findings arm any Brand with an immediate advantage over the competition. While articulating and defining such key insights is a difficult process, winning the competitive edge without them is close to impossible. We received valuable feedback from Marty as well as our peers. The focused brainstorming in a room full of seasoned pros reminded me of Napoleon Hill’s advice to create and regularly work within the benefits of a mastermind group.

Each day the workshops stopped at 6PM, but the learning continued over a more relaxed atmosphere during dinner. We got to ask questions and share insights with our peers. I often find that the after hours interaction with industry peers accounts for half of the value of any workshop or seminar.

Ideas to put in action:

  1. Have at least one event per year where you get out of your business and work on your business. What is that event for your industry? Research it, and decide on attending the next one.
  2. Organize your own mastermind group, or find an existing one you can be a part of. Find peers who are willing to share knowledge and good practices, and who are committed to meeting regularly and providing each other the value of feedback. If that’s not an option, put one together with a few of your customers.
  3. Read, study, and apply the insights in BrandFlip.
  4. Contact us for a chance to discuss how you can infuse the newest insight into your growing Brand.
  5. If you haven’t worked with us to develop your Brand platform yet, let’s connect to find out how you can take the first step in bringing new life to your brand.

By the way, if you ever find yourself in Santa Barbara, you must have dinner at the Boathouse at Hendry’s, or at the Lark. If you are fond of good European dessert or love breakfast, don’t miss the Andersen Bakery on the State street.

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