Branding in Motion: Part 1

An interview with Russell Volckmann on Branding in Motion

Image by Extra Medium

Ashley: What are some key things to consider when creating an online based brand?


The first key assumption regarding developing any brand today is that virtually no brand can hide from the Internet. So whether a company’s business is conducted primarily online or offline is of little consequence. Brands are no longer only crafted and shaped internally then broadcasted hierarchically downward toward audiences to digest as receptacles of the brand. Company key stakeholders (employees, customers, peers, competitors) constantly interact with your brand online and shape that brand to suit their needs. And that includes a company’s brand messaging, visual identity, product or anything borne from that brand.

As a simple example, a company may find its logo in locations or environments that the original creators never intended. On social networks such as Facebook. On blogs or other online vehicles in the presence of other branded entities. Unintentionally co-branded alongside other brands. Placed in the midst of typography and colors that are not part of the company’s design system. And this has profound implications in terms of how flexible any brand needs to be—not just the logo or visual identity, but across a wide spectrum of brand expressions..

While the creators of a brand may certainly guide the intended use of the logo, they essentially have no control whatsoever over how it is used externally. Therefore an amazing amount of thought, strategy and testing needs to go into preparing a brand for the wild world externally.

In the familiar example of the logo, we need to ask how visually flexible is it in order to accommodate X number of usage scenarios, in addition to all the hard work that the logo needs to perform in order to live up to the brands core drivers–what we call the Brand Motor(TM). The logo seems simple. But in fact, distilling meaning into what drives an expression like the logo not so simple—let alone creating an expression that is flexible enough to survive in a myriad of environments—environments that are constantly in motion. That takes planning.

Just to be clear, though, the logo is not the brand. It is only one expression of the brand among sometimes hundreds of other key brand expressions specific to any one brand.

Next timeWhat sort of due diligence should brands do when conceptualizing their name/logo/etc?

Part 3 > What’s the first thing an (online) brand should do if they have a #prfail (they really mess up online)?

Part 4 > Should (online) fashion brands keep anything extra in mind that brands in other markets may not have to worry about?

3 thoughts on “Branding in Motion: Part 1

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