Four key brand pillars

What are the essential four cornerstones of building great brands?

I started my career via the practical route with the C&G apprenticeship scheme to work in print. I worked my way through print, marketing, advertising and design agencies, before freelancing in London for some very cool design agencies. However, I always felt at a disadvantage because I didn’t have a degree. Something I felt I needed to prove I could do.

I applied for the Master’s programme at Brunel studying Design and Branding strategy and was accepted because of practical experience, so funded myself while running the design consultancy.

It wasn’t easy but was a great experience. Not only because of the inspirational people I met, but because I felt ready and was committed.

We had the chance to interview some great brand professionals as part of our assignments and they shared their insights of building great brands.

Landor Associates was one of those companies. They were fantastic. Gave us their time, listened to our questions and gave us loads of data and info on how they approach brand development.

Building brands at a corporate level isn’t too different from building brands at SME level; just the service and product distribution systems vary.

Landor Associates believe brands are built on four pillars:

  • Differentiation
  • Relevance
  • Esteem
  • Knowledge

Differentiation is the perceived distinctiveness of the brand. Relevance is the personal appropriateness or connections it makes with an individual. Esteem is the regard for the brand and Knowledge is the understanding of what the brand stands for.

This is a very logical approach that is supported by measurable data. They know more about their client’s brand than their client…and that’s impressive.

The great thing about these design tools is that they aim to bring some structure and measurable systems to justify spend on design.

I believe we, as design professionals do need to measure our successes by ROI and offer clients justification to spend money on design, just as you would expect from other professions.

Also, I think it is right to exchange and debate tools and techniques to help colleagues and strengthen professional design and brand management as a credible business tool.

Oh yes, and I can’t promise everytime, but happy to help students understand the theory and practical application of design and brand strategy, or formatting work for larger installations.

Grow, connect, inspire!