I got pretty sick this week.
Worst I've felt in over a year.
Today is the first day that I don't feel like complete shit, though still not 100%. It really sucks because the first week of this month was packed with 6 appointments and meetings with others. Even if you're sick, you still feel the need to at least try and get out there because meeting other people is important, especially in business. I'd wake up each day hoping I'd feel better, but I was still hacking up lungs and blowing outrageous amounts of gunk from my nose until this afternoon.
What I thought about was this: I could get out there and meet people regardless of how I was feeling, but it wouldn't have been a pleasant experience for the other people involved.
Could you imagine being on the other side of the table as I coughed to the point of puking (that actually happened)? Or seeing globs of snot drip onto my mustache? It'd be freaking disgusting.
Here's the thing:
While it might seem heroic and dignified to go at the day regardless of how I'm feeling, the fact that it would've been awful for someone else to endure my company is what matters more. It's about them, not me.
Stuck on whether or not you should pursue a new product, feature, or campaign for your brand? Think about the person on the other end, it'll give you a better sense of direction.
Branding and marketing appear inextricable. At least that's what thousands of handshakes and responses to "I build rebellious brands," has let me know. So let's set the record straight.
Branding expert Marty Neumeier phrases it, "marketing is any effort to get customers, branding is any effort to keep them." Or, branding is the emotional glue that makes someone prefer your business after you've shown that you can meet their needs.
It's kinda like this, any guy can draw the attention of a woman by showing that he is, in fact, a man (assuming she's looking for one). However, it's not the size of his muscles, the amount of money in his wallet, or the car he drives that creates a lasting impression. It's his character and the fact that his character doesn't waver. He markets his features, but wins the heart by triggering emotions. Without them, he's a commodity.
Here is when marketing and branding enter into conflict:
When marketing efforts get pushy/spammy without emotionally priming the customer.
Good marketing doesn't feel like marketing. An example of this is when you get an email from a company you love and happily open it. Without a doubt, the opposite happens too. you know, those emails you get that let you know this company is looking to get into your wallet. At that point, it's clear that the brand has been tarnished. Good luck getting your reputation back.
When the brand is not placed in front of the right people.
It's no surprise that the creative side has trouble putting things out there. The most well-thought-out and cohesive brand is worth nothing if no one sees it. Good marketing puts the brand out in the open to the right people, at the right time, and with the right message. Remember, good marketing doesn't feel like marketing.
You need both and they need to work together.
I was giving an identity presentation to a client today and everything was going phenomenal. He liked the strategy behind the mark, thought it had a lot of character, and he was overall pleased with it. He did ask if he could see a slight variation of the mark.
What he had asked for was not going to work (I could see it in my head and it would've ruined the integrity of the logo). But, in the spirit of transparency, I replied with "let's try it out, right now."
Within five minutes, we had the options side-by-side and could clearly see that the previous mark was the better option.
If I had said, "ok let me get back to you in a day with these revisions," we both would have been frustrated. It's an unfortunate trope within the design community to never show the client your workspace or your design files. Which I don't understand, because I certainly feel engaged and have more respect for other craftsmen who show me their process. More important, it helps me hold it in reverence and respect the decisions they make.
Design is no different. If we are willing to be transparent and walk clients through the entire process, show them how our opinions are formulated, and talk through the solution, everyone is happier.
Show your work and talk about it. Being creative is simply not enough, you have to be able to articulate your thinking.