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No Such Thing as Neutral Branding

The Context

Your brand represents the perceptions and experiences connected to your company (values, ideas, quality, positioning, personality, expectations, service levels, etc.). Your brand both creates, and reinforces, associations. A brand has value and that value can change. Branding includes tangible aspects (logo, slogan, fonts, colours, collateral, stationery, signage, packaging, website, email signatures, etc.) and, intangible aspects (service levels, staff attitude, skills levels, telephone etiquette, etc.)

The Question

What, if any, are the consequences of being indifferent towards your own brand, i.e. doing nothing?

Heuristic 1: Do not do nothing

Even if you do nothing, your brand will suffer. There is no such thing as neutral branding. Every time an external person interacts with a business, through any touchpoint, these associations are either being reinforced or weakened.

Heuristic 2: Avoid devaluing your brand – All Touch Points

A ‘weakening’ brand due to inconsistent use, bad service levels or lack of staff training, etc., typically results in increased marketing costs and reduced market share. Make every engagement count.

Heuristic 3: Land your Value Proposition – All Touch Points

Be clear on how you want to be positioned in the minds of the customers. Compose a useful value proposition. (Understand target personas, anticipated needs, solution benefits, and competitive advantages). I prefer the Geoffrey Moore format. There are many good ones though. See here. 

Compile keywords and design the visual elements that encapsulate your company’s core message. (CI) Use this as the basis for the content for all touchpoints and to align all the internal and external human interaction aspects.

Heuristic 4: Be consistent and relentless – All Touch Points

The staff, the offerings, the engagements and, the service levels must ‘live’ the brand. A consistent visual theme, content, and interaction across all touchpoints, is key. Use external service providers if need be. Stick to your branding strategy. Remember you might get bored with your brand, but your market does not

Neutral Branding:

  • Do not do nothing
  • Avoid devaluing your brand – All Touch Points
  • Land your Value Proposition – All Touch Points
  • Be consistent and relentless – All Touch Points


ontwerp assists customers to tell their brand stories better.
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