blog ◉Integrity > Hype Brand-building with commitment

Burple Beer fake ad: time for integrity in branding
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If you’ve paid much attention to branding and advertising, chances are you’ve witnessed plenty of bait and switch.

You know what I mean: A company advertises a product and intimates that it can deliver something that it can’t.

Of course, this usually isn’t about a literal promise. That could lead to lawsuits.

But you know what I mean. Drinking this beer or driving this car will make you popular with the ladies. If you do X with our product, not only will you feel like you are a man of wealth, but you’ll reap all the benefits.

It’s right here where emphatikk! has been born from a very different vision. While associations are important in branding, I’m a firm believer in the power of truth. Including truth in advertising.

With emphatikk! I’m frankly not interested in working with firms that want to fudge. My vision is to partner with people of integrity who do business with integrity, and who believe (as I do) that such integrity is not a weakness but rather a recipe for good business.

I’m a strong believer that there are a lot of people who are sick and tired of B.S. People who don’t find celebrity ads and crazy lifestyle claims to be credible, but aren’t completely cynical. They’re just looking for someone they can trust.

I also believe that there are businesses led by real people who are ready to earn that trust. I also believe that this integrity is integral to genuinely good branding. Let me explain.

Branding Isn’t Just Getting the Right Logo

A lot of people think “logo” when they hear branding terminology. Perhaps in addition they may think of a company or product’s tagline, or perhaps ancillary visuals such as color schemes and so on.

That instinct is of course not wrong, and these elements must be integrated into a brand-building program. That, after all, is why emphatikk! offers such services.

But simply because logos and visuals and taglines are a part of brand creation and brand maintenance does not mean that collectively your use of those things simply equals your brand. Those things are in a sense your formal brand summary—but they stand in for something much bigger.

Your brand is the total package at the interface of your business and the world that greets it: the service you provide, the quality of your products, and the associations you evoke from your customers and potential customers.

Doing Business with Integrity Builds Your Brand

While a visual and verbal refresh can help remotivate you, provide energy and encouragement to your people, and perhaps even reinvigorate public perception, your brand still is not going to be better than what you are able to deliver. A new face won’t fix a hollow center, and if your way of doing business isn’t built on integrity, your rebrand may spark interest, but ultimately it will fail.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you’re stuck with what you’ve always done. But it does mean that whatever rebrand you’re involved with needs, at its very core, to include a solid brand promise which you are committed to delivering.

Naturally, new branding and a great deal of rebranding is not all about fixing something that’s broken. It’s about forging a new identity as a company starts or expands into a new field. There isn’t a backstory littered with poor service, but there is a need to move forward and do something new. And that something new involves the whole company, not just the marketing department. It involves the people in the trenches answering phones just as much as it involves your graphic designer and your copywriter.

And in the case of a great deal of re-positioning, it entails a good deal of work behind the scenes. Not the stuff of logos and magazine ads, but of training for new skills or buffing up old ones, or at least improving old processes so that in the new setting those old skills will be put to better use.

That’s why when I moved to a business rebrand, I didn’t just come up a with a new name, logo and tagline. I consolidated my ongoing training in a wide spectrum of fields and came up with plans of action that would help me deliver more for my clients than I ever had before. emphatikk! committed me to more rigorous processes for the sake of better service. As much time as I have spent on logos and taglines and designing for emphatikk!, I have spent much more honing my skills, reflecting how I can be better, developing processes and strategies that will serve my clients in ways superior to what I have done in the past.

And my point is that all of this is branding. Branding means coming up with a brand promise (whether explicit or implicit), committing to it, and following through to the point that your customers and others familiar with your business or product readily say: “Yup. X company is good for that.”

It’s entrepreneurs and organizations who are ready for that sort of commitment to their public that emphatikk! is aimed to serve. If you want to sell snake oil, I’m sure somebody else out there will help you come up with a “branding and marketing plan.” Not emphatikk!

But if you’re convinced integrity is greater than hype, let’s talk.

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