Separation of brand and product

Have you ever experienced the pain of using a fantastic product that had off-putting branding? How about the opposite? Have you ever used a terrible product that had brilliant and beautiful branding?

If you said yes to either of these, then I’d call foul and say that both experiences consisted of terrible brands.

Why? Branding is not about design, pretty things, packaging, and marketing, it’s about creating an entire experience.

A company that presents you with a crappy product encased in a beautiful package needs to work on their branding. A company that presents you with a great product in crappy packaging needs to work on their branding.

It’s easy to separate the two and hope that people will just “get it.” Especially if your expertise is in product, not design. Or if your expertise is in design, not product. But the problem is that they’re not inseparable. (It boggles me that we’ve become a society so focused on forcing people into niche specialities that they forget to see the whole picture. But that’s another article.)

Simply put, trying to separate your brand from your product is like chopping off someone’s legs and asking them to run a marathon. Or like removing a bird’s wings and then demanding that she fly.

It doesn’t make sense.

But business owners do this all the time, while wondering why they can’t run or fly.

Whatever the feeling is that you want to convey with your service or product, make sure your branding matches. While your audience may not be branding experts, they’ll quickly be able to tell if something about your company is “off”. Psychologically, that sense of cohesion builds a sense of trust. And trust is what helps to spread the word, while growing your audience.