For those of you who haven’t read the brand gap yet. Are you lazy, poor or just a procrastinator, well I’ve found an alternative. This shouldn’t take the place of the book but it’s better than nothing. Enjoy-

Slideshare is a cool place-

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So, I love to read. Most of you know that already. I had planned on doing frequent book reviews but somehow got sidetracked along the way. The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier is a great read. It’s relatively short, to the point and is only filled with the most important information (sweet!).

Some of Marty’s points that caught my attention:

  • 5 disciplines of branding- differentiate, collaborate, innovate, validate, cultivate.
  • The client decides the brand.
  • Brand extensions- new additions to the brand family serve to strengthen the meaning of the brand. [As long as it furthers the brand image and doesn’t take away, ie Porsche used to be a classic sports car company but what happened to the brand when they added that SUV?]
  • It takes a village to build a brand- Marketers, designers, ad agencies, consultants, photographers. [what, teamwork? Oh yes!]
  • Abandon the comforts of habit, reason, peer approval and go in a new direction.
  • Logos are dead, they identify rather than differentiate; create an icon instead, it contains the DNA of the brand.
  • A good brand icon is like a nicely taylored suit, it should only look good on you.

How do you know when an idea is innovative? When it scares the hell out of you!
I don’t recommend creating your brand on your own. It’s who you are, what you represent, for crying out loud get help, collaborate, work with a team. You’ll be glad you did.

Want a copy? I’m going to give mine away. It’s a really good book and everyone in business should read it. So here’s the deal-

Comment or send me an email-
Briefly and creatively tell me why you want/need it. (ie. your brand sucks, your poor, recently divorced etc.)
Prove it- link to your company, portfolio, blog etc
I’ll look everything over on Tuesday and on Wednesday I will announce the winner.

new blog design

02.26.2008

In an effort to be consistent with my branding I’ve decided to redesign this blog. Thanks to Jess for the work she did on it. And no this does not mean that ads will soon appear. This is an ad free blog. I just wanted a little more consistency between this blog and my portfolio site.

I’m also announcing the launch of my new photo journal blog.  It’s a place for posting random shots of my travels; found people, places and objects. Kind of a get to know ED photo journal type thing.

I started working with Eric about a year ago. He’s crazy talented and an all around great guy to work with. My experience working and collaborating with him has been nothing short of phenomenal. He developed my logo, stationary, site, direct mail, email and portfolio; all of which can be seen on his blog here. Eric has been crazy busy so this month we’re going to get an interview from last month. Next month he’ll have more fresh relevant info for us.

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Interview 1 / 14 / 08
Building a Business Communication Identity : An Interview with Eric Kass
by Michelle Jones of Correspondence Notes

1. How do you define business identity/business identity package? Or are those terms irrelevant to you? If so what do you describe as the collection of collateral materials your clients need for their businesses?
I develop holistic brand experiences that engage and envelop customers at every point of contact creating an emotional connection, as well as, communicating basic business information and marketing messages. This helps to create a strong, valuable, sustainable brand that establishes long term relationships with customers and increased short term sales.

2. Why is having a complete business identity package important even for small businesses? If so why?
I believe it’s crucial for every start-up or small business to have a strong brand foundation in order to compete in increasingly crowded marketplaces and immediately connect new customers to their products or services. Externally it creates distinction and retention among customers while internally making a small business owner’s dreams and desires tangible providing added confidence and sense of purpose. Standing out in the crowd with a unique position, expressed in a custom tailored brand, will provide the greatest opportunity for success.

3. If a small business has a very limited budget what do you think is the best use of those funds in terms of business identity? A very well designed logo? Good business cards (eg high quality printing instead of glossy, thin stock cards)? A whole package with perhaps less than brilliant design?
With new patrons I perform brand triage considering the big picture and future needs but beginning work on the most crucial components needed for them. The brand foundation, a unique position expressed in the name, logo and tag line, is the best place to start with more pieces implemented as business and budgets increase. Doing anything that is “less than brilliant” is in fact, less than brilliant. Your brand will only be as strong as its weakest point. A well conceived and executed brand experience will create trust, faith and loyalty in your business which can all be undermined by even the most seemingly minute misstep. It’s important when setting up a new venture to create a budget for branding and marketing the same way that you would for rent, inventory, legal/accounting fees, technology etc. Initially it may seem like a substantial expense but if you consider its impact on your business over the many years of its use you will quickly realize it’s one of the best investments you can make in your business. A strong, professionally developed brand foundation isn’t a luxury it’s a necessity when starting a new business or bringing a new product to market.

4. What are a few characteristics of a good business card?
Every detail matters and can have an effect on how your brand is communicated and perceived through material, weight, texture, scent, color, typography, shape, size, and printing method. I specialize in crafting uncommon calling and business cards that provide a tactile, physical connection forming the foundation for authentic, personal relationships. Such unique cards not only create a memorable first impression but spark lively honest discussions and provoke exploration of online offerings as well. The humanity found in distinctive, finely-crafted, personal stationery is a crucial component in developing holistic, increasingly individualized, relevant, brand experiences in todays sometimes cold technological world.

5. Is a memorable business card the same as an effective business card?
No. An effective business card is always memorable but a memorable business card is not always effective. A poorly conceived and executed business card could be considered very memorable because of its inappropriate nature or poor quality. It’s important to remember that a professionally created brand can provide a strong competitive advantage and increased chance for success but a unprofessional or under developed brand can have the opposite effect destroying even the best intentions, products or services. It’s trite but true, perception is reality.

Eric Kass calls himself an artist. He has lived for 37 years in Indiana U.S.A. You may have seen his work 15 times in national magazines like Communication Arts, or in 18 books as in Graphis Logo 6, or possibly in over 25 art shows and galleries like the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. You could also have seen him on the street and not even known it. He has 15 years of varied design experience crafting award-winning, hard-working brands, identities, book covers and packaging for a wide range of international patrons from start-ups to in-house to agencies. In 2005 he founded Funnel : Eric Kass : Utilitarian + Commercial + Fine : Art ( www.funnel.tv ) a multidisciplinary art and design studio in Indianapolis, Indiana. Just to make you happy he also created Funnel Paper Goods ( www.funnelpapergoods.com ) a modern paper products brand featuring a line of premium gift wrap.