What happens when your project doesn’t fit inside the brand box?

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Jul 01

What happens when your project doesn’t fit inside the brand box?

by Jonathan Cleveland

What happens when your project doesn’t fit inside the brand box?

We often receive rather interesting requests to develop something out of the ordinary, though, and no matter how unusual or extreme the project, the client's first concern is typically to ensure that we stay on brand.

  • Can an ice sculpture be on brand?
  • How about an exhibit booth constructed of shipping containers?
  • Or an event backdrop covered in moss and birch branches?

We think it's certainly possible, though it requires a delicate balance of creativity and brand strategy.

Smart companies around the world invest a great deal in developing and supporting their brands, and companies like ours go to great lengths coaching clients to be true to them. But sometimes brand standards can be taken so literally that special opportunities to engage, entertain and impress your audience go unrecognized in favor of what is safe, and—(all too often) expected. Sigh.

Stretching a brand (without breaking it) is OK.

We've done quite a few interesting projects that would certainly qualify as "outside the brand box." In each case, by creatively interpreting and applying the brand attributes, we were able to deliver a fun, engaging, and memorable brand experience.

So the question becomes, "How can you have fun stretching your brand without going completely out of bounds?"

The answer, ironically, can be found in your brand standards document. Go back to your guide and review your brand's attributes—the core values that reflect the essence of your brand. These attributes identify the brand's physical, character and personality traits, and serve as a barometer against which to test your ideas.

If your brand attributes define the brand as "conservative, established, and trusted," you'll know your audience may not respond to a project that screams, "humorous, irreverent, and unpredictable." But the "stretch" project—the one that remains true to the brand while delivering something slightly unexpected—might conjure slightly different descriptors, like "witty, savvy and respected."

The key is to be creative enough to deliver something unexpected, without being so foreign in nature that the audience doesn't relate to the brand experience at all. It's a gray area, but that's where you'll find your biggest opportunities for greatness.

From the inside, it can sometimes be challenging to see—and seize—opportunities to go beyond the realm of the expected. An outside team like Cleveland can help you uncover your ideas—the ones your inner critic may be silencing—and collaborate with you to identify additional opportunities. We work with companies on all aspects of brand development and delivery, including the well crafted "brand stretch." It's a great way to invigorate and engage your audience, and bring one more aspect of your brand's personality to life.

Want to find out more on how we can help you shine? Get in touch. We'd be happy to share more with you.

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