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D&AD: The nature of branding is changing, so what does Branding 2.0 look like?

11 July, 2011 - Source: Else

Warren was invited to contribute to the continuing Branding 2.0 debate by D&AD.

  • The nature of branding is changing
    The nature of branding is changing

Warren was invited to contribute to the continuing Branding 2.0 debate, found here on the D&AD website (Update: page has been removed).

A premise was provided by SomeOne’s Simon Manchipp, whilst Warren and Russle Holmes from ico Design responded.

Read the full here article on the D&AD site (Update: page has been removed).


Here is Warren’s response:


“My point is straight forward: as digital channels become evermore ubiquitous the way in which customers interact with brands completely changes. Therefore traditional brand practice needs to adapt. In-fact it should already have adapted.


The conversation about brand guidelines, logos, typography, etc. hasn’t got to stop – of course not – this is all part of the design toolkit. However ‘branding’ is no longer about those things described within guidelines because brands aren’t surface mounted. They were, they’re not now and haven’t been for ages.


We live in a post-broadcast era where brands no longer get to shout about how ‘good’ they are. Digital ubiquity and our subsequent interconnectedness means customers are more informed than ever about the things they buy. People trust peer reviews (90%) more than advertising (14%) which means someone will or will not buy something from you based on review by someone that they’ve never met, in a country they’ve never been to. You can bet those reviews were not written using tone of voice guidelines.


Given that people’s perception of brands are now driven by the experiences they have of them, attention needs to focus more readily on ensuring the dots are joined across a business to provide the best possible customer experience.


This is the only way to deal with change, and that is to deliver the goods.


For example, let’s take retail banking – all high street banks could have interoperable and easy to use websites, mobile apps, phone, in-store and SMS services (they could), but if they all did so in the same way, where is the point of difference? Why go with Bank A over B?


The brand comes alive through how it works, not through what it looks like or how it says it will work. The fact that it ‘just works’ means that no matter which channel customers choose, they get the experience they are after. This is about Branding behaviour.


There’s no point shouting about how much better your bank is if the cross-channel interoperability lets you down. If it stinks, it stinks.


When we talk about ‘Design with a big D’ this is the kind of design challenge that we mean, creating cohesive and interoperable cross-channel experiences. This is a big, complicated ugly problem and as businesses move to a connected state, ensuring that everything pulls in one direction is the real branding challenge.


Having worked within in-house design teams I have a sense of what it takes to make design work internally. There are many organisational, cultural and technological barriers to providing the best experience for customers. Though it’s probably the work you do with the guy in the server room that will help you deliver that cohesive, cross-channel customer experience and not an overpriced guideline book thrown over the fence at you by a design superstar.”

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