003: Lies, damned lies, and branding processes.

    You can’t put lightning in a bottle. And you can’t put creativity in a chart.

    Ad agencies love to talk about their proprietary branding processes. You know the ones; they typically come complete with enticing names like Brandsplosion™ or Brand-cano®. Well, there’s something you should know about those processes—especially if you’re agency shopping: They’re a total farce.

    In reality, most of those branding methods are nothing more than sales tools. Their purpose isn’t to arm you with a unique and proprietary process. It’s to dupe you into believing a unique process exists—when, in reality, one doesn’t.

    Why the shenanigans? Because, unfortunately, lots of people fall for it.

    Those trademarked processes exist to create the illusion of a tangible and foolproof rebranding system—one that’s rooted in some sort of credible science. Because, after all, who wouldn’t pay for that? But there’s no science. And there’s no guaranteed outcome.

    To be clear, there is a grueling process involved in rebranding. But it’s not anything magical or unique. It’s due-damn-diligence. And any agency worth its salt is going to do it the right way.

    At The Flatland, our process is the same as pretty much every other agency. We do our research. We talk to internal and external stakeholders. We shop the competition. We identify unique selling points. We flesh out a defensible brand alignment map. Then, once we understand the big picture, we craft the physical elements of a brand—from logos and taglines to television spots and websites.

    And, having done this for many years, here’s the advice we’d give you: The process isn’t what matters. What really matters is the people you hire to undertake it.

    The entire Brand-cano® process—as remarkable as it sounds—is all for naught if it’s handled by unremarkable talent.