Oana! It’s always refreshing to hear the point of view of “non-specialists”. I think we “design people” tend to get so locked up in our own heads that we forget there’s a whole real world out there that we are actually designing and strategising for. Or at least should! Too often both designers and strategists do work for their own peers to appreciate, instead of for creating impact in the real world.
And yes, more than ever I agree that in this process of proving how far we can stretch ourselves, we completely overdo it… Over-brand things. Over-design. Over-think. And the value of the actual product gets lost.
On the other hand, even is brands like Patagonia, Hiut, Everlane, Heist Studios do invest in their own brand. In materials, in packaging, in relationships with customers, in the retail experience, in the digital experience. And that’s all built on a clear and powerful foundation — that’s brand. They don’t advertise loud and constantly nagging, they don’t retail ostentatiously, they don’t put huge logos on every single inch of product. Instead they believe in something and they relentlessly prove that in everything they do. That’s also branding.
My view is that brand is a relationship. And like in any other relationship, you need to find a balance, otherwise you can easily end up smothering the other one.
I would really like to hear more from you! I’m going to share (soon!) the questions we discusses at our live Brand+Bread meeting and, perhaps, if you feel inspired, maybe you can share with us your answer to one of them!