I’ve got a new column up at BusinessWeek, focusing on the process of creating a brand. It’s causing me no small amount of grief trying to serve up functional value in 900 words. Opinions are easy in that amount of space, but functional substance is difficult, unless you spread it over many installations. It’s humbling that in my 3rd year of writing that column, I’m still learning how to work the medium effectively.
My biggest fear is that the column was more interesting to write than it is to read. I’ve had the tremendous privilege of working for the past seven years with two of the best strategic designers in the brand game–Russ Baker and Kenichi Nishiwaki–and learning firsthand just how strategic design can be in crystallizing the value a company provides to its customers, not to mention galvanizing the corporate culture. For so many of the clients we’ve served, the aesthetic process of determining their corporate or product brand was a seminal experience–a rare opportunity for the company to look in the mirror and make critical discoveries about who they are, as well as choices about who they want to be. There’s very little patience for that kind of process these days.
Let me know if the column stands on its own. If not, I’ll push on some the ideas a little more, and maybe even rope Russ and Kenichi into offering some of their own thoughts.