There are many articles about branding, and it also doesn’t take long to get an outstanding piece online. Lots of people consider branding as “mystical mumbo jumbo.” As I think web design is an element magic, I think that it’s also practical no nonsense stuff you gain knowledge from experience. As I learned yesterday, branding in it’s simplest form, is actually to deliver meaning and understanding.
I invited my colleague, Rudy Manning, of Pastilla Institute, a brand name and Design Agency in Pasadena, to lunch yesterday. I wanted to speak to him about his agency, what valuable lessons he’s learned, and what struggles and advice he had. I’m at a point where I’m looking at the a few things i do and wondering basically if i need to pivot; I’m wondering how I get to that elusive “next level.” It appears a lot of people have answers to those questions, and lots of them haven’t “been there.” I needed to speak to anyone who has. That’s Rudy, and that i wanted to listen to his story and share my takeaways.
Among the first things Rudy understood was that he needed to target what he enjoyed, what he did well. So he cut out most of the things he didn’t want to invest some time doing, or he found partners to manage those tasks. Whatever to be honest that you enjoy, or perhaps the thing that brings inside the most revenue is a superb place to begin when selecting the best places to focus your time and effort.
I am not keen on Cheesecake Factory. After all, sure, I enjoy the cheesecakes. However their menu is really a book. There are plenty of options! Why is there so many options? They obviously want to interest a wide array of tastes. Right? Having options isn’t necessarily bad, however the volume of choice often delays making decisions and, I feel, has contributed to our culture of our own desire to get the best this or perhaps the best that. You only need to know what’s good and move ahead.
An enormous selection or inventory doesn’t mean much if all you want is a damn good slice of pizza. In professional services, web, design, consulting, etc., I see lots of “full service” agencies offering every service in the sun. Many agencies handle this well, frequently they pull in partners to help with specific things. There’s no problem with that. However I do think an agency loses sight of what’s most significant and why is them unique whenever they pack on “all the things” to offer their customers.
In-n-Out has a small menu. Burger, Cheeseburger, and the revered Double Double. They may have fries, too, and the obligatory beverage selection. They serve a significant burger and have tried it doing this since forever, and it works. Their simplicity in menu selection affects all elements of their business. Their cooks know precisely what they’re cooking, so quality is far more consistent. Inventory issues aren’t anything they need to worry about since they don’t have a bunch of weird items to maintain. Meat, cheese, buns, along with the fixins. That’s it. It eliminates confusion by the employees all on the chain. It instills confidence with their customers since they trust that consistency every visit.
One of the things that Rudy shared with me was simply how much thought he dedicated to how he wanted individuals to perceive his business. It began with him asking me: “What kinds of projects and 28dexnpky are you presently dealing with?” I actually do a lot of small and mid-size business projects. He asked: “Do you need to progress up-market?” I do, naturally. Having Said That I shouldn’t ignore what has taken me to where I am just now.
My biggest takeaway was how Rudy changed the complexion of his business by only changing the language in their company’s name. He changed it from Pastilla Design Studio to Pastilla Institute. I am aware it’s more than just the language, it’s also the attitude, and it’s also how one conducts themselves like a business representative in front and rear.
Say those words to yourself. Each name conjures up different feelings and concepts. To me, when I was thinking of these names, Pastilla Institute immediately instilled confidence and professionalism; it taught me to assume that they did “big work.” And they also do big work, with clients like SAP and Microsoft. The only thing Rudy did was to alter the words, with that change, he made a different sort of brand.
He didn’t start to get bigger clients overnight, mind you. But it was the start of how he positioned himself like a brand design studio, and therefore would inform his future engagements, which he still were required to hustle for only like anybody else.
Have patience, trusting your gut, and ask do you need that bigger office? Should I need more staff now? etc. etc. Branding can be as much about how you steer your ship internally as it is about the name in your business card. Branding is trust and trust may be the gooey stuff inside of an identity.
I don’t spend lots of time thinking about the mechanics or the root information of branding, but after lunch, with Rudy, I can say I consider it much more differently than I have done before.