Becoming A Brand Master

with
Marty Neumeier

You can also watch this interview on my YouTube channel.

Table of Contents

  1. Differentiate
  2. Collaborate
  3. Innovate
  4. Validate
  5. Cultivate

*PS. Below you will find an auto-generated transcript of this episode.

Introduction

Marty Neumeier:
Understanding how brands work will make your work so much more powerful and give you access to better projects, because you're thinking in a way that matters to a business.

Arek Dvornechuck:
What's up branding experts? Arek here at Ebaqdesign, and my guest today is Marty Neumeier. And Marty is a brand consultant now, but he began his career as a designer working for over 15 years in brand design and advertising and soon he added writing and strategy to his repertoire. And move to Silicon valley to work with big bands like Apple, Adobe, Kodak, HP and hundreds of others. And now Marty works as a director or CEO Branding at Liquid Agency. And Marty has also written several best-selling books, including "The Brand Gap", which is a book outlining how to bridge the distance between brand strategy and design. And this is the book we are going to talk about today. So Marty is the foremost expert when it comes to brand strategy. And that's why I really wanted to have him on our podcast today to talk about becoming a bandmaster and almighty, thank you so much for taking the time to join us on our podcast. Okay. So first I want to say to our listeners that the book is, is probably quite different than anything else out there in the sense that the book is, is brief, but, uh, don't get me wrong. The book is very informative and it's packed with lots of great tips. And as Marty explains himself, I know you're a busy, my goal is to get you started right away. So you can read most of my books on a sort of plane, right? So there is no fluff, no filler smarter, just get straight down to the point, which I really like, okay, mark, this, you present in your book, five disciplines. I wanted to make this podcast actionable for our listeners. And talk about a bit about each of those five disciplines. Okay. But we thought we'd do that. I wanted to start with a basic question. What is a brand? Because it might be a trivial question for some, but I think it's important to just get us on the same page. So whether it is for designers who want to become a strategist or for entrepreneurs interested in brand strategy, so different experts will define what a brand is differently. So what's your best definition of what is a brand

Marty Neumeier:
I'd like to start with what a brand isn't, because there's so many definitions out there and I find most of them unhelpful. So if the goal is to be helpful to today, to, to your listeners, um, I first have to kind of address all the other definitions, which aren't completely false, but they're just not very useful. So the F the first one is that a brand is a logo. People often stay, look at the, on that package there, can we make that brand a little bit bigger? Uh, what they mean is the logo or the trademark. Um, and we just have to that's, that's the oldest wrong definition, uh, out there. In fact, that's completely wrong that a brand is a logo or a logo is a brand. We have to just get rid of that. And so what, let's move on to another one. That's a little harder to get rid of. Some people say brand, when they mean a product, like what, which brand did you buy? That's wrong too. You can't buy a brand. You can buy a product, come back to that one. The other one is that this is a more sophisticated run. A brand is the sum of all impressions, all the impressions we get about a product, a service, or a company, add those all up. And that's the brand. That's very appealing to people in the advertising business, for example, because they, they want to sell impressions, right? They get paid by the impression they get a percentage of each impression. So the more impressions they sell the better. So that's the way they presented the sum of all impressions. So let's create a lot of impressions, but anybody in the business knows that not all impressions are created equal, right? So some things aren't impressive at all. They they're, they're not even impressions. You don't even notice them. Other ones are huge. They're super important. So that's not a very useful definition. Another one to address is the one that I hear from CEOs and leaders of companies, which is, they say our brand is our promise to our customers. That's not entirely wrong. A brand does create a sort of implied promise, but typically you're not telling people, we promise to, you know, fill in the blank. Then we never say that, you know, it's something that customers take from what you're doing. They see an implied promise, and that's good, but it doesn't help you to think of a brand as a promise, just discount all those. And I think the best way to look at a brand is to think about it as a person's gut, feeling about a company, product or service. It's a gut feeling because people are attracted to companies and products, emotionally, as much as we like to think, we make our buying decisions. Logically there is a bit of logic, but mostly we make them because it's an emotional connection that we feel strongly about or strong enough to make a purchase to gut feeling. And so right there that makes it more difficult right now. And now we're dealing with gut feelings instead of actual data and, you know, things like that. So it's a person's gut feeling, not a company's gut feeling company's got feeling is not going to create the brand. It's what customers think of you. Again, a brand is a person's gut feeling about a company, product or service. Now what that says to anybody creating brands is it's not important. What you say the brand is as the company, it's what customers say. It is. The customer defines what the brand is. And once you know that, then you realize, well, that's where the work is. The work is in people's heads. You've got to how they think about your product or your service. So, and that's what has happened. You have to change people's minds, you have to change their lives. And that means knowing about summers really deeply,

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right? So just to sum up for our listeners, our brand is not a logo and it's not a product or service. It's just a person's gut feeling. And each person is going to have a different feeling, right?

Marty Neumeier:
Every person has a different brand of you. The goal is to get as many people thinking about it the same way as you can, but you can never get everyone thinking the same way. So do the best you can, but you need to know what people are thinking. And you also need to know which customers bought, not going to get them all, which customers do you want, and which customers can you get based on your offering, because those customers be your customer tribe. And typically they have in common with each other. And that's why you want to pick carefully. You want a strong tribe because you're working with them because they're buying your products. You make them a stronger tribe, stronger people, because the strongest tribe, usually in the long-term, you don't want to be selling to people who don't have the money, or aren't loyal in nature, or are only looking at you as a transaction. You know, those kinds of things don't make for a good tribe. So you want the best people you can get. You may have to compete with other companies to do that right, to get those people. So that's where the work is. And so branding is a lot of strategy and it's also execution. So you can have great strategy and it could on paper look like it's going to really drive success for the company, but you have to execute that. And that's where design and creativity comes in. And that's no easy trick to get really good design that's on strategy. And that's going to change people's minds and win their hearts. That's the connection we have to make between design and strategy. They have to connect and they haven't connected for a long time. That's the movement that's happening that we're calling branding is to get those two things together, strategy and customer experience.

Arek Dvornechuck:
And that's the premise of your book, right? So it takes both strategy and creativity. So good strategy and good creativity. Also, you point out in your book that the problem is that the strategists think differently. They are more analytical, logical, linear, or concrete, and designers are more like emotional, intuitive. They think visual, physical, that's the premise of the book. There is a gap between them and we need to work together as a team to bridge that gap and to build a charismatic brand, right? That's it. And

Marty Neumeier:
Interestingly, those two ways of coming at the world, one is sort of the logical way. And the other one is more creative way mirror. The way our brains work, the human brain is divided into two halves. And the feeling is that one half is much stronger in the creative side and the other half is stronger on the analytical side. And that's the way society is broken up too. There's people that are good at one and not good. The other, most people are better at one than the other. A few people are good at both. They're strategic and they're creative. They're analytical and really imaginative at the same time though. But those people are rare. Maybe one in 10, people are like that. Most people fall to one side or the other because they are really successful doing it. That way. We learned that early on in our lives, which of the two sides are best for us. And we work at, you know, we learned to be better at that. And then for us, the world starts to look like that. To us. We think everything should be creative or everything analytical depending on our orientation to the world. No, we are

Arek Dvornechuck:
Going to take a quick break here, but we'll be right back. Listen. My mission is to help people build and design iconic brands. So whether you're a business leader who wants to become more intentional with branding and all of its aspects, or you're a creative professional who wants to attract powerful clients and surely be able to help them with branding, then you need to start with a discovery session in order to develop a strategy that will inform all your creative work and everything that you need in order to learn how to do that. You can find in my online courses at com slash show, where I share with you, my worksheets, case studies, video tutorials, and all the additional resources to help you feel safe and strong about your process. Now let's get back to our interview.

Marty Neumeier:
Now in business, a business makes up for analytical people because it ties into math. So well ties into profits and dollars and everything. It's a natural to get political people into a business. It's not so natural to get creative people. And that's the missing element. So when you get people involved in a well-organized business, it produces greatness. I look at apple slightly more on the creative side than on the business side, but pretty well. And so you get these great products that actually work, and you get this tribe of people that are crazy for the company. They just love it. And they were going anywhere else. Okay. So, so that comes from having a charism. That's a charismatic brand where you get both sides, analytical and creative working together. So yeah, that's the gap. And I've been working for almost 12 years to close that gap and I'm seeing good progress, but you know, this is going to take a long time because we've had a century of people discounting native thinking, the left brain, which is the analytical brain acts that bully the other side of the brain. It's smart enough to be a bully. Whereas creative people tend to not be bullied. They're open they're everything. They're open to experience their brains. Don't work that way. That's another reason that creativity has been kind of blocked in a lot of companies, but now it's quite different in companies are actively looking for creative people. And now we've got to create real progress and business.

1. Differentiate

Arek Dvornechuck:
Bending is the process of connecting good strategy with good creativity that brings to talking about those five disciplines of branding, right? So starting with discipline, number one, which is differentiate. So here you talk about three basic questions that we need to find compelling us to be in order to build a charismatic brand, right? So those three questions are, who are you? What do you do? And why does it matter? And as you say in your book, and I also have experienced that with my clients, that most companies have trouble us reading them, especially the second and the third one. So why does it matter? That could be a quite problematic question to us where, so can you talk to us a bit about this first discipline and perhaps give us some examples of sort of brands. The three

Marty Neumeier:
Questions are about three different aspects of a business. Who are you? What do you do as a matter, why are you is who are the founders of the group? Why are they doing it? What's their passion, their passion do this. What's the vision of this company. You know what, what's the purpose of this company in a broader context, you know, beyond making money, what are they trying to do? People want to know that? So that's really important. Second question is pretty easy. It's what business are you in? In other words, what is the category that you're selling? Oh, it's a retail bank. Oh, well, we sell, you know, the software or, you know, whatever it is, you need to know where you're playing, what you know, name, the playing field that you're on. So that's pretty easy. The last question is hard. Why does it matter? That's really getting at the definition of a brand. Why does it matter to customer? Why should they care? Why should they choose you over a competitor? The answer to that one is usually rooted. Different customers have to see you as different in some important way that does something right, that they want. If you're the only one, they have no choice, but to come to you and pay whatever you want to charge, if they can afford it, if they see that you're the only one and they can't afford it, you know, maybe someday they will, they'll go someplace else because they can't afford the best, but they definitely have an idea of what's the best. And that's very valuable for a company to be seen as is the best at something. And typically the best isn't about doing higher quality products or services that doing something different and being seen as the only in that industry for your customers. And then they'll do anything to have that, to choose that product service over the other ones. So you have to have that. So differentiation is the basis of any good brand without that you're stuck. You're not going to go anywhere.

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right. Also it's about specialization here, right? It's about being super focused and also, right. You should be number one in your car to go to any, if you cannot then, you know, define another category, right? So

Marty Neumeier:
If you're, if you're number one or number two, or maybe number three, if you're number five or number seven in the ranking, in your customer's mind, the only way you can win is by just suffering. You know, just getting lucky and making a few sales or lowering your price so that you can compete. That's not a good thing to do. So if you're lowering your price just to compete, that's your branding. Uh, you should be different enough where you don't have to lower your price. So if yourself below lowering your price, been a customer, then go back to where one you're out, your differentiation be more different in some way, it was finding a niche, finding some space that you can own. It's important to customers, enough customers to build a business on.

2. Collaborate

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right. Okay. So the second discipline, uh, we're going to talk about is collaborate, right? So can you talk about how brands are built and why collaboration models and basically the premise of this, the second discipline is that it takes collaboration to build a brand. So it's just not about executives and marketing people who manage the brand, but also are all sort of, you know, the, uh, specialists like strategy consultants, design, funerals, PR firms, advertising agencies, industrial designers, and so on. Branding requires a team of specialists. They're sharing ideas and working together towards a common goal. So can you just talk to us a bit about this second discipline? Yeah. So

Marty Neumeier:
Collaboration requires people, right? Like with any, you don't want everybody to have the same skill. Well, nobody's going to have all the skills. You don't want a football team, or every player is a kicker, right? Passers and whatever, or you're blank. You want variety on your team and you want every player on the team to go really deep into something, to be really expert at something and probably not very expert at other things. So that means you need to collaborate. So, you know, so it's those two things go together, specialize and collaborate. So you become a specialist and work with other people, uh, in the capacity that, you know, best. If you're a graphic designer, you want to be the graphic designer on the team, right? If you're a business consulting firm, you want to be the business consulting firm or that team. So everybody needs to specialize and then they can work together. So a good example is, uh, he would works on a collaborative model. So Hollywood is just a big industry where you have a lot of specialists. You have actors, you have directors, you have set designers, you have sound people. You have, you have artists who work on backgrounds and you, you know, just like hundreds of people, you you've sat in a movie and watched all the credits and you go, how can so many people work together on one two-hour movie? I mean, it's thousands of people. Well, because that's what it takes. And this is the same with the brand. A big brand takes quite a bit of people somewhere on the inside of the company. Some are on the outside. And so what you do is you build a big team to make that movie. And when the movie is done, large park team, go back to their businesses and they go and do a movie for somebody else. They just, they go back into their, uh, their, their specialties and get another client. So that's the sensor bill too. So someone has to orchestrate all that too. You know, I mean, that's a lot of P two. And so you need new ways to do that. You need like brand Bree. You need someone to manage the whole project. You need team managers, you need a lot of coordination. And so if you don't know how to that, or you've never worked on a team successfully, probably not gonna get a chance to, because you know, you have to sort of work your way into this, this knowledge out of work with people. And when you, when people find out you're a really good collaborator, they'll want you on their team in the, but it's not something that's taught in design school or in business school, how to collaborate. It's just not. So that's one of the teaching in our first course or brand or class masterclass one. So that's the importance of that. No brands are built by one person.

3. Innovate

Arek Dvornechuck:
Okay. So, uh, and the next discipline is innovate. So here we talk about the importance of execution. So if you have good strategy, but poor execution is not going to work, as you mentioned at the beginning. So in this part, you talk about innovation that it requires creativity, which means thinking fresh ways, right? So can you just give us an overview of this third discipline and how you see that? Yeah.

Marty Neumeier:
It's really important not to do what everybody else is doing. And what's hard about that is most of us, the way we learn is by imitating other people, right? We see somebody do something and then we go, I can do that. And we practice a bit and we get good at it. And we admire people's skills. And so we want to have those skills too. And that's great. That's good for learning, craft, whatever you're learning. You know, you have to learn by watching other people, but to succeed in a brand situation, you have to go further than that. And then you have to do something that's never been done before. A lot. You have to do a lot of that. You have to always be thinking in fresh ways. You don't have to be completely innovative, but you need to be at least fresh. You need to surprise people. Surprises is half the battle. And branding is surprising customers with what you create, what you say, all those kinds of things surprise them in a good way, because if there's no surprise, they understand that there's not anything new here. If there's nothing new, there can't be anything really valuable that they'll want to pay for here. If there's nothing valuable, then you're a, basically a commodity and you have to lower your price. So, um, being surprising in the right way is really important. So that's what innovation does for branding. And it can do it at the product level. At the messaging level, at the business model level, innovation is super important. And yet it's, again, not something that's taught in school as a subject, and it should be because without it, you're just not going to build an important company, right? You're just not, you're going to be a commoditized company where you're selling your products on price. You have to do something different, but of course you can be different and not be good, right? There's a lot of different things that are just bad. And that's probably why they're different. There has to be different and good. Those two things have to come together. When you can put those two things together, you've got the basis of a very strong offering where you find that kind of thinking is in the creative arena, you don't find it so much in business schools. You know, business schools teach you to mitigate risk, to play it safe, to protect the company, to keep it running smoothly, like, like piloting a ship between reefs. You gotta be really careful. Don't wreck the ship. That's a lot of what, uh, an MBA teaches you to do. Design school teaches you to go right for what customers love and create some experience for them. That's magic. So that's way different than what you learn in business school, but you need both to create a very strong brand. So that's logic plus magic,

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right? And the, also in this part, in the book, just for you guys, really give us principles for coming up with a good brand name. What are the qualities of a good brand name? You talk also about icons, packaging, web designers, so on. So if you guys want to learn more, I invite you to check out the book.

Marty Neumeier:
So my background is in design. That's all I ever wanted to be when I was younger, just as a designer, I started moving into branding because I realized that design is not very powerful on its own. It's only powerful when it connects with something that matters to businesses and branding is that area where design and business success overlap. So that's why you want to be in branding and not just design. If you're a designer, understanding how brands work will make your work so much more powerful and give you access to better projects, because you're thinking in a way that matters to a business. But that doesn't mean that all the other stuff you do, isn't super important. All that craft stuff that you do, all that quality that you put into everything really important. And don't ever cut back on that. There's such a need for that, but it's just, if you want the best projects and the most influence in the world, connect your design work to branding,

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right? So that's for, for you guys go on to become strategist. And, and I can definitely relate to that because all I wanted to do when I started, when I was 16, I just wanted to design and I love designing. But as you already mentioned, design on its own, it doesn't give you that much power. You actually need to get to know how business people think and to be able to explain some of your creative choices and work with them. So I really appreciate you and all the content you're putting out to teach us as designers and open our minds and learn how actually branding works. You know how we should combine strategy with design, right? Not just,

Marty Neumeier:
If you want to be a strategist, you don't have to be a strategist, have to be a designer who understands strategy. So you know how to contribute to the whole project in a way that really makes a difference. And also it allows you to get better work because you can talk about it, right? If you can talk about strategy and how your work is strategic, oh, it probably will double the value of your work. At least the perceived value with customers. And so that's what a lot of designers never, they just want to do the work and they don't understand why they never getting the best projects and other people are getting them that maybe those other people aren't even very good designers. Well, they're probably not, not, but they're probably understanding something that you don't about how business works, right? So you just don't want to let them take the stage when you should be on the stage, you should be the one doing it. If you're the better designer, you need to have those jobs, not those other people who don't know how to design all they have is some information about business. So just don't let that happen a lot about this so that you can elbow them offstage,

4. Validate

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right? So you don't have to be a strategist, but you should be a strategic designer. Okay. So the discipline number four is to validate, right? So we need to violate our ideas and turn our, while the gases into more educated ones. So whether it is about new packaging or a brand name, you talk in this part about validating ideas and getting feedback, right? And there are different ways, you know, quantitative studies research and qualitative research. And I know that the premise of this part is that quantitative studies, they just lead to like analysis paralysis and small improvements, and at least have a lack of courage. And this is something we've talked about earlier. So focus groups, they don't bring best results. And you would actually advise us to do more of qualitative research quick and dirty and one-on-one interviews. And you also present us with different tools, select swap tests, test the concept, test the field test and so on. And so if you could just talk about some of those tools so we can understand the concept.

Marty Neumeier:
Well, I started learning about these because I was asked to way back in the late eighties, when I was doing a huge project for apple redesigning all their software packaging, they had their own software company because in the beginning there weren't enough diverse apple had to start. They had to get the ball rolling by putting out their own, super into the company. It's the make or break part of the company. And because I had decided to specialize that word again, right? I differentiated my company, specialized in software packaging for retail. I got the job. And part of it in the process of designing all this, I was asked by the president to test these designs because there was a difference of opinion on which designs were going to work the best, and they really needed these packages to sell. And so I course will have to figure out like, what are all these, oh, you know, what's possible. And that led to a huge awakening for me to the power of testing, to better design, not to hold back to them, but to lead you into directions that you would never be able to go because you just didn't have the insights or couldn't convince the client or the bot to go along with your idea, because it was too bold, right? So bold ideas get shot down in the absence of proof. If you can't prove your bold ideas going to work, then who's going to take you up on that. That'd be crazy. So you have to be able to test your prototypes, prove that something is going to work, and then you get permission to do something amazing, but you have to prove it. So how do you do that? I'm just a designer or, you know, what do I know? Well, I found out I didn't have to be a professional researcher to get this job done, to satisfy even a client as sophisticated as apple. I just had to have something. And so we started just testing packaging in a store in various stores and found out all kinds of things. People didn't know about packaging software and all kinds of things. People didn't know about design, even designers because designers never test their work. They just like, oh, I just thought it would be cool. So I did it well. Um, yeah, it can be cool, but you want to know whether it's going to work or not in the marketplace before you spent and millions of dollars on it or hundreds or whatever, you know, whatever level you're on. You want to, I don't know if this is going to work or be a waste of money. So the testing is the answer to that. And focus groups is kind of like the common answer you say, oh, we're going to test these designs. And people say, oh, focus groups. You know, they love to say focus groups, focus groups are easy to put on. You go to a firm and they got a room. You can stand behind the glass. And the people in the groups can see you and you can listen to all this stuff. And it's just all a bunch of opinions, right? I mean, it's its own focus groups were invented to focus research. So it's a way to find out what's important about a brand. I'm going to find out what people are thinking. Then we'll focus our research on that, that thing. It's not a method of choosing the best design. You know, it's not, it's horrible for that. So what you have to do is create situations where customers can see whatever you're doing in a realistic situation, as realistic as possible. And you have to ask the right questions. One-on-one not in a group for patterns, look for patterns in what they say. And if you do this as the creative person or a strategist, you're going to go, oh, that's what happening here. Okay. See how they're thinking about it. And you'll learn things that you've never would have guessed. And so you get insights from this, and then you go back to the drawing board and you do better work because now you know what people are thinking. And when you do that, your work can be two, three times as powerful as just winging it. The other thing it does, if you have a creative firm or you're a freelancer or whatever that, you know, you're running your own business, you can get work based on your ability to test your own work. Like if that's built into it, it's like I always test my own work. And that part of the price is that, yes, the price is higher. But when you work with me, you get a proven result. You feel confident about what we're doing. So it's not my opinion of what's best. It's not your opinion of what's best. Neither of us has the answer. The answer lives with customers because, you know, they say it is right. It's not what you say it is. It's what they say it is. We need to find out how they're receiving our work before we finalize it. Very simple. And nobody does it, but I've been doing this for 30 years and there's no way I do a significant project without testing various parts of it, because I really do want to be successful.

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right. I think that what's really interesting here is those different tests, right? Like swap tests and test the concept tests and so on. So for example, just for your guys here, listening here is here, for example, one of those tests, right? So we have the, the nationwide and Polaroid and I happened to ward on the rebrand of nationwide. So basically I worked with Jeremiah and Geismar as a designer. So if you can swap the name, any part of the logo. Right. And if it looks, yeah. If it works better for another company, can't be as

Marty Neumeier:
Good as possible. Isn't right. Because it's better just by using somebody else's symbol. Right. So you know that yours isn't good. It should be perfect for that company. When you're doing that, love, it should work for nobody else. Nobody else would be able to use that symbol or that

Arek Dvornechuck:
Name. Exactly. So does the swab test and another, for example, hand test where you basically, if you cover the logo and you can still recognize the brand by messaging, by tone of voice by, you know, all the visuals, that's a good sign, but if you cannot, that's a bad sign, right? You don't

Marty Neumeier:
Want to have to depend on a logo to do all the work. Logos are super important. Probably the most, the logo and the name are the most important touch point of a brand, but they don't carry all the way. There are elements, important elements, and they have to be right, but you shouldn't expect them to do it everything. Right. That's very old school. It's like, let's just get a good logo and a good name and be consistent with all the colors. And we're done branding does that, maybe it was okay back in the fifties, but the definition of a brand has changed. The understanding of a brand has grown quite a bit. So we know that there are many other important touch points also.

Arek Dvornechuck:
Okay. Okay. So let's talk about the last discipline, which is called Evert. So here you point out that our business is a process is a living. Organism is not an entity. So can you talk about consistency versus inconsistency or imperfection, which I think is really interesting. So can you just talk about this last discipline and what do you mean by consistency versus inconsistency and imperfection? Why we should strive for perfection? Always since

Marty Neumeier:
It takes a lot of collaboration to build a brand, you really need to build your whole company around your brand. The company should be built and organized to support that brand. This is where a lot of companies fall down and they haven't figured that out yet. Like the brand is the most important thing. And we need everybody to work on that brand. I don't care what department they're in. Finance included. You have to be very aware of the main asset of a company and for successful companies, that brand is more than half of the value of the company. This is really important, right? So you need to build the whole culture around it. So this is kind of like something that happens between the CEO and human relations, you know, somewhere in there and organization designers have to be in on all this stuff. The other point that you mentioned was that a brand doesn't have to be perfect. It's true. I mean, in fact, perfection is boring. Who wants that? What they want to see is a real life thing. They want to see some humanity in a brand. So that means you can make mistakes and maybe it's okay to make mistakes. But what do you do when you have a mistake? You apologize, you admit your mistake, you apologize for it. And you fix it publicly. That doesn't make you a weaker culture that makes you a stronger culture. Brewers will love you. If you have a problem or make a mistake and you apologize and fix it, then they start to see that you're real. You're relatable. It's these companies that never admit mistakes. And everything's perfect. It's like, who wants to be involved with that? It's like, it's like, if you have, if you got a friend who acted like that, you wouldn't feel very close to that friend. You would just say, this person is very private and impenetrable. I don't know what they're thinking. It's hard for me to relate to this person, consistency, which used to be how you built a brand is you've got a logo and some callers and messaging and you always stay on brand. You never change. Right? You just like, you just pound on that thing through advertising and repetition. Well, that doesn't really make sense anymore. If you're trying to be a living thing, it's okay. If your logo isn't the same every time, or you have different ways of showing up, as long as it doesn't confuse anybody, as long as they know it's you, that only helps. Right? I mean, there are companies that change their logo lock have 15 different logos, but they're all part of the set that they use and kind of a feeling that they have. And people love that. You know, it depends on what kind of company it is. I don't expect IBM to be changing their logo for every particular use, but I don't mind it for Nickelodeon. I don't mind it for MailChimp. You know, they have the Chimp and the Chimp is different every time. It's just great. It's just better. Designers can relax about that. The main thing is that you're creating a character, you're building a character, building the company into a character and characters have flaws. They do some things well of the things they don't do. Well, BMW is all about precision and kind of snobby approach to driving. You know, like we're the best, the most sophisticated, but you don't see the ultimate driving machine, but you don't expect BMW to show a lot of empathy, you know, for people and neither do the drivers, right? At least in the U S are they drive faster than everyone? Well, the rules don't apply to them. They're arrogant in a sense, but that's one of the flaws that you put up with, if you want to be that brand that, you know, that's, that's that character, the flaws, just make it more interesting. I wouldn't necessarily try to be perfect. I would try to be something. I would try to be a definable character that everyone can understand and relate to and care about. They have to care about this company, like what happens to, to want the company to win right. For them if the company wins.

5. Cultivate

Arek Dvornechuck:
So that's what it means when you say our brand is a living organism. Okay. So as we are approaching the end of our interview, can you just let us know either for designers who want to learn more from, I know that you organize workshops and seminars. So maybe for designers who want to get certified brand strategists or for entrepreneurs and business owners who want to work with you, how can we get in touch with you?

Marty Neumeier:
Yes. Thing is to go on and buys one or more of my books. They're easy to read there. They take to read a book and you'll be reading them probably for years and years, going back to them, that's the way I have designed them. So that's the first thing. And for people that already know my books and want to go further, they can get involved in the level C program, levelc.org. And it's a five tier learning program for people who want to be expert in branding, right? So it's about brand mastery. You have to work your way up from the bottom to the karate school. We'll be having other sorts of classes also besides the five main ones. But those are the ones that are going to take you to the level you want to go. And those that are available, I mean, we used to do these only in person like in London and Los Angeles and Philadelphia, places like that. But because of the pandemic, we started doing them online and they're very popular online. So, um, it's, it makes it easy for people to attend these things. You know, when the pandemic goes away, we'll be doing live and we'll always be doing the online ones too, because it's a great experience. They like it lasts a week. It's just two days and you, it tends to be a little evolving. So that's, I would look at, see, you know, if you're interested for masterclass one and see what's where that takes you. So everything we talked about today is in masterclass one. So masterclass one based on The Brand Gap, masterclass two is advanced strategy. And that goes deeper into differentiation. This is for people that strategist at least have a strategy component to their work. And so, but you have to take masterclass one first. Right?

Arek Dvornechuck:
Okay. So I'm going to include those links to your website in the description. So thank you so much for taking the time to coming on the show. I really appreciate it. Thanks,

Marty Neumeier:
Arek. My pleasure. Hope to see you soon.

Arek Dvornechuck:
Follow me on social media, for more tips on branding strategy and design. And I will see you in the next one.

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