Branding is dead, long live design. Think a little about that.

As most of us know branding is a so-called marketing discipline encompassing (brand) strategy and… anybody???… design, of course. Why design? Because it is the only clearly documented way to convey as many messages as possible in one communication vehicle. Of course, real branding comes from the subliminal messages transmitted homogenous and constant, in time, by the intrinsic characteristics of the product or service. But in this era of abundance of products and services, how can a product or a service possibly transmit anything at all without a huge market presence and equally huge communications budgets, on and offline? There’s no way to do that, except for big, very big corporations.

Branding is not dead, I exaggerated a little, but it is not available, really, as a tool for the regular company or startup. People, get real, a normally sized company or a startup cannot develop a brand, they don’t have the means and the time. Designing a logo is not branding. Designing a nice company car outfit is not branding. Designing stationery and presentations is not branding. Designing identity standards is not branding. It is design, period. And design is a means to convey a personality and to dress up, fast and nice and honest, probably the most feasible and easy. And cost effective.

So, dear “regular” company and startup owners, managers, marketers and so on, please forget the word branding when you want to dress up appropriately for the party called the free market. Look up in a dictionary and find at letter D the word “design”. Design is perfectly capable of making you look nice, clean, fit, dressed up in a civil way, hopefully unique, maybe with a touch of “something” called personality if you choose carefully the designer. And please choose the one who speaks with you using the word “design” more often instead of big empty phrases containing “reputation”, “brand”, etc.

Your chance to develop a brand in this 21st-century clutter is going somewhere near zero. But your chance to develop a nice, lovable and (hopefully) unique personality using design is much bigger.