Don’t let the tail wag the dog

Advertising is only one expression of a brand. A brand strategy leads to a position. The position informs a creative direction which in turn guides all visual brand experiences.

These can be as diverse as website properties, campus signage, corporate videos or buildings look at this site. Products and people are the ultimate expressions of the brand. Advertising sits along side these other forms, not on top on of them.

Good advertising is impactful, it almost begs to be replicated and it can be tempting to start using advertising themes or imagery where they don’t belong: in other words to start letting our advertising tail wag our brand dog.

A brand’s visual identity should last for years with only slight tweaks and changes but advertising needs to be refreshed periodically, to stay relevant, to say something new.

In 1998 Coca Cola’s advertising said that it was “Always the real thing!”. That advertising is long gone but the Coke brand is essentially unchanged.

So when creating assets we need to ask, is this related to our current campaign or should this stand alone as its own expression of the brand?