Small Shifts, Major Currents: The Power of Details in Branding

Leoni Janssen
In the world of branding, as in swimming, the power of one detail to transform the entire experience is often underestimated. Allow me to explore how altering a single element in the complex process of branding has a cascading effect, enhancing or diminishing every other aspect of a company's brand identity.

In the world of branding, as in swimming, the power of one detail changing the entire experience is often underestimated. Allow me to explore how altering a single element in the complex process of branding has a cascading effect, enhancing or diminishing every other aspect of a company's brand identity.

Let's draw a parallel from swimming. Imagine you're learning to swim freestyle, struggling with several aspects: breathing technique, arm stroke, leg kick, and body position. It can be overwhelming to focus on all these simultaneously. [I know because that beginner swimmer, working hard three times a week is me.] Then, you introduce a small change, like using fins (zoomers) which I started using last Saturday to improve my swimming overall. This minor adjustment lifts your legs, aligning your body better in the water. Suddenly, you're not just correcting your leg position; your breathing eases, arm strokes become more effective, and you swim faster with less effort. This single change creates a ripple effect, improving your overall performance ánd experience.

Similarly, in branding, improving one key element can significantly uplift the entire branding process and its outcome. When we say ‘an element’, think of: 

When one of these elements is optimized (or isnt), it doesn't just influence that aspect; it lifts the entire brand or not, the rebranding result and most importantly reduces costs and improves brand value. 

For instance, a logo might not be the brand itself, but having a great one (fit for purpose and aligned with all other elements,) will significantly impact if and how customers perceive and connect with the brand. A logo that resonates with the company's values and appeals to its target audience can make the company more memorable and distinguishable, thereby enhancing its overall brand value.

The same principle applies to other elements like company narrative, website design, or even attitudes and actions. Each of these components play a crucial role in shaping the brand's identity, the clarity of the message and the trust it establishes with its audience. 

Do you know what the effects are when they align? The brakes come off! Like with the swimmer who stopped dragging herself down.  

Sample Table with Cell Spacing
Swim example Brand example
If the legs don’t drag, the swimmer goes faster. If the Visual Identity (logo and house style) tells the intuitive story, brand recognition is built faster.
If the swimmer can breathe better because the legs don’t drag, the swimmer goes faster. If the messaging is better understood, helped by the visual identity that tells the intuitive story, then brand value is built faster.
If the swimmer has a more efficient body rotation, because it can breathe better, because the legs don’t drag, the swimmer goes faster. If the messaging spreads better because it is easily understood, helped by the visual identity that tells the intuitive story, brand value is built faster.
If the swimmer has a more efficient arm stroke, because it has a more efficient body rotation, because it can breathe better, and because the legs don’t drag, the swimmer goes faster. If the brand can reach more people, companies and geographies, because the messaging spreads easily, because it is easily understood, helped by the visual identity that tells the story, brand value is faster built.
If the swimmer spends its energy better and is less tired, because it has a more efficient arm stroke, because it has a more efficient body rotation, because it can breathe better, because the legs don’t drag, the swimmer goes faster. If the company spends less money on spreading the word, because the messaging spreads easily, because it is easily understood, helped by the visual identity that tells the story, brand value is more efficiently built.

The visual identity or the name alone means zip. It is their collective value and alignment that forge the power. This understanding is crucial for businesses, especially those in the process of rebranding. They need to recognize that focusing on improving one aspect of their branding strategy can have a positive domino effect on their entire brand ecosystem. Similarly not-optimizing one has the opposite effect. Does that ruin the process? No. It is still a rebranding. But it just forces the entire company to waste more energy in the swim that is to come. 

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