Statement of Purpose, Already

travitt headshot
This is a picture of your charming host.

So, here’s The Dealio. I’ma be blogging all up in here for a while. My territory is mostly gonna be branding, advertising, copywriting, marketing and so forth and so on. It’s what I’ve been doing (mostly) for the last 10 years or so and I’m good at it. And I have opinions about it. How you should do it. Who’s doing it well. When something else strikes my fancy, I’ll be addressing that also. My tone will be casual, conversational, sometimes profane, so easily offended types… well I don’t know what to tell you, other than that it’ll be your loss.

The Basics: Branding – Why It’s a Cliche

To establish why you should listen to anything I have to say, let me give you a little taste of my philosophy about branding. I know you’re sick of hearing about this, but I feel like I need to establish my bonafides, as they say. Branding is a cliche. Since sometime in the mid 90’s, every marketing bozo, sales slickerino and advertising gadfly has been selling branding as some sort of magic bullet for businesses small and large alike.

And in spite of my general contrarian inclination, I have to admit that this isn’t too far off the mark. That’s why it’s a cliche. As with all cliches, there’s a sweet, chewy nugget of truth at its center. Building a strong brand benefits companies in ways that are often impossible to foresee. Think about the great companies of yesterday and today: Coca-Cola, IBM, Apple, Nike. What do theyhave in common? All of them have weathered storms and hard times, struggled through periods of hardship, and times of plenty. Remember New Coke? The Nike sweatshop scandals? Apple’s early 90s doldrums and inability to produce a decent computer or turn a profit? What allowed these companies to persevere and ultimately thrive?

Strong flexible brands.

Great companies are able to sail rough waters because, through their brands, they establish strong, trusting relationships with their customers and their employees. Then, when something goes wrong (and it will – Apple was riding high when it became apparent that the iPhone 4’s antenna wouldn’t pick up radio signals if you thought bad thoughts about Steve Jobs), clients and customers assume the issue is just a bump in the road and not an indication of the general quality of a business’ product or services. Build a great relationship with customers and they’ll support you through tough times.

So this is just another branding blog right?

Well, I suppose that depends on how you look at it. A lot of branding blogs approach the topic from a visual angle, starting off with the logo and working from there. There are also marketing blogs that essentially give tips and copywriting blogs that seem to be aimed at other copywriters. I’m a writer, so I’ll approach brands from a writing and conceptual standpoint, primarily. As Business Guru Jenna Maroney once said “it all starts with words on the page.” Having said that, I’m also interested in other facets of branding, including advertising, typography, design, etc., so I’ll be addressing these topics as well.

I’ll talk about big brands and small businesses; I’ll write about whatever business story is interesting to me when I sit down at the computer. I plan on liveblogging some of the branding books that helped to shape my approach. With any luck you’ll think my musings and my perspective are as interesting, useful and funny as I do.

So. Strap in. Here we go.