Branding, Business and Making Them work
Validation (a discipline of brand-building)
There’s so much to learn about ‘brand, brands, and branding’, but whatever you do, the foundation idea is that a brand is an impression that people have of a business, product, or organization and branding is the design and administration of impressions.
I think you should read my previous articles on branding if you haven’t. I’ve been writing about the disciplines of brand building. Today, let’s look at VALIDATION
How do you test your creative ideas before you launch them? Hopefully, not only quantitative studies and focused groups. While those work, they are not as effective…
Quantitative studies are a place to start but should not be the only basis. The psychology behind answering questions and providing data is often different from the experience. Quantitative studies sometimes bury the problem in heaps of unhelpful data. Marty Neumeier says focused groups are designed to focus the research, not be the research but oftentimes, it’s the other way round.
Validating your ideas may only require a quick, cheap but dirty process. It’s not farfetched.
It’s always better to have a rough answer to the right question than a detailed, structured answer to the wrong question.
Marty Neumeier talks about three tests. Let’s look at them
The SWAP test is proof of trademarks. If the names and graphics of two trademarks are better when swapped, then, neither is optimal. See
To refer to your identity or graphics as optimal is to say that it is distinct enough to be noticeable when swapped. What if your packaging design is swapped? How easy is it to make a mistake on your identity when we see it?
The other is the HAND test. This one is proof of voice.
How do you sound? What personality does your voice embody? Your language, choice of words.
If you can’t guess who’s talking when the logo or trademark is covered then the brand voice is not very distinctive. You can almost always tell when a Coca Cola advert is playing even if you’re hearing the TV from your kitchen. Nike sounds competitive, inspiring, confident…
In building a brand, you have to choose the character you want your brand to embody, then you have to look like it and sound like it.
The FIELD test. This is proof of an idea that can be prototyped. If it can’t be prototyped then it’s not very useful. If your audience can’t verbalize your concept, you have failed to communicate it.
Remember, branding is the design and administration of impression. So, when you prototype your concept, the field test is in asking what your audience understand when they see the prototype.
Field tests measure 5 things — Distinctiveness, Relevance, Memorability, Extendibility, and Depth of Meaning.
The final discipline of brand building is ‘cultivate’ and I’ll write about it tomorrow, stick around.