Branding: I Need Convincing
I need some help here. I know that there are a ton of very, very smart people who are involved in "branding," so I assume that branding must be a good thing. But when I hear it discussed, I'm not convinced. So please, branding people, can you answer some of my concerns?
For example, look at the post Scott Oser did on Acronym recently. He expressed some frustration at some of the negative characteristics the general public has about associations.
and time again how slow associations are to act, how bureaucratic they
are, how they are almost on par with the government when it comes to
being on top of cutting edge technologies and practices, etc. Steam
would come out of my ears every time I would hear something like that,
but for some reason the light bulb never went off over my head that as
a group associations could definitely do something to change this
negative perception of associations.
In the comments to the post, people talked about uniformity of message and coming up with an "elevator speech" for associations.
So is it me, or does this seem less like a branding problem and more like an industry culture problem? Wouldn't we want to look at why associations ARE slow to act, and then change that? The same with bureaucratic or rolling with technology changes? I mean, if we are told these things time and time again, what are we doing about it? Coming up with an elevator speech?
My negative reaction to "branding" is that it somehow puts the "problem" on the side of the people who simply have their experience. As if it's "you people" who have a problem here: you don't see associations the way I do. So I will create a branding campaign that will help you see the light.
But if I'm on the "people" side of that equation, here's my reaction: First, I don't feel like I have a problem in the first place, other than being bothered, occasionally, by slow associations. In fact, I'm a tad annoyed that you have showed up with your elevator pitch to tell me that you have the solution (a more positive view of associations) to the problem I did not know I had. "Thanks" for telling me that my experience is not valid, that associations are, in fact, agile early adopters.
My sarcasm notwithstanding–talk to me, branding people! What am I missing? I really am willing to be convinced.