Brand Aid: The Cure for Gravity and Media Noise

Leading Designer and Branding Expert David Brier sheds light on why some brands take off reaching cruising altitude and others never get off the ground.

Triviality vs. Relevance
Today’s companies need more marketing ammunition than ever. To help achieve that, answer this question.
Write down on a piece of paper: What does your company sell? Write this down.
You answered and wrote down it down? Good.


Now, on the same piece of paper, answer this question: What do your customers (or clients) buy?

No, this is not the same question asked in a different way. It is the same activity looked at from the other side of the transaction, and it does have a different answer, and considerable impact on what you achieve in today’s marketplace.

The Primary Reason for Failure
Failure to distinguish this difference is often the failure to allow one’s products, services and offerings to step into being vital and truly relevant. 

When a woman buys Charlie perfume, is she buying perfume? No, she’s buying beauty andf the pursuit of being eternally attractive.

When one is buying Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, are they buying tons of cream and fat? No, they are buying indulgence, preferably packed up in a brown, anonymous brown bag.

When one is buying an iPhone, is one buying a better phone call? No. One is buying a better perceived value, fun and the latest level of “cool” in the telecommunications world.


When we developed the branding for Legacy Chocolates, we transformed them from chocolates into complete chocolate indulgence.

While developing the NYDP Deli Patrol brand, we converted it from “Manhattan Deli Arts” to NYDP Deli Patrol: More Flavor per Pound.

Same thing was done for Big Dot of Happiness who came to us as Simply Stuff.

These are just some random brands in a variety of categories. Yet, you’ll see a noticeable divergence between what is made by the company versus what is bought by the customer. A company’s product or service is a brand and is either:

  1. relevant and vital or
  2. a commodity and trivial.

And that presents the gravity of the situation.

Every Step You Take, Every Move You Make…
Every marketing and design decision that finds its way into the marketplace creates your brand. All of the elements of design, language, imagery, presentation as well as consistency, style, color palette, etc. work together to create that brand. If all branding efforts are based on an intelligent analysis of the marketplace, performed in a planned and coordinated way, while adhering to the eight key principles of branding (as codified by our firm and in our book, but not outlined here), a company can create its own world-class brand.


Treating Your Brand as a Casual Lover
But what if this isn’t done? What if the brand, and its various soldiers (identity, marketing materials, packaging, etc.), are all marching to different drummers? Did you know that you would still create a brand?

Granted it would be poor, cost a lot to “maintain,” waste endless promotional dollars and invariably result in minimal presence and value—but it would be a brand. It is not an issue of “Should I have a brand or not?” As Scott Bedbury of Starbucks and Nike fame (he’s the brains behind Nike’s “Just Do It” branding campaign) stated some time ago in Fast Company magazine, “In an age of accelerated product proliferation, enormous customer choice, and growing clutter and clamor in the marketplace, a great brand is a necessity, not a luxury.”

You’ve got one—it’s simply a question of how good it is.

Answering the above questions will put you on the right road to avoiding this trouble area for all those responsible for creating, innovating or maintaing a brand.


David Brier, Chief Gravity Defyer at DBD International, is the recipient of over 300 industry awards creating
brands for such company’s as Estee Lauder, Revlon, New York City
Ballet, Legacy
Chocolates, Sunbelt Software and many more.


Award-winning and result-driven examples can be seen at and a side-by-side comparison of before-and after-client identites can be seen at

Want one the country’s leading designers of identites and more? His talent can be yours. Contact


About the author

Brand identity expert, veteran designer, author, speaker and Fast Company expert blogger. Shark Tank investor and CEO of fashion brand Fubu, Daymond John states, "David Brier is brilliant with branding." He’s been written about in, INC and Fortune Small Business. In addition to being a branding specialist and a Fast Company expert blogger, David's Slideshare presentations on branding have exceeded the 500,000 view milestone (a founding member of Slideshare's Half-a-Million Views Club) and is the 1st place winner in the 2013 Shorty Awards (known industry-wide as “The Oscars for Social Media”) for branding