• Crowdsourcing is Not a Branding Strategy

  • Regardless of one’s level of success, everyone likes an affirmation now and then. But when it comes to your branding strategy, we suggest three things: 1) Hire a professional 2) Collaborate with said professional to develop a brand that best represents your company and 3) Don’t ask a group — employees, customers, your LinkedIN connections — that is NOT involved with that process, “What do you think?”

    The first two suggestions aren’t exactly breaking news. Most organizations realize the importance of branding. Much time and effort should be spent on this process in terms of assessing your company, your competition, your value proposition and then communicating that through brand messaging and design. Anyone who has gone through this process knows it can be long and arduous, sometimes even painful; but the end result is something that represents the company.

    So why, after expending all that time, energy and capital, would you turn to a group outside the strategic circle, hold up the design representing this effort and ask, “Hey, what do you think of this?” Inevitably this question is thrown out there with no explanation to what is trying to be communicated or the long and winding road it took to get there. And you know, when you ask, people are going to tell you how THEY would tweak it or what THEY see.

    And suddenly, your months of research, thought and discussion becomes a rorschach test, misinterpreted and second guessed.

    I recently witnessed this very scenario while scrolling through LinkedIn. Some well-meaning team member through out six different versions of a new logo and asked, “Which one do you like?”

    All I could imagine was the designer and project lead, back in their office, banging their heads on their desks.

    To ask such a question, just to get attention to your branding efforts is just a lame gimmick … if you aren’t serious about their input, don’t ask. And if you are allowing them to weigh in, well that’s worse. It’s fine for bands to crowdsource the art for their latest DVD or a retailer to have their followers vote on the next t-shirt design. But throwing all that research, work and the expertise of the professional into the wind? Not cool.

    When you are ready to “unveil” your branding, by all means, make it an event. Invite your stakeholders to partake in the excitement. Offer a brief background on the process — people will find that interesting.

    But respect the process and the final approval. Give yourself — and your team of experts — some credit. If you’ve done your research and put in the time and effort, you’ve got nothing to worry about!