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“A breast of underwear”?

My sister-in-law is a French teacher in a secondary school. Recently she was a little surprised to read a student’s translation as “une poitrine de culottes” (a breast of underwear). The student had taken to Google Translate to find out what a “chest of drawers” was in French and was, sadly, led astray and was completely unaware of his error.

So, what does this little translation mix-up tell us about marketing and branding? Simply that tools without skill is a dangerous combination. Just as owning a hammer doesn’t make you a carpenter, downloading a branding template from the web doesn’t make you a branding expert.

The tools that branding and marketing professionals use act a framework in which to think and operate. They help us communicate to our clients and colleagues what we know in a structured and disciplined way. We would all struggle to do such a good job without them.

But as we know, the “tool” is only the start. The real skill comes in the expertise and experience to wield these tools like a master craftsman.

I like to think of the branding process as a fusion of insight discovery, moderated reflection and creative spark. Knowing the questions to ask and how to articulate the inputs in a creative and compelling way is the key to the branding and marketing consultants art. This is not “downloadable” I’m afraid. The difference comes from training and experience.

Now I could probably borrow a chain-saw to chop down a tree, but one suspects the likelihood of collateral damage and physical injury too high to try. The risk for a business of getting the fundamentals of branding wrong is equally costly. However, like the Googling schoolboy a business may be totally unaware of errors made until it’s too late.

Have the courage to engage with those outside the organisation, get someone who will challenge you to inspire a greater, sharper sense of purpose for your brand or business. Your marketing will be better for it.

Now where’s that hammer again?

The Branding Authority has 30 years of experience in brand building in large and small organisations. Call me now for a no-obligation chat about your business.

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