Strategic Creativity - Being Relevant and Resonating

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In this podcast, Robin Landa discusses about brand identity and being strategically creative.

Show Notes

In this episode Robin Landa explains strategic creativity. 

Robin Landa is a Distinguished Professor in the Michael Graves College at Kean University. She specializes in advertising ideas and art direction, creative thinking, graphic design and branding and has written bestselling books including Graphic Design Solutions, 6th ed., Build Your Own Brand, and Nimble: Thinking Creatively in the Digital Age.

What's the first thing you think of when you hear the phrase "brand identity"? A logo, color palette, and characters right? But that's only a small part of the story.

To have a successful brand identity be strategically creative. A brand identity is the representation of the brand and it is the strategic position in the marketplace. So, it has to be strategically creative in order to gel with the target audience.

Brand identity does more than just build an imaginary world, it creates a relationship between people who have heard you and made your name part of their lives. A logo mark is more than just a logo. It's the entry point for your brand and its identity. It's your name and the way you're perceived by customers, and it's the foundation for everything else you do. It's what sets you apart from other brands and allows you to stand out from the crowd. It has to be memorable, differentiating, imprinting on people, and most importantly, it needs to be easy to remember—and ideally, emotionally inspiring.

It's really hard to make a brand identity that is personal and unique when you're working with a company that has thousands of designers and their work is available for all to see. This is why we need to be careful that we don't just lift someone else's work and use it without permission. Brand identity must be unique and personable!

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Brand Identity and how to make it memorable and distinctive
  • Brand construct and manifesto
  • Basic design principle you need to know
  • The idea behind balance design and color associations
  • Sonic branding
  • How to identify talent in identity design
  • Intellectual property law
  • Identifiers in brand design

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Shireen: Hello, and welcome to Brand Tuned, a podcast for people like you, marketers, designers and founders looking to build a great brand that's differentiated and distinctive. It's hosted by me, Shireen Smith, intellectual property lawyer, author, and marketer.

Hi, I'm Shireen Smith. And my guest today on the brand tune podcast is Robin Landa, distinguished Professor at Kean University, and the author of 25 books. Her books focus primarily on creativity and include titles such as Graphic Design Solutions, Build Your Own Brand, and Thinking Creatively in the Digital Age. Among other things, she's a graphic designer who is highly knowledgeable about branding and creative thinking. So I'm really excited she will be delivering a 10-minute masterclass for us on strategic creativity before the interview part of the podcast. Hello, Robin, I understand you've got some slides. So do you want to share them now

Robin: Yes, thank you so much, Shireen. I really appreciate it.

Hello, and thank you so much for having me. I'm a major fan of yours. It's an honor to be here with you today. Thank you. I'm going to talk about strategic creativity as it relates to brand identity. I'm the author of 25 books about branding, graphic design, creativity, ideation, personal branding. I'm also hold the title a distinguished professor in the Michael Graves College at Kean University. Brand identity has to be creative, and it has to be strategically creative in order to gel with the target audience. A brand identity is the representation of a brand transmedia. The concept. It's a brand story. It's the essence that resonates with the audience authentically communicates. And it's what makes a brand memorable and distinctive. And hopefully, it connects emotionally with people at every touchpoint 360. The brand construct is what we start out with to understand what a brand is, what people want from the brand, what it can offer them how the brand fits into what people want, as well as anticipate what they might appreciate. Most importantly, it aligns with the brand's story, how the brand how the brand attributes are portrayed as distinctive in a very crowded commercial arena, or nonprofit arena as well.

The brand manifesto which is a document or an iteration that a lot of people aren't as familiar with as the brand construct. The brand manifesto is a creative aspirational declaration of intent. It started out as an internal communication within a company to energize employees and everyone. Now if it goes externally, people found that it was very useful it can be visual. So for example Lululemon, the athletic wear brand, has a visual brand manifesto that is on their packaging, and their website. It transcends the corporate mission but aligns with the values and principles of the company. It's a motivational statement that positions the brand on an emotional plane. And very importantly, there has to be a concept underlying the brand identity should be a lodestar concept, and Northstar concept. It's the intention underlying all the brand communication. It has to absolutely align with the lodestar brand story with the core brand story. And for designers and art directors working on the brand identity it has to drive every decision they make about color palette, graphic design, copy typography, art direction as it extends into advertising, motion, voice, sonic branding, which I'll talk about and of course now we're in Metaverse, so it has to extend into virtual reality augmented reality games. meaning, and many brands have a scent. So if you go into their brick and mortar storefront or if you go into a hotel, there may be a scent that they, they pipe in that we will associate with the brand. The brand identity is the representation of the brand and its strategic position in the marketplace and it's every representation of the brand. A lot of people say that think of the brand identity as a logo, but it is much, much more. Milton Glaser, American designer said that the logo is the entry point for the brand, but every touchpoint 360 with people is part of the brand identity. And of course, obviously has to identify. And in order to do that it must be distinctive, that must be memorable, it needs to differentiate the brand from other brands in the category. It has to imprint on people, we have to really remember it in every way so that if you say the brand name, the imagery comes to mind or the sound that comes to mind the sonic brand and comes to mind, it should be appropriate for the brand and for people for the audience, and it should be aspirational and align with people's the target audience's aspirations. And hopefully it emotionally imprints because emotional branding is really critical. The logo is the technically designers think of a logo as the mark, the name spelled out and unique typography is the logo type. But everybody casually refers to the mark or the logo type as a logo. And it's the any typeface that use needs to have a distinctive visual voice for that brand. And that voice then visual voice is expressed by the particular characteristics of this specific letter forms. So to appreciate the design of a typeface, and people find this fascinating once they realize it, because if you look at the shape of the letter forms the inherent balance in the design of each letter of the alphabet, their proportions, the axis meaning the slant of letters, the characteristics of the letter forms shapes, the open spaces inside letters, which we call the counters, the detailing of the saris, the shape of the saris or lack of serif sans serifs.

And here's just some letter O's to show you differences in how the inside the counter shape changes the appearance of a letter form. And whether the letter form is you is uniformly thick, or if it's thick and thin. If it's a perfectly round o or an oval, oh, all of that affects us. We don't realize it but it does affect people and it does represent the brand. Any logo mark meaning a symbol, any imagery should communicate quickly. It should work well small and large, it has to be on a business card. And it has to be perhaps on the side of a building. It has to be a coherent unit and work as an independent unit so that it can move around independently and not be linked to anything. It has to be appropriate, of course expressive, and relevant to the brand construct and the audience. When we design, all designers learn basic design principles. And those come into play in designing a logo, we think and all elements of the brand identity. These are the major principles that we think about it has to be balanced. And balance is the one thing that most people when they start studying design can almost feel intuitively, because we seek balance in our lives the way we organize things in our homes. visual hierarchy what we want people to see first, second and third. That's critical for any designer to understand and for a logo to have, it must be unified. There should be some rhythm and flow with how we see it just the way There's rhythm and music. The shape relationships of the logo should be interesting. The the positive shapes which are the image themselves as they relate to the background, what we call the negative shapes which should have interesting form for some interesting, we won't remember it, and then we will look at it to begin with. And then there are issues of space, there's graphic space, which is the flat two-dimensional space of the digital page or the printed page. And then we can create the illusion of three dimensional space, in a logo, or in a mark. The designer also has to think about how we pair type, and image. And there are three basic ways to think about that. The typeface should either share characteristics with the image, or it should contrast the images characteristics.. That's unusual. The typeface and the typeface can be neutral, meaning it allows the it's a classic neutral face that allows the image to be the hero or the star. The middle one, the the contrasting characteristics is the most unusual. And when we pair typing image, a logo mark with the logo name, either the type should dominate or the image should dominate. If they're both screaming for our attention, it will be less memorable and we won't know where to look first. The color palette usually has a dominant hue, one of the colors is dominant. And then the others are secondary or tertiary color, there are color associations, what most people don't realize is that color is not universal, we have to be very careful when when color is used internationally. It has to work in context, when you see colors outdoors, as opposed to indoors on screen versus on printed paper. Color works differently. You have to really think about differentiating color from the competition. So that it's not confusing, especially when it comes to things like consumer goods that are sitting on a on a supermarket shelf. How do you know what to look for? Colors are used as cues also in packaging. So we all know that we're looking for lemon are we looking for a decaffeinated color helps us with that. And of course, we think about as I said, digital print and the audience.

Sonic branding is very interesting because in the digital realm, we can use sound really easily when we, we, if you if you turn on your telly and you're going to start to watch a program. There may be a sound associated with the channel with the with the media channel, the streaming channel that you're watching that immediately. It says to you Oh yes, I know what I'm about to see and it kind of could spark an emotion in you as well. I think I read a survey saying that in the UK just eat is the most popular sonic branding. McDonald's has a very distinctive one Intel, you know Intel, us inside. It's a cue. Gary Vaynerchuk who owns VaynerMedia and T's big media star used to own one company says that sound is incredibly powerful because of the speed at which you can capture your audience's attention and cement your brand in their minds. A sound has a powerful ability to trigger specific emotions and memories. And that's impactful when it comes to branding. And then there's the metaverse. A lot of us are a little confused about the metaverse, and it's infancy, it will become the next I think iteration of computing and the internet. It's kind of a combination of physical, physical and digital worlds. But we all have digital personas. So the brand has a digital persona, it it also has to exist now in virtual worlds and virtual reality. Augmented Reality combines the digital and physical worlds and if a brand exists in gaming, so for example, I don't know if you have Wendy's in the UK but Wendy's is a fast food chain and they've been active Inside Gaming inside of a game such as fortnight a lot of brands are now hitting gaming audiences by playing with them inside brands. And just to round this whole thing out, what brand identity does is really builds a world it builds an imaginary world just the way a film director or screenwriter or a novelist Just you think about the world of Harry Potter, wonderful imaginary world that she built, where everything is new and fresh, and it has to be believable in context and in every touchpoint. And every touchpoint. Every time we come in contact, whether it's with a truck, or a package, or a logo or a business card that builds the brand, and builds the brand story for us. And within the world, there are a system of rules and guidelines that governs the entire brand identity system. And when designers create a brand identity, they actually give this this guideline system to the brand so that they know what to do and what not to do. And it's given out to their employees who have any contact with changing, creating corporate communications. And with the ad agency who's creating advertising. Every time someone comes in contact with a brand touch point, that connection should help build the brand's story. And it shouldn't be a cut and paste, it shouldn't be the same thing. But little different pieces of the brand story all add up to building the world. And their style. People think about style in a variety of ways. We all think about style, we understand it in terms of fashion, but there is style and brand identity as well. And it's a visual look and feel based on all the characteristics, all the visual and sound characteristics that go into developing the brand identity, typefaces, color palette, textures, patterns, how you compose the imagery, the kinds of images, whether they're illustrations, motion graphics, or it's photography, what kind of photography, what kind of illustrations, every graphic element contributes transmedia to the style. And it has to be distinctive, again, that we're distinctive keeps coming up, because it has to differentiate, it has to be identifiable. Hopefully, it's unique and fresh, because style does express. And that's it for me.

Shireen: Great, thank you. 

Robin: You're welcome. 

Shireen: So in my experience, designers very readily changed the visual identity of brands. So when do you think it says that you were saying the design concept and is the North Star? So I assume that's based around your brand promise, or whatever you've decided is going to be that central essence of the brand or whatever word you want to use? If that changes, is it then appropriate to change all the visual identity? 

Robin: Great, great point. Absolutely. Yes. And times change, right? We're living in rapidly changing times you can think about, I don't know, if you have burger, I keep making all these fast food references. I'm sorry, I don't even eat that stuff. But Burger King has changed their brand identity, I think three times in the last 10 years. And you might even notice that those slight variations, but they're there. And you're right, if the story changes, if the brand construct changes if the promise changes, depending on what people want, and being nimble moving with the times. Yes, absolutely. The brand identity should be refreshed. Sometimes it's refreshed, meaning they tweak it. It's not an entirely they keep some of the equities and moving value. They might usually keep a color, the main color, but they'll tweak the type. The typography is what often changes to refresh it because believe it or not typefaces go in and out of vogue. Yeah, look at the history of advertising, you can see typefaces that are used in very popular ones throughout advertising. And that gives you a clue as to what's on trend. 

Shireen: Yeah, so there's a complete radical change so that you almost wouldn't recognize a brand anymore, or there's sort of making adjustments, like Burger King, I think is still very recognizably the same brand, but it's just a little bit tweaked, which presumably has reasons behind it design wise, but to the public. You know, somebody's looking at it. They wouldn't think you know, who is this? Which brand is this? So I'm just wondering when it would be appropriate for a brand to just completely change and, you know, have a different font, a different color just completely be made to look different.

Robin: What often and brand merger will will necessitate that a brand merger when companies that let's say two, let's say two oil companies joy, or two, streaming companies join or two, two publishers join, that often necessitates a complete change. Or if they've really feel that they're dated, that they're no longer viable in today's market, that people think of them as old. So, you know, a certain car brand might be your grandfather's car brand, right? And they now they want to hit a new audience, or expand their audience. So I think that it really has to do with, there's so many variables. But to throw out all the equity is unusual. Because as you said, you don't want to have to completely reintroduce the brand. Unless that's your point that you're saying, hey, look, we're completely new. I'm, I'm a new entity.

Shireen: Yeah, sort of new name new. Which I think the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute has has highlighted the dangers of rebranding as in not just them, I think it's just generally known, I think, but it's not a good idea to rebrand even if there's been some major incident for the company. You know, throwing away the brand equity and changing the look and feel of the brand doesn't, you know, seem to be a good idea. But I'm just wondering why designers for in the small business market, I have noticed again, and again, they'll just totally scrap everything and start again, with something totally new. And I'm thinking, if they understand visual language, if they understand that this matters, why are they so ready to throw it out? And then start afresh when, you know, you would expect them to respect it more, if you like, rather than less?

Robin: I think it depends on on the owners and the board, as to whether they really understand what the equity is. And I think people don't realize that there's, there's comfort for audiences in something that they know. So I don't have to reintroduce sort of like, hello, I'm selling so nice to meet you. You bring that element. And of course, designers want, we want to make money. So really talking your client into redoing it might work and maybe it's just really bad. I often when I when I teach branding, I have my students go look for really ugly brand identity that we can redo because some of them are just you know, you really think about the ones that win awards, or it's the top 1% Most are really hideous. 

Shireen: And so how can you tell when a brand identity is hideous? Do you have any examples of brand identities that have been you know, not? Not suitable at all?

Robin: I don't know if you have them in the UK. Do you have tried Trident chewing gum?

Shireen: No. Probably I mean, it's, I've heard the name Trident chewing gum.

Robin: Or Ace Hardware is awful. I mean, it's and they're both good products, good services. So it's, it's really a matter of taste. And I should have put that in, in my presentation. Because taste is something that you know you use in your home. Yeah, but it should have nothing to do your taste and your clients taste should have nothing to do with the brand. It has to do with the company. This this the brand of the company and the audience, taste is out of it. But sometimes clients impose their taste on designers. It's it's, I mean, I've fired clients where I just I just couldn't work with them anymore because what they wanted was just not doing them a service and it was just I didn't want it in my portfolio. I have friends who fired clients, clients put a very heavy hand in it sometimes, sometimes you'll have a great client who lets you run with it. And or they'll go to a very top design firm or branding firm, and then they'll trust that firm, but you're paying that firm for their expertise, let them do what they like. But I think, why do we have so many? So much television programming or movies? Is it or pedestrian? It's very hard to do something brilliant?

Shireen: And is a designer, graphic designer automatically able to do identity? Or should you choose designers who have been trained in brand identity? I mean,

Robin: Great question. Yeah. At the university, we do teach brand identity, but it usually is a specialty. There are really there are great firms that specialize in that. And now it you know, when you train as a graphic designer at university, it's your learning, communication, design, promotional design, logo design, corporate communication design, so your your leaving, usually as a generalist, and where you get your job really kind of trains you. So there are book jacket, designers who specialize their brand identity designers who specialize. There are people who design PowerPoint presentations or Google slide presentations, because that takes particular expertise. Some people are great at everything. But I think most big companies go to a firm that specializes in identity design, or what a lot of people are now calling identity or brand experience design, because every touchpoint is an experience.

Shireen: Yeah, I mean, I can understand every touch point matters. And it all needs to tie in together. But there's something I don't quite get about how you translate the brand's strategy into a visual identity, and presumably lots of designers could come up with different ideas, or would they all think, Okay, this typography is right for this brand that wants to be accessible? So, you know, how do you decide on that an accessible brand needs a certain look, for example.

Robin: I think if I assign a logo design, or brand identity to my class, I would say that 70% of them, and I teach very, very talented people will come up with a similar concept for the first go round. Because they're all thinking, Oh, yes, bakery, it should look yummy, it should have an aroma, it's you know, you're thinking along very pedestrian common lines, and it's not and then the top 30% will come up with very different unusual unique takes on it because of how they're thinking, and how how strategically creative they are. But then that other 70 will push it further. And so your first first draft, your first thinking is often something that a lot of other people are thinking about. And then you really have to learn to push your thinking further. And then we train them to do that we train them to my system is that I have a system called the three G's, which is goal, gap and gain. And so we think about the goal, the main goal of the communication, the gap is what's missing. It could be a lack of understanding about something, it could be a missing piece in the in the marketplace. It could be how we differentiate, it could be not really understanding the audience. So we're looking for a gap that our IVR can fill. And then ultimately, the third G is a gain, what's the gain? What are people going to get from this? What's the benefit in that for them? Is it functional? Is it emotional? And so when you think about the goal, the gap in the game you put them together, it kind of pushes you strategically to think more creatively.


Shireen: Would you show the target market examples of designs to see if it resonate with them, or is that not a consideration?

Robin: Yes, they do that. Sometimes it will. Sometimes it will kill it. Sometimes it will kill creativity because as people will tell you, you know, I'm sure you know a lot about focus groups, they might tell you what they think you want to hear, or they'll have pedestrian ideas about it. I mean, sometimes that kills the most creative concepts, and it brings it down to more middle level. But yeah, I mean, I think research is good to do before, to really find out what people are interested in what they want. And to do a lot of social listening to go on social media, go on Twitter, go on Instagram, listen to the pain points, listen to what people think listen to their perceptions, or perception becomes reality. What are they complaining about? What do they like? What don't they like? What other brands did they like? So I always train my students, and I do it myself to really listen to what people are saying on social media.

Shireen: Yeah, I mean, design is just so hugely important, because it operates on an emotional level. I'm not sure how much research is done to actually understand whether this type face creates this emotional response, or why does it exist?

Robin: Yes, academics do a lot of that. There are, I don't know if you are familiar with the design community, but the the people who are typographers are very, very, very into typography, and do tons of studies that that. So when we all read these studies, we have conferences, and we talk about typefaces. But then sometimes it's it's it's random. Sometimes, a designer uses a typeface, Lisa Smith, redesigned the Chobani, yogurt, identity. And everybody started using that type. It just sometimes resonates with people with other designers. And it just becomes something that everybody "Oh, that's a fabulous typeface". And then sarifs in and out of vogue. It's very funny world. Most of the research is done. There are research firms that do feed big companies and branding studios. But a lot of it is done by people like me by academics who write papers, and then there's just beauty of forum. New typefaces are designed every day, we tend to use the foundries they're called type foundries that have the best designers. So we know we're getting an aesthetically pleasing face something that's balanced, and the proportions are really, really important, and how they affect you. Or do we know whether or not they do affect you the proportion is of a letter form? So we do study all of that.

Shireen: Yeah, I was reading a book on decision science and about the framing effect. So just having something against in a different jar, for example, made it more attractive. It was just discovered by accident. But I guess it's the whole thing isn't it is it's often not just the typeface, it will be the typeface, the colors. And the whole combination together just sort of works better than something else.

Robin: Absolutely. And it's very funny when you say that because I'll often show when I work with people when I didn't want to design in the past. Now I do more consulting, but I would often say to clients, are there any colors you hate? And I would just avoid that color palette and look for colors that were still appropriate to the brand because if you showed somebody something in green, and they just know, their mother made them wear green. You show them the exact same thing and glue. It'll work. Color is very funny that way and it can really write it can really change the feeling. And it kind of it just gets people emotionally, in a way, and on their own taste levels, and I don't let taste dictate it. But I do want to make sure the client buys it. Yeah. And and it's still appropriate. But you're right, it is context. And it's also does it work out of doors? Does it work on screen? Does it work on a business card? Does it work on paper? where are people going to see it mostly, when we see color on screen, it's, there's light coming through. And so it's brighter and more beautiful than it's printed. And it looks different because of the paper quality. So right now, because of COVID, there's a paper shortage. And we're getting really, some some of the books that are being printed now are printed on fun, cheap paper. I mean, it just changes everything.

Shireen: Yeah, I was asked recently by a client; he had a logo for a very descriptive name, and then the name wasn't going to work. So he chose a more distinctive name, but he wanted the same sort of visual look to be used with that name. And he got a designer to create it for him. And now he's wanting to know, you know, should he get copyright clearance. But he's rethinking his whole brand. And I don't know whether to say to someone, actually, you should get a proper designer to look at this, because it was someone like on Fiverr, who created something he obviously likes it. But you know, when what should one say to people like that.

Robin: But, you know, he's when go to an attorney that he pays $99 to, right? I mean, they wouldn't go to a doctor that you're getting what you're paying for, and really, really good designers work at really good studios. Yeah. And they have great reputations, and the look up to see whether they've won awards and what other people think of their work and what their other clients say. And it's one of the reasons I wrote strategic creativity is so that everybody can understand what to look for. Because most people, as you're pointing out, don't know what to look for. Yeah. And today, it's very easy to get a logo for $99 or less, but you're going to get something common, you're gonna get something pedestrian, you're definitely not going to get something that's distinctive, because that person does not taking the time you're paying for someone's time, essentially an expertise. And you could get somebody who went to to your school who didn't go to school and Fiverr hire them. Yeah, it really is such a wrench, but you have to think about it as you're looking for an expert.

Shireen: Yeah. But if you're trying to find a more low-cost expert, who's talented? How do you identify talent, especially in something like identity design?

Robin: I think, well, that's, that's, again, I'm sorry for the self-promotion. But that's why I wrote this book, so that everybody would really understand what to look for. And I do tell people if they are on a budget, to think about hiring a graduate student at a really in a really good program or my book cover which I hire my own students to design I give them a break, and they design the covers, so somebody in their seniors in an undergraduate program. So if you go to a really good school with a good design program, you're probably going to get good bang for your buck.

Shireen: Oh, well, maybe I'll suggest that to him. Going to do that. So just to round up, I'm wondering whether you cover intellectual property at all with your students because for visual identity, it is so important, for example, not to choose a color that's an industry standard color because then you're never going to be able to register that as a trademark or you know not to use green if you want to be all about eco friendly, you know, all these very common choices that people make. is impacted by intellectual property as well as presumably design so do cover IP at all?

Robin: We do. And it's, it's so critical today because the internet's the Wild West, and people are taking things they think it's okay to take. And as you know, you can speak to this much better than I can. intellectual property law is very complicated. We also teach them what not to do in terms of intellectual property. Yeah. And we emphasize that more, just to make sure they're not breaking the law and taking other people's intellectual property. It's so critical. And we do talk. So we're going to talk about it but more on the what not to do. But you're right, we should talk about the the what you can do side.

Shireen: Yeah, well to own basically, when you're dealing with brand strategy, you should be really thinking about how can this client uniquely own this because it's a designation of origin, so your name, your identity, it's how people recognize you. So you don't want a competitor using a similar identifier. So you want to keep it unique, too. Which is why there are strategies before you can register a trademark of protecting things so that other people can't use them. And yeah, and then eventually, I think that's quite important to teach to branding people, because, you know, there's no education at all in IP, and I think the world has changed quite a lot. And it's more necessary now, maybe than pre internet to, to actually understand how IP fits into the whole picture.

Robin: I totally agree with you. And actually, my students are very interested in it. They want to know how they can own their intellectual property. And we do go over the difference between a copyright and a trademark and, and patent. But it's complicated, and we just really, really make an effort to make sure they're not appropriating. Yeah. And they're not taking anybody else's. Yeah. I mean, especially imagery, for which, you know, you do a Google search and images come up. And yeah,

Shireen: I mean, people often think if it's on the internet is available in the public domain that they can use it. There's a lot to know and not know.

Robin: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And I go over a couple one case in the US, modern dog design, bought target and Disney, one of the designers at a, an apparel company, took their work, clipped it and used it without permission. And that was, that was a huge battle that that became well known. And I usually show that to the students too. And the actual, you I should probably send this to, you'd be fascinated, the judge made a decision. Looking at the, at the images to judge who's not an expert, and imagery. So it's, I mean, I do show some case studies of appropriation.

Shireen: Yes, that would be interesting. I'll add it in the show notes. And what do you think of building distinctive brand assets by Jenni Romaniuk? Is that something you use in your teachings at all? I don't know that you don't know. All right. Well, you know, the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute in Australia, they they research for big brands. And she's written this book, distinctive brand assets and it covers Sonic branding. And you know how it's very important to branding really that how you can be uniquely recognized and become famous by reference to identify as so distinctive brand assets like color. And they did research to see which kind of identifiers are most likely to be famous for a brand. Things like characters symbols, which are obviously very, very good for brands to have. I'm actually interested in why more of them don't have them. I mean, do you why would you not choose to have a character or symbol with your branding?

Robin: I think it has to do with the essence and the story and the construct and then it often gives To face to a faceless entity. So you know, you think about an insurance company and they often have a character because there's nothing really distinctive about an insurance company. And especially, I think people enjoy it when it becomes video or commercials or movement. And some, some companies are known for it ad agencies are known for it like Leo Burnett, agencies known for creating these characters that personify a brand, but not every brand wants it personified. You know, or, or to have a creature or, or character, you know, however you want to say it, but sometimes they'll use real spokespeople, now that a celebrity becomes the character,

Shireen: Yeah, oh, something like the golden arches, em, you know, just using one of the characters or letters in, in a branch. So they got a shortcut to be recognized by it.

Robin: Right? Think of the logo mark that way. But you can have elements of the logo, as you're saying, the Golden Arches or something that works for you that way?

Shireen: Well, I highly recommend getting Jenny Roman Young's book. I think it's so relevant to what you do.

Robin: So well, thank you. Good.

Shireen: Well, are there any books you'd recommend? It was because I was going to ask you about recommending books that I thought about Jenny Romaniacs book, obviously, apart from your own, which there's what 25 very extensive. Is there any book that you would recommend or a podcast or anything?

Robin: There's a fascinating book. I don't know if he's updated it called The Culture Code.

Shireen: Oh, yes. I've heard of that. 

Robin: Yeah. And I'm blanking on his name of French. He's a French psychiatrist who wrote about branding, Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People. I don't know if they've updated that. Marc Gobe, I think, is the author. And The Elements of an Identity, Alina Wheeler wrote a really good book. I've got her book. Yeah. Yeah.

Shireen: Great. Well, thank you very much indeed for appearing on the podcast. Robin.

Robin: My honor. Thank you so much.

Shireen: Nice to meet you.

Robin: Same here. Thank you.

Shireen: Bye.

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