Success is Not a Science
Regardless of industry, with success comes change. Competitors hungry for a piece of the pie pour into the space and force the founders to find a way to solidify their position and re-establish their dominance. Success means growth: With each hire you are another step removed from the founders’ instincts. Success may mean moving into new markets: Regardless of whether they are demographic or geographic, one thing is true — you will be dealing with new psychographics. And perhaps the scariest part of all — success means going public. Adding a whole new level of pressure and an expectation of following traditional economic models to ensure shareholder returns. This is especially troubling for tech companies because it is quite literally the antithesis of the innovation that got them started in the first place. Success is threatened by success. Branding is one part of the answer. Branding and design’s job is to make the implicit, explicit. As Steven Levy recounts in his book In The Plex, former Google vice president Marissa Meyer famously said of Google’s design aesthetic: “It looks like a human was involved in choosing what went where. It looks too editorialized. Google products are machine-driven. They’re created by machines. And that is what makes us powerful. That’s what makes our products great.” In that moment, a capital B brand was born. It was a simple principle, and once expressed, it could be shared and then teams around the world could be inspired to grow with common purpose. Brands are generally not “created” by marketing or an agency. They already exist in the creators and products. Branding simply gives their stewardship the tools to take them to the next level.