February 17th, 2015
In 1869, Louis Sullivan, the Boston-born “father of skyscrapers,” asserted that form follows function. Function is purpose. All successful designers follow Sullivan’s axiom.
Unsuccessful designers build products based on love of technology, with no regard for or knowledge of who will benefit from and purchase said products — and why.
Newsflash: If you don’t know a product’s purpose — the problem it solves or wish it grants — you can’t determine its shape, its physical configuration, its form.
How, then, does one determine function? Simple: brand begets function.
Your brand is your value proposition, expressed succinctly, memorably, and compellingly in customer language — never in vendor language or industry jargon. Test your brand.
Given that people buy value — not products, tools, or technologies — establishing the brand is your FIRST step (learn more HERE). That’s why branding must be the CEO’s #1 priority.
Yet, I hear this refrain from CEOs, time after time: We’ll develop our product first and worry about the branding later. They think branding is mere fluff, wrapping paper — instead of the bedrock of product development and customer experience. They think brand follows form, and they are mistaken.
Parting Advice to CEOs
Products that flout all ergonomics and functionality rules (they feel heavy, awkward, clunky, and illogically designed) come from manufacturers that rank branding at the bottom of their priority lists. I’m sure you’ve owned such products.
Don’t make the same mistake with your products, and fire anyone who views branding an afterthought or superfluous endeavor.
If you want customers to follow each other to your cash register, redesign your organization to conceive, make, and sell products wherein form follows brand.
About the Author
Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs,
producer of MarcRudovTV, and author of the book,
Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding.
© 2015 Marc H. Rudov. All Rights Reserved.