Basically there are two audiences:
1) Brand Geeks (marketing people with a compulsive interest in brand strategy - mostly the audience for the blog)
2) Brand Geeks in training (seminars & workshops)
These people are brand-savvy, and we teach people to tell the difference between a good brand and a bad one (and yes that includes logos!) And when we say "good" we don't mean "pretty" or "designerly", we mean effective at creating a strong, memorable relationship.
So why are we going this route rather than the traditional agency route? Well Grasshopper, that's a GREAT question.
We've worked with dozens of agencies over the years - big and small - and it's usually a case of "you get what you pay for" - that is a big well-reputed firm will most often provide the most professional output, BUT it's also a huge gamble with big bucks on the line. And we've often found that freelance designers and even design students often provide a much fresher approach - even if it's a bit rougher around the edges.
So we figured we'd give this a try! And if it works well, we'll have a quick option to give our smaller clients with fewer ongoing needs.
Beg to Differ is an umbrella brand for a bunch of different projects that our strategy firm - Brandvelope - has underway or is planning.
1) Blog - Begtodiffer.com
2) Brand Strategy Boot Camp
3) Elevator Pitch workshops for executives.
4) Online Webinars
The common thread is differentiation - setting yourself apart from the background noise in a given market in creative ways.
We like strong, creative metaphors, and the right icon with a strong story could (actually SHOULD) become our new "mascot".
Should project enough "seriousness" that a corporate executive won't mind paying for it, BUT we do take the position of outsiders in our work, so humour and intelligence are part of the package.
Some themes we often use:
> Brand as Gestalt - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gestalt_psychology
> Need to DEFINE (categorize + explain) before you DIFFER.
> Differentiation is like Jazz (but don't be too obvious with that).
> Brand as bridge between brander and target.
> Brand as rallying symbol for a Tribe (see http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_…geme.html)
No TLAs (Three Letter Accronyms - eg. BTD)
No cliches (I will vomit if I see a swoosh, lightbulb, starburst, or globe). It needs to be whack-you-in-the-head original and creative.
THINGS WE SHOULDN'T HAVE TO SAY: Words must be CLEARLY LEGIBLE, must have spaces, no "dot-com", and PLEASE no number 2 replacing the "to".
Need final artwork in vector format - think large format signs.
After the winner is selected, we'll need a list of key colours and all fonts used (even if they were manually altered).