Alan Siegel of Siegelvision reveals 3 things he uses to evaluate a brand

8 Nov 2016

Alan Siegel, president and CEO, Siegelvision on the Inspirefest 2016 stage. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

Influential brand consultant Alan Siegel took to the stage at Inspirefest 2016, where he revealed the three things he immediately looks for when evaluating a brand.

As our working lives become more complex with the advent of new technologies and ideas, the fear of being bogged down in near-meaningless jargon is always present.

In fact, the use of jargon and peculiar choices of branding has led to a number of parody sites appearing online, which generate entirely fictional start-up websites that are eerily reminiscent of ones we’ve seen time and time again.

Future Human

For the sake of clarity, be clear

That is why agencies like Siegelvision pop-up – led by branding guru Alan Siegel – are now stepping into the fray to advise companies on how they can cut straight to the point.

Speaking at Inspirefest 2016 as part of the Design Thinking session, Siegel spoke of his decades in the branding business and how now, as we enter a “disruptive time”, he has found there are three easy ways to evaluate a brand.

The first of these three key markers for a successful brand is whether you have made your message clear or not.

If you have created an entirely new brand with a fantastic product, an identity that doesn’t give you a sense of what the product is, or is similar to another, will do you no good.

This in itself is broken down into the three ‘clarities’: clarity of purpose, clarity of expression and clarity of experience.

Quoting himself, Siegel has said that: “Complexity is a thief that must be apprehended. It robs us of time, patience, understanding, money and optimism.”

Credibility is key

Secondly, it is also important to evaluate a brand on how credible it is to an audience.

One particularly obvious example has been the 18-month saga of the US presidential elections between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, which has seen both candidates offer wildly different viewpoints on how they want to lead their country.

Throughout this time, one has attempted to assert her branding as a steady ship with years of experience in politics, while the other puts himself forward as someone non-establishment and altogether different from his opponent.

This can be achieved through a number of different methods, but once again, simplification of a message is key. It shows a person that a brand is not trying to hide a message by jargon – they get to the key points.

Citing an example with Citibank, Siegel points out how a 400-word paragraph on what will happen if a person defaults on a loan was reduced by Siegelvision to one simple message.

“We simplified it to ‘If you don’t pay on time, you’re in default’,” he said.

Danger of over-thinking

The final way to determine whether a brand is good or not is whether it can appear relevant.

Looking at companies that are close to 100 years old and are still major players today, it is clear that in order for them to survive in the long term, they need to be in tune with what is relevant in another 100 years.

However, Siegel also warns that sometimes there could be too much over-thinking when it comes to creating a brand image. He cites people like Steve Jobs and Henry Ford as examples of, again, keeping it simple.

“Personally, I believe that people over-research things and [if] you ask people what to do with your company, they’re going to tell you predictable things.”

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM. Book now to get half-price Super Early Bird tickets before prices go up on 15 December.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic