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Ripest hanging fruit

An honest evaluation of brand consultancy

Mahala Clayton, director at Patronicity, talks to us about branding and why she doesn't hate it anymore.
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Mahala Clayton
January 4, 2021
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The Ripest Hanging Fruit


Four years ago, my company had a meeting with a potential hire, a branding consultant. This would be my first-time meeting someone with this title that I found particularly absurd. If I ever made a fake job ranking scale, I would put brand consultant right below artisanal pencil sharpener and water sommelier (both supposedly real occupations mind you). I had the general feeling that you should know what a business does based upon what they actually do, not what colours they use, their logo, or what slogan they have.


This was 2016 and I still had the passionate belief that we were becoming too dependent upon convenience and screens and that I would maintain my luddite tendencies and be successful too. The great irony was that I worked for a crowdfunding platform, so my ability to be offscreen was squashed. The brand consultant turned out to be a refreshing human being who had ideas about the growth of our company and ways to do so using branding.

Even still we didn’t end up hiring the consultant and my impression of branding remained unchanged… or so I thought.

Today


As I am writing this it is 2020 and I feel duped. Somehow over the years I have been subdued into accepting my dependence on screens and now I don’t give minimally branded businesses the time of day. If you don’t have beautiful UX and a clear identity I am not wasting my time trying to figure it out. What happened to that diligent girl who would take the time to search through a website’s many tabs to find a company’s mission statement and clients? I don’t think I am alone in this transition but it is worth asking, how did we get here?


Time for us to face the facts hunny. To have a viable business you must have a web presence. And now, due to our very limited attention spans, it better be a well-presented web presence. If you don’t have clear business hours and contact info you better believe there will be some Cindy on Yelp tearing down your reputation because she couldn’t find your phone number. Branding isn’t just a nice amenity for your business anymore it’s a requirement. Branding consultants are vetted and passed on like good chocolate chip cookie recipes, and rightly so as we don’t have the time or wider vision to do that in house.


We are living in the most competitive web-based landscape of all time, and your digital imprint is more important than ever. Consumers want to know who you are and understand your identity the minute they come to your business’s web page. Whether I like it or not, we have turned a corner and everything lives and dies online. Brand consultants are the Don Draper of the present to help ensure your business has a powerful identity. Doing the work you wouldn’t want to and couldn’t possibly do. Trust in Don Draper to do the job well.

Final Thoughts


All this to say that if your business is stagnant or is looking to grow in a new direction, look towards the lowest hanging fruit. Consider new branding. Let’s start with that idiom I’m moving to rebrand the lowest hanging fruit to the ripest hanging fruit. Aim higher folks. Create leverage (wink). Get your ROI for staring into those branches (wink, wink).

**Mahala is a program director for the Detroit based platform Patronicity. She still enjoys being offscreen by hiking, biking, and doing yoga in her free time.