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September 10, 2014


I am the first to admit that I have flip flopped around the issue of Scottish Independence since the referendum was announced and even today with less than a week to go, I don’t know which way I would vote… if I could. Nothing interesting about this and I’m sure nobody wants to read another list of pros and cons on the matter.


There is very little that hasn’t already been said in regards to the campaign, but I do believe that one thing in particular that has been overlooked in all of the commentary. How have the two camps faired from a pure branding perspective (design and tone of voice in particular) – irrespective of their given vision and overall positioning.


For my money there is one clear winner and if the decision was to be based on connecting with real human beings, the YES campaign would win with a landslide majority. Looking at their campaign from the start, its clear to see how building your brand around communities and the grass roots clearly pays dividends. In allowing it’s ‘customers’ to define how the brand manifests itself and by actively not holding tight control over how people express your cause, means that your admirers feel truly part and parcel of the journey. One only has to look at the NO campaign to receive a masterclass in how not to dictate your brand and the subsequent pitfalls of controlling the message and how it is expressed.


As most people now know, consistency is the hobgoblin of the narrow minded which stands no chance against rag-bag brand makers. You only have to look at the two campaigns side by side to see how to approach this branding malarky. Keeping it real and opening yourself up to the people you are looking to make a connection with will always win over those who are closed and controlling.


So my final word on the matter of brand independence is YES to branding freedom of expression and NO to brand straight-jacketing. 

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