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Book Review: Alan Siegel – On Branding And Clear Communications by Louis J Slovinsky

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The name Alan Siegel did not register when I first read the title of On Branding And Clear Communications. However, it did not take much reading to realize who Siegel is. Even if you do not recognize his name, I will bet everything in my wallet (all $5 of it), that you have seen his work. His work in corporate "branding" is iconoclastic, the MasterCard logo, the NBA logo, Xerox – The Document Company, these are all creations from the mind of Siegel.

Author Louis Slovinsky has created a fascinating look into a world that few people have any idea exists. Yes we all recognize the logos that companies use, but there is a greater depth involved than a mere picture. When Siegel gets involved, the company or whatever entity he is dealing with takes on a new life. The Logo is what the consumer sees, but many other aspects of the company are changed.

Siegel creates the corporate image. I had not really given much thought to the concept before reading this book, but Mr. Slovinsky produces great examples. Apple Computers is always viewed as a young vibrant entity, the Apple user is portrayed as being "in charge" of his or her destiny. It is a very positive, go-getter image.

If you look at the latest Apple adverts that is very apparent. The young independent Apple user, who needs nothing but his Apple computer, and the older more staid PC guy (who incidentally bears a remarkable resemblance to Bill Gates), who is almost always having some terrible thing happen.

Siegel calls this "corporate voice"; it is not a logo, it is not a series of ads, it is an entire company image. Worse than that, the entire corporation — from the cleaning staff, up to the president — have to live with the corporate mantra. From the sales people, through the manufacturers, to the customer service desk, everyone has that same set of values.

In many ways Siegel could be viewed as a minimalist; his logos are simple, the corporate message is always short and catchy, and his results are always glorious. What the book does not detail is the grief and pain that organizations obviously had to endure to obtain their new image. Siegel shows a company how to create that corporate image, the image that works.

I found this an intriguing read. I learned much about corporate identities, and the process used to create them. There is a second level, almost a "how to". Even the smallest company could learn some valuable information: keep it simple, keep it clear, and keep it consistent.

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