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Much is changing in the science of branding.
But the art of branding—and the key roles
that creatives and visual language play—has
become even more important in bringing
brands to life. The natural audience for this
book includes creatives, marketing execu-
tives, and any organization seeking to stay
competitive in a media-saturated world.
But branding, of both the societal and com-
mercial persuasion varieties, plays such a
major (and often controversial) role in our
global and local lives today that understand-
ing how and why it all works should interest
just about everyone. Besides, there are lots
of pictures.
Go Logo! A Handbook to the Art of Global
Branding posits that all successful, emo-
tionally centered brands fall into one of
two general classifications: commercial
persuasion branding (Coke Is It) or societal
persuasion branding (any “ism” you can
think of). But disciplined creativity is criti-
cal in both kinds of branding—and in the
context in which all the threads of this book
come together. Just how important a factor
is it, actually? Is it really as critical in societal
persuasion branding as it is in commercial
persuasion branding? What are the personal
characteristics of a successful creative brand
warrior? Are good creatives born or made?
And what are the key determinants that will
most likely shape a successful career?
Go Logo! is also in part a memoir with
stories from a lifetime—stories from grow-
ing up in a time of great historical signifi-
cance and about why I believe history has
shaped my career. Global brand warriors
today face far more complex challenges
than when I first chose my creative tools to
B
ack in the 1960s, a close friend of mine, a solidly left-brained Procter & Gamble
executive, said he would love to write a book, if only he had something to
write about. We both laughed. I understood what he meant. My right-brained,
creative journey had just started, and I wasn’t too clear about where I wanted it
to go. It took another forty-odd years—some of them exceedingly odd—but my
journey is complete. I’ve seen a lot and done a lot, and a look back is often the best way
to look ahead.
Introduction
Why this Book now?
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7
Safeway logo
(Design: Bright Strategic Design & Branding)
Swedish Socialist Party logo
(Design: Estudio Mariscal)
join the branding battles. And that is why
one of my primary reasons for writing this
book is to provide guidance to up-and-
coming warriors.
During my half century as a brand warrior,
I have been fortunate to work with many
notable brands. Sometimes, it was just for
one project; at other times, it was for many
years. As I reflected on the assembly of
this book, I concluded that there was one
overarching hypothesis I could apply to all
of them. Essentially, all successful branding
depends on creatively appealing to the tar-
get audiences’ hardwired need for personal
identities. Sounds all too simple, but think
about it this way: The unconscious choices
we all make from a menu of branded soci-
etal and commercial belief systems consti-
tute the emotional core of our lives—and
motivate most of the actions we take.
Successful brands have to address these
needs. The best ones learn how to dig down
below the level of consciousness to exploit
those hidden hopes and fears: “Who am I?
Where and how do I fit into the society I
live in?” This is as much a science as it is
an art. But once the visual triggers to the
consumer’s subconscious desires have been
identified, the brand stewards and consul-
tants can begin to develop appropriate cre-
ative communications tools—and proprietary
visual languages.
To get below the surface of consciousness,
where most decisions are initially made, I
propose that it is always best to observe
my golden rule of branding: Understand
through discipline; compel through imagina-
tion. The best brand warriors discipline
their creativity to the point where they
can focus like a laser beam on audiences’
emotional needs.
I suggest that disciplined creativity is the one
irreplaceable tool you need in your brand-
ing toolbox.
– Mac Cato
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Ancient warrior helmet
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