Branding and honesty

Greg Salmela
1 min readDec 18, 2020

You have no control over what people say or think about you. But your actions, consistently executed over time, can either shape or reinforce opinion. This is similar to how one builds brand equity.

While brand strategy is the meaning you want people to associate with your brand, brand equity is how well that association is believed and retained by your market.

Building equity is no different than building a reputation. It is the outcome of action — demonstrating your values with consistency and frequency.

Nonetheless, in their eagerness to shape market sentiment, it is interesting how some companies fail to appreciate the need to align what is said with what is done.

This was illustrated twenty years ago when British Petroleum repositioned itself as a green energy company. In contrast to its aspirational brand strategy, the company’s actions ultimately revealed its truth, with a bungled response to an ecological disaster of its own making.

In the end, it’s hard for a brand to be dishonest and prosper. Those actions repeated consistently over time always reveal one’s true nature.

I founded Aegis, a relational design firm. Aegis helps create emotionally-intelligent brands and organisations.



Greg Salmela

Hanging with human-centred thinkers, researchers and designers.