The whole Kraft Foods experience was fun, but it also exposed me to the intricacies of branding. I saw marketing specialists work tirelessly to sell products based upon a logo, advertisement, promotional events, and slogans — it felt fake and contrived.
That’s because it usually is fake and contrived. In most cases, the people at the top couldn’t tell you the difference between brand identity and brand image, much less brand strategy.
As we all know, in corporations, crap rolls downhill, so everyone does what they’re told to or what’s required to keep the job and the entire mess ends up fake and contrived.
In the end, the consumer decides what a logo means to them. Corporations can try to influence that, but the consumer decides. If someone thinks FORD means “fix or repair daily” there’s no amount of “ford tough” ads that will change their mind.
I don’t think anyone “has to” worry about branding as an individual. People will figure out whether they like what you’re writing or not. If they do, your name is what they’ll look for. :)