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The brand boundary is the perimeter of your brand line. It's the line that separates your brand from everything else. The line that separates what's “you” and what's “not you.” It helps your customers and internal team understand what to expect from you and what not to expect from you. You can say it's an invisible fence protecting your territory. That implies that brand boundaries are easy and automatic, correct? Wrong! The reality is that if it were easy — there would be a lot more successful brands than there actually are!

Have you ever worked on a team, been given a set of brand guidelines, and then told, " Okay, this is our brand?” 

Many people think a brand is a logo, the colors you design with, and the fonts you write with, but the truth is a brand needs to be so much more than that. In today’s world, brand expectations have changed, and so have brand boundaries. 

Designer figuring out brand design

1. Figuring out how to adapt your brand

    So you've created a brand. Now what? 

    Breaking the brand boundary means figuring out how to adapt your brand to different channels in a way that makes sense. The most important part of that sentence is “adapt your brand.” Your job is not to create one unique message and force it to apply to every channel. Instead, the goal is to create messaging that embraces the audience on each platform and delivers the right message authentically.

    A great example of this is Chipotle. Chipotle is successful because just when you think you have a grasp on the brand, they do the unexpected and push the boundary. In their most recent claim to fame, they got the “corn kid” from Tiktok in record time to stay relevant to their core audience, which paid off. With 31.8million views and counting, Chipotle took an opportunity that most brands would be too slow or too afraid to take.

    the corn kid and the corn song from tiktok

    Ultimately, don't obsess over how your brand is portrayed on every channel or how to enforce the same message across all of those channels. Instead, break the brand boundary. Adapt your brand to each avenue in a way that makes sense for your specific situation. After all, no single brand can thrive on every channel; however, the strongest brands are those that can thrive on their chosen channels.


    2. Drive community over consistency

      In the past, branding was all about consistency. You had to make sure that your logo was everywhere, your colors were consistent, and your message was the same across every platform.

      Well, that isn't true anymore.

      Nowadays, people don't care as much about consistency as they do about content and community. People are venturing into new territory by sharing content in their own voice over social media. They're creating communities based on their interests and following those communities closely.

      So if you want to break through the noise, you need to focus on your brand's content and community aspects rather than just focusing on consistency.

      This is where breaking brand boundaries comes into play.

      A great example of this is innovative brand partnerships to drive more community. For example, Starbucks and Spotify kicked off a co-branding campaign: First-of-it’s-Kind Music Ecosystem. 

      When you think of Starbucks, chances are you don't think of music, but music is a big part of the coffee chain's brand experience. The goal of this brand partnership was to create an immersive experience and expand the communities for both Starbucks and Spotify by offering Spotify artists have greater access to Starbucks consumers, and Starbucks consumers have greater access to recreating the ambiance of a coffee shop they love.

       Working together is powerful


      3. Values take sacrifice. Stand for something and mean it

      It’s easy to write values on an office wall and say you live by them. It’s another story to actually do it. We all know that the market is flooded with options: the cheapest, most convenient products and services available. But as of late, consumers have been seeking more than just a good deal—they want to support companies whose values align with their own.

      From experience, this is harder said than done. It means making sacrifices. It’s about knowing what to do, but more importantly, it’s about knowing what not to do as well.

      Break the boundary of just being a brand.

      This means having a purpose and living by that purpose as a human would. Because, at the end of the day, humans are who buy the products and that create profitable brands.

      A great example of a brand that lives by its values is Patagonia. In a recent marketing campaign, they released messaging for consumers to think twice before purchasing their products to support sustainability and decrease the environmental effects of fast fashion. By telling consumers not to buy their clothing, they surprisingly saw revenue growth during a challenging time for most traditional retailers. 

      Patagonia is authentic to its cause and showcased that the environment is more important to them than sales. This type of sacrifice is what makes the brand so iconic and inspiring. 

      The lesson here is If your product is meant to make people feel happy, then it's your job as a company to ensure everyone who works for you is happy. If your product is meant to be eco-friendly, then it's your job as a company to ensure that the materials used in its creation are sustainable. Finally, as a brand, you have a responsibility to your consumers.

      So many companies forget this simple fact: It doesn't matter how great your product is if people won't buy it because they don't trust you.

      Brands have to work harder than ever to stand out from the crowd.

      We hope the ideas in this article will help you think through how to break your own brand boundaries and connect with your audience on a deeper level. It can be hard to break out of the box, but things can get interesting quickly once you do. Who knows where your brand will end up!

      And the ending question: Where are you not going because you’re afraid to cross a boundary?

      For more information or to learn about the branding services we offer, contact us at 

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