The perils of overt branding

It's often assumed that strongly branding your product or service is a good thing. Companies spend hours on brand guidelines and ensuring that every opportunity is taken to reinforce the logo, colour palette or strap line.  

But I'm not so sure. 

Take for example, the food delivery service Deliveroo. They're an Uber-type business that provides a delivery service on behalf of small restaurants and takeaways. In London they seem fairly prevalent now. You see their branded drivers whizzing around on mopeds or bicycles, highly recognisable by their blueish outfits and their Kangaroo logo. Most evenings I see 12 or more on a relatively short stretch of my local High Street.

But that's where the problem starts I'm afraid. As their highly visible drivers are hanging around in groups waiting for their next delivery, nursing their iPhones outside cafes or parked up on their bikes (or indeed smoking by the bins outside Nando's as they were last night) . It used to be we had disenfranchised youths hanging around on street corners. We now have Deliveroo drivers.  

So I'm not so sure this sends out a positive brand message. Other delivery services (FedEx, UPS etc) of course don't suffer this fate as their drivers have somewhere to go.

Now, this is nothing against Deliveroo and they are doing nothing wrong. I'm sure they provide an exceptional service, and a great employment option for bike owners with "spare capacity". But sadly for them though when I think of them I now think of bored drivers hogging cafe tables. 

Branding is less about a physical product but has always been about the wider experience. Its about the context in which an offering is made - which more often than not has nothing to do with the core business. Focussing on delivering a product from A to B may be your raison d'etre but what peripheral impact does that have on the community, environment or society. What defines the consumer perception of you and your reputation? Is this more out of the box then you might first consider?

And to prove my point as I was walking through Central London mulling over this post, one of their drivers nearly knocked me over cycling down a crowded pavement focussed no doubt on making a speedy delivery. You couldn't make it up.