One of our favourite aspects of working in the design and marketing industry is without a doubt, branding. But what is branding? Let’s answer some of the regularly asked questions, and take a look at some of the key principles that great brands share…
What is a Brand?
Branding goes far beyond a logo design and an effective colour palette – it is about how your business is presented to your customers, helping you to successfully position your product or service within a chosen market. A brand is an excellent vehicle for projecting company value, making your product desirable and memorable, even to customers that haven’t yet experienced your product.
Your Brand Strategy will come straight from your Market Research. Ask real people, real customers, how they perceive a business such as yours – What do they value in it? What do they like and dislike about other companies within the market? How does the brand make them feel, and how do they picture it? – Your Brand Strategy will build off all these questions, and more, as you figure out what your business is, who you wish to sell to, and why.
Ask Yourself: Who do you want to sell your products and services to? What type of business do you want to be perceived as? What Unique Selling Points do you want to be remembered for?
Research is hugely important – we’d always advise that you avoid making assumptions. It’s important to understand that customers never forget – both the good, and especially the bad. If you get it wrong, those negative perceptions could last far longer than your business does. Equally, if you get it right, customers will talk about you – which is exactly what you want.
When building your brand, always remember, that customers never forget.
Brand Identity & Graphic Design
Great design will generally start with a conversation, inspired by your Brand Strategy. Try to explain as much as possible about your brand and strategy to your designer at the very beginning – the more they’ve been told, the better they can meet your expectations.
Your designer will then create logo concepts that embody the thoughts and feelings that you want your brand to evoke. This will also include exploration of colour palettes and a distinct style which will be filtered through all of your branded materials; anywhere from the packing-slip in a delivery, to the advert in a national newspaper, staff training manuals, your business website – you get the idea – the list goes on!
When you think about how many times your logo will be looked at each and every day, you’ll begin to appreciate the amazing benefit of creating a long-lasting Brand Identity.
Think big. There’s a world of difference between a decent logo and a great brand.
Brand Development – Be Consistent
So, you now have a great strategy and excellent Brand Identity – how do you seal the deal?
The most important aspect of maintaining and developing a good brand is consistency. Always be consistent. Great brands never stray from their brand values. Take Apple as an example – The look is always the same clean lines with lots of white space, the customer service is the same in every store around the world, the product is always innovative and high-quality.
Customers recognise inconsistency – which is why every time a company has a few hiccups along the way, each one detracts from the brand and nearly always results in negative feedback which is shared online via social media.
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
– Warren Buffett
Your brand ethos should be the same no matter where in the world it is shared. You want to be recognisable both in design and in attitude. Your brand is everything, from your design materials and the language you use in each piece of advertising, to the way you want your receptionist to answer the phone and the way each email is written.
No piece of how you present your business is too small to be overlooked as a part of your brand. Being known for being consistent is exactly what every brand should aspire to.
It’s important to mention that without quality, none of the above is going to be worthwhile. It’s hopefully obvious to say that being consistently bad is not going to help your brand to reach great heights. This doesn’t mean that your product has to be high-end – but it means that once you’ve established your demographic, provide them with the service, consistency and price-point that they expect. Quality along with consistency are two key essentials of Brand Development.
Branding is amazingly effective when truly understood, appreciated and well executed. You only need to think of the desirability created and maintained by some of the world’s longest lasting consumer brands to appreciate its incredible power – for example, how have Coca Cola retained such a large global market share for what is essentially just a simple fizzy drink? Answer – they created a brand that remains in our hearts and minds, using strategy, identity, development and quality. Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it!
Looking for further advice? Get in touch to discuss your Graphic Design, Branding and Advertising.