Apple, Google, Microsoft, Coca Cola, Amazon, Samsung, Toyota, Facebook, Mercedes Benz, IBM. Heard of any of these? Of course, you have. Everyone has heard of them. The Whole World knows them. They are the top 10 Global Brands of 2017 and are standing evidence that strong brands grow strong businesses.
So how can we come up with a brand for our considerably smaller business? How can we make our brand strong? But more to the point what exactly is a brand?
First things first.
According to Jerry McLaughlin, co-founder and CEO of Branders.com our understanding and perception of what makes a brand has altered over time.
Simply put, a “brand” is the label, name, or identity given to a product or service. The idea stems from the days of cattle ranching when brands were used to identify which ranch the animal belonged to. This form of identifying ones ‘goods’ increased as more products became available, eventually extending into other markets where consumers saw the emergence of the iconic brand in 1886.
1886 - Atlanta pharmacist, Dr. John S. Pemberton, led him to create a distinctive tasting soft drink that could be sold at soda fountains.
Leaping forward into the twentieth century branding had become more about perception than reality. Branding strategies have been developed to reach out to consumers in the face of competition nurturing customer loyalty. For example, continuing the carbonated drinks theme, The Pepsi Challenge of the 1980’s was a blind taste test head-to head with Coca-Cola. The result? Surprisingly Pepsi won – people preferred Pepsi! Nevertheless, according to industry statistics compiled by Beverage Digest, Coke is still Number One and owns 17 percent of the American market for carbonated soft drinks. Diet Coke is second with 9.4 percent, whilst Pepsi languishes in third place with 8.9 percent.
How can this be?
Today’s brand is all about the customer experience and not just their reaction to the physical attributes of a product or service. It’s emotional. It’s personal. And the logo encapsulates this. Brand is what people feel and think when exposed to a particular logo or company name and is derived from several sources such as:
- The physical product or quality of service
- The customer care, contact staff and environment that supports the acquisition
- Packaging, advertising and graphics
In view of this, the quality of what we offer or do for customers should be at the forefront of any strategies to develop a new identity for our business. It’s like wearing an attractive new shiny badge on your lapel which upon closer inspection shoots a needle of cold water into the face of the unsuspecting victim! Your brand is your promise to your customer. This said, when rebranding, it’s a good opportunity to capture the brand essence of what your business is about and to try to convey this in the brief and execution of your new logo designs.
Choose your partners!
Corporate brand revamps are costly, time consuming and a little overkill for small to medium businesses (SME’s). For those with more modest and reasonable aspirations there are several value for money supply partners both on and offline.
But before you embark on a branding project, estimate what value (equity) there is in your current brand and logo. This is not easy to do as large elements of the brand concept are intangible making it hard to measure and there are many methods of doing so. Try thinking about putting your brand in a matrix against your competitors and scoring yourself out of five:
|Attribute||Your brand||Competitor 1||Competitor 2||Competitor 3|
Market share – what proportion of sales does your brand capture in your target market?
Customer loyalty – do customers return again and again or is it a one-time purchase?
Awareness – is your brand known and recognised?
Esteem – do people think good things when they see your brand?
Once your scores are totalled you’ll be in a better position to decide whether to keep the old brand or to up your rebranding budget!
Take Your partner by the hand!
So, if perception is reality and a new brand identity is for the long-term its wise not to rush into the planning and conception of an idea. Take a minute and weigh up the pros and cons. You can …
Do It Yourself – The most flexible and arguably most cost effective option. However, the DIY logo is what it is as even the most gifted artistically are not always successful. Organisations will spend thousands on rolling out their new identity on vehicle livery, signage, letterheads, roll up banners and exhibition stands and yet shy away from allocating a reasonable budget for the brand itself. A corporate misdemeanour!
Stock logos – a step up from clipart. Simply Google the term and you’ll be presented with an array of professionally designed logos for you to choose from. This option is quick and cheap and you get what you pay for but it lacks finesse. The design of logos is generic and so won’t pick up the USP’s and nuances of your business in the way a customised design will.
Design agency – agencies come in all shapes and sizes – from London centric studios with account managers, art directors and smart offices to freelance teams collaborating in shared workspaces. Whilst budget will play its part, an understanding of the agency’s process to understand and create in an appropriate way is also important. Request they walk you through their flow of work. It’s also worth considering whether to pay a couple of agencies a small fixed sum to explore your brand rather than ask for a free pitch. Then pick the one that seems most capable. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with asking for a free hour of consultation, few industries work for free and design is no different.
Online marketplaces – submit your project to a marketplace like fiverr and in three easy steps you can place your ‘Gig’ in front of creatives from around the globe. Again, the process can suffer from a lack of rapport with no deep understanding of what your business is about. But it’s fast, economical and you can see the standard of work in each creatives portfolio before you buy.
Whatever route you take, follow our series of handy tips and you’ll get a better result.
- Spend time completing a decent design brief. Give background on the growth and future ambition of the business. Describe your customers. Research and provide competitor analysis.
- Set and share your budget. Make the money you have go further by asking how the agency feel the money should be spent. Perhaps they do some research or perhaps you split tasks between you.
- Talk in terms of deliverables, what do you get for your money? Just a logo? Brand guidance? A version for the web that’s animated? Ask for a list.
- Understand the process. Good branding isn’t produced by magic. Designers train for years to understand the mechanics of fonts, colour and shape and the interplay between them. When they work to a consistent formula, the results are likely to be more consistent too.
- Meet the team. Find out who will be working on your project. It’s one thing to meet an account manager who can talk the talk, but if the project is being outsourced to a freelancer you’ve never met, you might as well save yourself some cash and go direct.
Give your brand a hand.
EazyPrint are experts at quickly and economically producing the larger format print you need to relaunch your brand. With an amazingly cheap artwork service starting at £15, an array of free templates for you to use to create your professional artwork for banners, pop up stands, outdoor banners and signage, we’re friendly, helpful and we’ll stretch the budget to achieve more for less.
All printed and finished under one roof with free delivery direct to your door step.
Call us on 02380 700111