Its a well used phrase ‘a brand is more than just a logo’, but is true. It is the personality of your business. It is the emotional and psychological relationship you have with your customers. It can create and stand for loyalty, trust, faith, premium or mass-market appeal, depending on how the brand is marketed, advertised and promoted.
Take for instance Apple.
The Apple brand personality is about lifestyle; imagination; liberty regained; innovation; passion; hopes, dreams and aspirations; and power-to-the-people through technology.
So you can see there is so much more to a brand and why creating the right persona is key for prospective customers to identify with your product or service.
Here are some thoughts and advice on brand and brand positioning from our expert, Amanda Seymour:
As with everything in business, the key to creating a strong brand for your company is in the planning. Whether you desire it or not, your brand and its connection with your market have a huge influence on the success or failure of your business and with 90% of information received by the brain being visual, the way your brand looks and what it says about your product or service becomes top priority.
We have always compared the process of creating a business brand to the construction of a building, with a strong foundation and several storeys:
First, the foundation, which is all about research and plannintg:
A branding specialist should do all this for you and discuss their findings and proposals with you. Once your brand positioning is clear you can move to the next level.
Second, seek ‘Permission’:
Every brand should be unique in its own way. On a serious note it is essential to ensure that you are not only building a solid, communicative brand but you are also working with a name and visual identity (logo etc) which will not in future raise extremely costly legal objection from other parties. This type of action could even lead to you being barred from using your own carefully planned branding.
To avoid any of these potential future hazards we advise all our clients to commission what is called a ‘Clearance Search’ around firstly the name they wish to trade as/build a brand for. This search will identify any companies, services or products in your chosen market already using your chosen name or wording and determine whether you are legally allowed to create and use your intended brand. We work with specialist Intellectual Property Lawyers to perform these searches giving clients the peace of mind that they are safe in spending time and money on building their brand.
Once we are confident that the plan is secure, we can move to the next floor:
Third, brand building:
Now that we know who you are, we can use the intelligence collected during the brand positioning stage to show the world how you look by carving out the shape, colour and font of your brand mark/logo and the visual devices that will accompany it as well as the tone of voice and key messages which will be employed from the outset.
We will produce a number of visual ideas, curating them down to present only those which best meet the requirements identified through brand positioning and provide the most flexible creative to you and your stakeholders.
The key consideration during this stage of visual identity development is that all graphics/logos MUST have the flexibility to perform effectively in any situation. This creative process should not finish until you have a visual identity you can relate to, believe in and present to the world with confidence. Now you have your look we are ready for the next floor:
Fourth, how to apply your branding across your business.
The secret to communicating your brand well is consistency. Now we have put all these new brand elements in place we need to set out the ground rules on how to use them, or more importantly how NOT to use them.
Far too often we see visual identity which have clearly been initially produced by professional designers but being stretched, squashed, miscoloured, oversized and generally abused by publications, event organisers and even clients themselves. This brand murder can be committed by internal and external forces and so we need to lay down, in black and white, the Do’s & Do not’s of your visual identity.
We do this through a Brand Guideline. This short but extremely thorough document explains the rules for the use of your visual identity including colours, fonts, logo orientations and sizes and even distances from other objects. Sounds pretty obsessive, but brand recognition comes from consistent exposure. Consistency in branding suggests consistency of service/quality.
Now everyone knows where they are and what they are doing, we can move onto the final floor:
Finally, insuring your branding:
Your brand will most likely become the most valuable asset your business has. As with premises, a vehicle, staff or public it really should be ‘insured’. Trademarking your brand and your brand mark can dramatically reduce the exposure your brand faces from competition and specifically impersonators, companies attempting to benefit from brand equity already earned by you and your business.
Trademarking is not always possible due to the intricacies of language and parameters in which the law is allowed to operate but if a trademark for your brand in the sector in which you operate is possible we would always recommend you insure your brand against possible infringement.
Investing in your brand from the outset is the best business move you can make.
If you have an accountant, they should be your first stop for business advice. If you don’t have an accountant or they can’t help, BuBul has a wide range of experts available. For great advice on brand, contact our expert* Amanda on LinkedIn.
*We’ve picked experts we know and trust who are good at what they do. All of them will give you at least an extra 30 minutes free advice if you contact them and would then charge their normal prices. They don’t pay to be on BuBul and don’t give us any money from anything they earn as an expert.