Jan 16, 2017

Brand - more than just a logo

It’s a common myth that branding just means designing a logo and using it everywhere possible, but a brand goes much further than that. It’s a complete identity underpinning everything a business does, everything they say and every touch point along the way. And it’s just as important for small businesses as large corporate institutions.

A brand has to be real and it has to be honest– it can’t just be on the surface. It’s about the beliefs and values you can offer and about building a relationship with your customers, not just sticking a label on a jar and expecting someone to buy it.

It may be helpful to think about some top brands: Coca-cola; Marmite; Green and Blacks chocolate – what is it that makes them who they are? You may have played 'The Logo' board game, and surprised yourself with how much you actually know about different brands, but why do you think that is?

The first thing we do at The Market Place when we meet a new client is to dig deep into everything they want to achieve with their service or product and discuss which road they hope to take. Defining who their potential customers are and how they want to be perceived by those customers is important. We don’t try to blind them with jargon and terms like brand strategy, distribution channels or mission statements, but we work together to discover what makes their business stand out from the crowd.

People can have brands too – look at Princess Diana or even Donald Trump. In fact that’s not a bad place to start as it can help to build the personality or character of your brand – the purpose, beliefs and values you want it to portray. What you look like, what you say and how you say it.

So, what are the nuts and bolts that create a brand?

Apart from the logo, there are a number of things to consider when creating an effective brand.

  • Who is the audience or customer you’re targeting? Really get to know them ... what are their needs, what concerns them? How can you help or connect with them? Why should they believe in you? What promise are you making to them?
  • What are the benefits of your product or service?
  • What makes you stand out from others?

Then ask yourself - what’s the key message you want to portray? Straplines or slogans are a great way to gathering these thoughts together in a short, snappy way. But remember, you and your employees really need to believe in it too. Tesco spent six years embedding ‘every little helps’ into their organisation before they went public with it.

Another thing to concentrate on is what tone of voice suits your brand. Do you want to be serious, upmarket, or a bit more lighthearted or even funny. The food and drink industry is a great place to look at how some contrasting brands demonstrate this. Red Bull inspires energy and the adrenaline thrill whilst Innocent is more informal and friendly; their quirky approach has truly won the hearts of their customers.

Then focus on the look and feel:

  • The colour or colour palette – this can help to distinguish rustic from modern or value to luxury.
  • The font – typeface styles can create a different feel, such as funky or traditional.
  • Imagery – realistic or moody photography, a bespoke cartoon style or simple block icons.
  • Communication style – what best suits your brand: digital or traditional methods? Often a good mix is the best bet, but this is something to think through.
  • Anything else that makes you stand out. Do you want to be bold with block letters or a big full stop at the end of your headline or try the softer approach?

All of these things work together to create the image of your brand. It doesn’t have to be too clever or fancy, but should encapsulate the personality of the brand. And of course consistency is essential. Be consistent with your website, emails, brochures, written communications, packaging, and adverts. Making sure staff represent the brand on the phone or at the counter is equally important.

All the clients we work with have something great to offer, whether that’s a fantastic artisan product or chef's expertise to share, and all benefit from our professional support to represent their business and their brand at every stage.

So it’s true, a logo is the foundation of a brand because it’s how people recognise your product and remember you - but that’s not the whole story!


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