Before I get to the nitty gritty, let’s first address some common misconceptions around Branding
Your brand goes beyond just a logo… Your brand is your identity.
And if you were unaware of that, you’ve come to the right place!
When talking about anything brand-related we always start with your logo design.
A logo can be used as a tool of reference for your brand’s values and your product quality. You can convey these to your audience using recognisable images, colours and styles.
Let’s say your logo is a book cover, and although they say never judge a book by its cover, let’s face it most of us do.
Whether consciously or subconsciously, human beings are extremely judgmental.
If we don’t like something at first sight, we often won’t even give it a second thought.
In most cases your logo is the first point of contact with your brand. It’s important that it’s on trend and pleasing to the eye… and that it portrays a true reflection of your brand.
Ok so going back to the book… you’ve got them to notice the cover.
That’s great…You’re on the right track.
But there are still many other aspects to consider when formulating your brand identity.
What’s that then, I hear you ask… oh? You didn’t ask, well I’ll tell you anyway.
It’s engagement, and no that’s not a proposal… it’s a fact.
Once you’ve hooked them in, the question is how will you keep them interested?
The answer is: keep it simple, be informative and provide an easy solution… with so many options to choose from, you need to make it an easy choice for a customer to choose you.
Now do me a favour… take a good look at your logo.
Is it really working for you? Does it stand out from the crowd?
Would you choose YOU?
The Brand Identity Prism is a concept used by Jean-Noel Kapferer to show how brands are the senders of information and how customers are the receivers.
There are six aspects to consider when discussing brand identity – physique, personality, culture, relationship, reflection and self-image.
These all come together and build a strong foundation for a brand.
I’ll mention these points later, per relevance.
I like to split Branding into two main parts.
Firstly, there’s the visual side, which includes physical traits such as the logo, symbols and all things presentation. Design trends play a big part in this, the more up to date your logo the more attractive it will be to consumers and they’ll be more likely to choose your brand over others.
Then there’s the more interactive side linked to values and image portrayed by the brand. This is brand value.
Let’s see what Steve Jobs thinks…
“To me, marketing is about values. This is a very complicated world, it’s a very noisy world. And we’re not going to get the chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us.”
Let’s start off with brand value/s.
There are two aspects to consider here, brand value and values.
Sounds the same, right?
Brand value is the price people are willing to pay for your brand.
Seth Godin wrote, ‘A brand’s value is merely the sum total of how much extra people will pay, or how often they choose, the expectations, memories, stories and relationships of one brand over the alternatives.’
But brand values is the behind the scenes work that goes on within a business. It’s very similar to core values, such as putting customers first, the personality of your business and how you want people to see you, not only your products.
Businesses need to build trust to must make customers believe that the products they are offering are the best ones for them.
There are three key questions you need to ask yourself here.
What? How? Why?
Simon Sinek uses the “Golden Circle” to explain where businesses go wrong when marketing their brand and products.
Most businesses focus on what they’re selling and what the product is, with very little focus on why you need the product and why the brand is different.
A great example of this common mistake is TiVo, they have high quality products but still became a commercial failure.
People don’t buy what you do but they buy why you do it.
Am right or am I right?
When you’re able to give your customer a positive experience via the brand your business has created, that’s when you know you’re doing it right.
The personality of the business is how the brand communicates with the world through style/voice, design style, colours used and so on.
Anything that disrupts the customer experience will straight away give the brand a bad image in the customer’s eye.
You need to create a voice for your company that reflects your brand.
When buying a product people always think about how the product will make them look.
Self-image is key, as people associate themselves with the quality of the things they own.
The brand’s culture is very important as it links it familiarity and emotion to the product. For example, Coco Cola use a theme of celebration and family throughout most their advertising to portray a positive emotion linked to the brand.
To be able to let customers feel this emotional bond leads onto a strong relationship.
Digital marketing has opened a new discussion ground for consumers to voice their opinions on brands and their customer experience. This allows customers and potential customers to shop around before coming to a final decision.
It’s not easy for a business to have total control over its brand image because of this… every business needs to stand out from the crowd and convince customers why their product solves a problem others don’t.
A business needs to take into consideration the behaviour of the brand, the language they use and how they are perceived overall.
A brand needs to maintain a good image online and offline, and this all comes down to how you communicate with customers before, during and after sales.
Design trends and logos
The physique of a logo adapts, just the way people do.
In order to keep up with current trends, a brand should be continually evolving.
One very important example of this is Apple.
Apple managed to create a buzz and still does with every single product they release.
The brand image distinctly portrays innovative design.
Believe it or not, Apple were one of the main influences behind this flat and simple design. The flat design originated from Switzerland in the 1940’s , and was known as the Swiss style.
As you can see the Apple logo went from a glossy 3D image to being completely flat.
This was all done overnight in the iOS 7 update, and it started a trend that others soon followed.
Some of the trends popular in 2017 are minimalist, simple and flat designs. Brands are taking a step in a direction towards simple logos, taking away any unnecessary details.
Even though you need to be different and unique, a business still needs to adjust to the current trends to be desirable.
Does your brand need a reboot?
A brand reboot doesn’t mean completely changing your logo, your logo represents what you represent as a company and this identifies the customer experience.
It doesn’t even need to be a drastic change. A good example is how Starbucks removed the word coffee from its logo just to emphasise that it’s not the only thing they do. The logo is still recognizable and the brand experience remains similar, but it allows Starbucks to access a larger market.
When you first designed your logo, it was exactly what you wanted that moment in time.
As your business grows, so should your brand.
Design has shifted to simpler concepts and with this, your logo needs to follow.
But remember, don’t follow what everyone else is doing, it’ll soon become outdated.
Don’t be the sheep in the market… be a fish.
Here’s an evolution of Little Fish Media’s logo.
And if you’re interested in reading more, check out these resources: