What does branding mean to your business? Is it a matter of having a better logo, using a consistent coloring scheme, or maybe being sure that all of your identity and collateral pieces look like they go together?
At Envision, we think all of those details are important, but they don’t go nearly far enough.
That’s because, when it comes down to it, branding isn’t really about looks and images, but feelings and associations. (read a recent article about the difference between logo and brand) We were reminded of this firsthand recently when we started concepting some different ideas for a hotel client of ours. The hotel is committed to service on every level so as we began creating the logo, we examined how it would play into their brand. One of the elements that really jumped out to our team was the ampersand in the logo mark we created. It’s almost like that new Dr. Pepper commercial where the guys keeps saying “and…” and get’s more stuff, (though that commercial had not yet come out when we had our brilliant idea). Suddenly, we started seeing other places the & could be used: peace & quiet, rest & relaxation, and so on.
In that way, something that could have been a minor detail became a striking focal point for our design and messaging – not just something to play off of, but an interesting way to separate our clients from their competitors. Best of all, it’s something that our client’s customers can identify instantly, a piece that’s likely to remain memorable in their minds. In other words, it not just something we’re putting on their materials, but an element that can add significantly to all of their marketing communications.
Because you should be looking for those same benefits in your branding efforts, here are a few quick pieces of advice to help you get started:
- You’re not looking for just any brand identity, but the one that works for your company. In the example we gave, the “&” turned out being a great visual element. For a different client, however, it might not have worked. That’s important to remember, because all brands – like all companies – need to be different. As tempting as it is to simply go with something that’s catchy, you really need something that reflects your values, and your place in the market.
- Good brands sometimes take a bit of creative time and effort. This matters more than you might think. On the one hand, it can be tough for clients to understand why good branding and identity pieces are disproportionately expensive and time-consuming, but that’s because you aren’t paying for the simple image, but all the work that comes with finding the right fit. And on the other hand, you should be very wary of any creative team who claims they don’t need much time to develop a new logo or branding piece, since that might be a sign that they aren’t ready to put forth the effort you need to get the identity pieces you deserve.
- It’s the details that make all the difference. The difference between a good logo or idea and a great one is slight, but it’s something that everyone can see and feel. Knowing your customers, not to mention your employees and competitors see that you have taken the time to establish a strong brand, it sends a message of quality, stability, and reassurance. Those are subtle benefits, but they affect your bottom line in so many ways.
The biggest shortcoming of most branding and identity efforts isn’t that they aren’t good, but that they don’t go far enough – either in terms of the concept being used, or taking it to a level that’s deep enough to really resonate with buyers. If you think your current branding isn’t doing for you what it could, then call us today to set up a free consultation… or tell us what you’ve done to create your own great brand.