Let’s say you have decided to start your own business, or you thought of upgrading or reinventing your brand. One of the first order of things you would be doing is to design a logo for your business. Your logo would have to say it all about your brand: your color scheme, font styles, feel and so on. But sometimes, the whole thing would just seem to be quite off, and you can’t figure out what is wrong.
This kind of situation is the reason why you need to have a consistent and strong brand identity. Especially in today’s modern market trend, when tiny details make or break you. Not only does it makes your brand look firm but it would build your credibility, as well.
So here’s the big question: How? – Well, enter the brand book.
What is a Brand Book?
A brand book is a set of rules and guidelines for the use of your brand. A standard if you must. A style guide, in a designer’s context. It basically explains how to properly make use of elements to make sure that it is consistent with your brand.
Why create a brand guide for your business?
Having a brand book makes it easier to do a project. Example: if you decided to do a packaging for a brand product, presenting the brand book to the designer would make things easier to select font styles, colors, and whatnot and output would be consistent with your brand.
Makes you look professional. Being consistent with your marketing tools and outputs makes you look professional. Like everything’s planned out to be the way they are.
You will have control of your brand. Having standardized brand gives your control of any loose ends. If something is not working – a look or feel – you refer to your trusty old brand book.
Never a cheap moment. When you have a brand that’s solid in all corners, your brand would avoid looking cheap.
You enhance your brand. With your brand’s style regulated, it makes you progress into a finer and solid brand. You are put onto a perspective where you see your brand’s untapped potential and develop changes for its betterment.
What to Include in a Brand Book?
There are several components to include in a brand book. Here are the basics and must be included.
As much as possible, this should be brief. In little words as possible, make sure that the concept for the design of your brand is clear. A designer should likely read this very important part of the brand book; it should tell what the brand is aiming to be, its look and feel.
A logo is the brand’s key component to its strategy; therefore, it should be taken seriously. The brand will likely revolve around the logo concept BUT the logo is not your brand alone. Make sure there are many logo variations for certain styles and backgrounds, and clarify minimum sizes.
INCORRECT LOGO USAGE
Remember when I said, a detail can make or break your brand? Here’s a common mistake in the branding world: logos are used and stamped upon on almost anything. Your brand has to look professional, and you should know not to mess around with it. If you do, you’re basically messing with your reputation. You have to be careful to make sure that designers or anyone that would make use of your brand logo understands what they can and cannot do with it.
Font is crucial. It also affects your brand’s feel. You have to define what kind of typefaces to use. More so, their size, colors, headline and body typeface. Do not forget to include web and non-web fonts.
Since your brand revolves around your logo, and your logo revolves around a particular color set, it is imperative to make sure that the use of colors is specified. Specify primary and secondary colors – when and where to use them. Include color palettes, as well as, formats for both print and web end.
COPY AND TONE OF VOICE
Think of this as another key component to your brands personality. It’s how you would want them to “hear” or “read” you – your character. Defining the way you deal or sound like, especially in the social media, is a great way to be consistent. When there are several people writing or doing the copy in their different ways, your brand would seem to have several personalities. That is why it is key to have these laid out properly.
Specify what size, spacing, and where to use icons is significant to promote consistency.
OTHER COMPONENTS THAT CAN BE INCLUDED
There are still several components that you can integrate in your brand book. It’s really up to you and up to the industry your business is in. Some components that you could consider include:
Supporting graphic elements
Design layouts and grids
Social media profile page applications
Brochure/flyer layout options
Who makes a Brand Book?
Usually, brand books are developed by an experienced graphic designer. Sometimes, the agency where your logo is made could do this for you. Even if you already have a logo, you can always hire someone to make your brand book. But of course, it’s better to have the one who made your logo do the brand book for you, as well, to ensure that it flows well with your logo.
It is always better to have a PDF format brand book for you, aside from it being printed. It’ll make things convenient especially during a project where you can always send it via email.
The Bottom Line
Your logo is a significant component of your brand. Several aspects of your business revolve around it, especially in the modern branding world. But your logo alone is not your brand. It’s just a part of your strategy to be identified with. How your logo is treated and used is where your branding unfolds. By having a brand book, you can ensure that everything works consistently to have a strong and solid brand.
In the past the brand design, branding agency concept ruled. Nowadays, after the physics became nonlinear and more quantum based, the branding agency has now become more experiential vs. just brand identity designs. So, in the past looking for an open market, placing your product and/or start intrusively shouting your offer was the best way to do marketing, moving forward to the industrial era it became more cold call system than strategy itself. As time goes by we have been living a phenomenon of exponential acceleration of things and thanks to that exponential theory (Moore’s law) the more it moves forward the wider the leap in time, it correlates and side by side with cosmos enlargement theory by astrophysics.
Having into account our daily lives and daily routines, if we manage to remember, back in 1938, Mr. Buckminster Fuller for the first time introduced a very quirky word called ephemeralization which means among other meanings, the trends of “doing more with less”, a term mostly used in chemistry, health and obviously the industrial field. Stanislaw Ulam, little bit later in 1958, wrote a publication which was based on a conversation he had with John von Neumann where the main topic was the acceleration progress of our technology and how it influences human life. Later on, Hans Moravec was the first one to generalize Moore’s law in order to make predictions about the future of artificial life, Hans was computer scientist and futurist. Moore’s law talks about exponential growth patterns within and in the complexity of integrated semiconductor circuits. Based on Moore’s ideas, Moravec extend the scope to it into other modern and future forms of technology, particularly Robots and how they evolve into an ever more intelligent specie, moving further to the mere integrated circuit theory.
Because technology and religion (beliefs not dogmas) influence the way people see the world and indeed shapes our attitude and as some other sociologists say it helps create, maintain or make disappear entire cultures and this way civilization we can see the level of current technology influence is so high that sometimes we cannot notice, otherwise you might remember James Burke and his TV series Connections (1978), later on: sequels Connections² (1994) and Connections³ (1997) where it was mentioned for the first time the conventional linear and teleological view of historical progress. It’s just today and now we must discuss based on quantum and other theories that look forward to connect to other forms of perceptions, linking this way senses and technology until it goes to more subtle levels we cannot understand yet.
Branding and marketing are facing nowadays new ways to integrate messages into people’s perception and the graphic design agency is this way searching for more interesting brand marketing strategies. The new branding strategy agency will be the one who can integrate marketing and branding via super tools to expand the stimulation of our senses and taking us to new level of perceptions. That will be the new creative marketing agency of the future.
Top branding agencies are now betting for micromoments (thanks to Google!), not anymore, intrusive cold calls and/or direct sales. It is now the brand experience or micro moments, it is the journey through the purchasing process that has apparently more value than the purchase itself although is the opposite. The product branding strategy is simply following what the branding in marketing corporate branding strategy is dictating, therefore, the design and branding agency leverage the creative designs to bring forth new levels of experiences.
The new “branding a company” will not merely want to be one of the best branding agencies, just branding a product. The branding advertising agency of the future will include positive values into their brand marketing strategy, therefore, we will not only do branding and identity just for the sake of doing branding but in order to leave a transformational message to the mankind and help them grow.
Ideas to implement AR to branding.
In the past, branding a business with the help of a branding and design corporate branding agency started by creating a brand of course and this is something any creative design agencies, design branding agencies or corporate branding companies used to do.
It should and exclusively start by understanding ourselves. An honest and sincere understanding of who you are, your strengths, weaknesses, potentialities. This require deep and systematic silence in order to penetrate deep levels of inner intelligence and understanding both of our inner nature and nature around us. Great changes happen in silence, never amidst the noise.
Observe nature. Mother nature is the best teacher we can have in order to create similar experiences via artificial devices. Most of us, almost all startups I know, are so focused on generating profits that they even forget to honestly take care of themselves; sadly, enough, once they achieve their financial, material goals, etc. (if they manage to achieve it) they are sick and can’t enjoy what the results.
We are always jumping up and down between either artificializing nature or humanizing artificial things, say, devices, isn’t this a contradiction? Best idea in this is to understand the real value of nature and the real value of human nature and the real value of that interaction.
Therefore, the brand design company must adjust as much as possible the new advertising agency branding paradigm: The human being as the main subject not the product, service or idea itself. Understanding the human being behind the device is of utmost importance, nowadays we talk about UX or user experience, it should go beyond that UX, beyond the simple subject-object interaction. Just like physics classification has different shares of categories from a gross into a subtler levels or covers, just like onion rings, this way we should see this whole thing from a holistic point of view.
Brand marketing companies must delve more into the heart and soul of the brand identity work. Marketing and branding companies and even top advertising agencies must not think only of the money but of a more transcendent work that goes beyond a simple brand positioning strategy.
Augmented Reality enable the end user to position or place any life-size 3D model into any specific environment either with trackers or not. Therefore, it enriches our cameras feed and fill it with any contextual information released by the source. So it aligns reality with your mobile, laptop, etc. Great study cases to carefully analyze is the British Museums’ Ancient Egyptian trail or The Augsburg Display Cabinet at the John Paul Getty Museum.
Does it take lots of resources to implement (budget)? Are you or your advertising and branding agency following a marketing branding strategy? Disney for example, is using AR for interactive book coloring series and for promotional purposes such as the Star Wars Weekends (SWW).
Is this experience looking forward to engaging more or creating more brand awareness as part of a defined brand strategy consulting outlook? AMC Theatres use AR in order to engage moviegoers and this way interact with different engaging items such as promotional movie posters by using their phones or tablets.
In what stage fit AR in the sales and marketing funnel? How can it boost that specific stage? Volvo for example used AR in order to nurture their prospects base before launching XC90 in 2015. Volvo wanted to show the cutting-edge design behind this model by letting know the most important and interesting capabilities of the XC90. The wanted prospects download the “Volvo Reality” app in order to end users check and delve inside of the car system, go for a virtual drive highlighting its main and nice features along the way.
What you offer must be something, outer nature doesn’t have, otherwise is a waste of time. For example, City University London has implemented cARe. As a Jisc-funded project, the idea behind is to provide a simulated clinical training to nurses to support patient care. You must download the cARe app an iPad that is usually loaned and a headphone splitter so students can concurrently access and listen to a resource. The resources that students had access to were adapted, converted and further developed from the CeTL website (a City University resource that offers learning resources related to clinical and communication skills).
Get yourself centered. Yes, you first. Do research, plan, execute, measure, learn and try again.
Branding and marketing companies, brand management consulting agencies, marketing and advertising firms, brand consulting firms, branding corporate identity specialists and creative advertising agencies can use advertising and branding AR in order to engage its target to more premium packages by using AR branding strategies in virtual marketing. For example, Marriott gives you the experience of teleportation. Teleporter VR Program uses a 4D sensory experience in order to immerse into travelers’ real travel experiences. The database is full of different travelers’ personal stories and experiences when traveling different destinations around the world. Therefore, the story created by the user’s experiences is in a shareable mode.
Branding likewise regulates longevity. A visitor to your web site may buy a single product, only to never come back, but if you’ve formulated a strong brand based around originality, trust and caliber, that buyer is likely to remember you and come back to your site time and time again. In a lot of ways, constructing a net brand is the most control you’ll ever have in respect to your customer base. With a strong brand, you may cover more ground in less time than even the most far-flung marketing campaign. Individuals have to trust you, and in order to set the wheels in motion; you have to develop an unparalleled brand on a firm platform. It’s probable that you already have a product or service in mind, and without doubt, you’re excited about introducing it to the globe.
By producing a brand of your own, you’ll be able to get a greater level of exposure for your line of products, by becoming memorable in the brain of your target buyer base. But it has to go deeper than simply a net personality. You have to combine your net brand with a cohesive business plan that includes prompt buyer support, quality products, a strong sales system and a clear-cut message. You need individuals to associate your brand with favorable influences, and if you do that, your brand will become among your most useful assets. There are a number of ways to begin building your net brand, including:
Your domain name will become your key point headquarters, and you need to pick one that really reflects your overall business focus. By integrating keywords that describe your brand or company, you’ll be able to establish a net presence fast, while protecting your brand in the process. When registering your DNS that will directly tie into your net brand, consider the extended possibilities of other domains that may be perceived as associated to your own, and register those too. If you take a good approach to building your internet brand, you’ll wish to do all that you may to protect it, like registering similar domain names and those with alternate extensions (.org, .net, etc)
A lot of marketers who begin to develop their net brand neglect this believing that as long as they’ve the top-level domain that centers on their brand, they’re protected. This is anything but real. Consider companies like Apple or Amazon. They both began centering on branding as a way of entry to the market. They both had existing rivals and had to wedge themselves into the market by taking another approach. Branding was in all sense, the major focus of their campaigns and the one thing that basically helped them get their foot into the door. You’re aware of cyber squatters, individuals who purposely register domain names that may potentially infringe on somebody’s brand. A lot of times, these cyber squatters are really able to win their day in court, and go on to retain the domain names in spite of that somebody produced a brand around it. You need to do your part to protect a brand that you intend to spend the time and sweat building. It doesn’t cost a lot of cash to register multiple domain names that bear your brand’s keywords and it will provide you far more control over your brand in the time to come.
Naturally, it’s impossible to register all variances of your brand’s association (keywords, etc) but you ought to at the very least consider registering all popular extensions that individuals might assume you control. Depending upon your overall focus, you ought to consider hiring out the production of a unique logo to represent your brand and company. You need to choose one that’s original and includes elements that will be both memorable and professional. Outsource the design to a knowledgeable graphic artist, and be a big part of the development process. Send over your own concepts and thoughts, and work with them to produce an original design that will symbolize your company and brand.
This is far and away, one of the simplest ways to produce an ever-lasting impression on your target audience. Consider all the company logos that resonate with you personally. You directly identify a company by its logo and if they’ve done their job at integrating quality within their brand, you’ll likewise associate each future product or service they release as being even as good as their flagship product. Colors may likewise become a part of a brand awareness campaign. From Cokes red to Pepsi’s blue, colors are frequently an easy way of tying an extremely memorable element to your brand.
You wish people to consciously associate high quality, exceptional value and fantastic client service to your brand and therefore, each product or service you release in the time to come will be included under your brand’s umbrella. Promos
Your sales copy will directly exemplify your brand, and the tone, voice and total direction you take ought to work toward further building brand recognition and awareness as well as brand recall. With brand awareness, your target audience will merely recognize the brand as yours. It doesn’t imply that your market will prefer your brand, see your brand as favorable or associate value to your brand, merely that they’ll know it. With brand recall, your target audience will be able to tie in your brand immediately, to particular components (industry, keywords, product or service type, and so forth). You have to build both brand awareness and brand recall into each campaign you produce, and your sales page copy and promotions will play a big part in formulating this recognition.
This implies that you need to be careful to introduce your brand in a favorable way. You lack to avoid hype filled sales pages, or not being able to accomplish your promises or offers to your buyer base. This ought to go without saying, but it’s among the leading causes of a brand becoming associated with either favorable or damaging associations, and it’s frequently among the most overlooked factors to brand building. Consider how you wish your message to be carried and how you wish your total brand to be perceived, and then produce your promo campaigns so that they represent your brand in the finest way possible. Avoid competing with absurd offers, or feeling as if the only way to earn attention is by going over the top with your campaign contents and ads.
Rather, use story telling, construct favorable brand awareness, and back your product’s offer on a strong foundation so that your brand is consistently working to benefit you in the long haul. Remember, constructing a brand is all about longevity, and being able to tap into your target market so that you’re able to systematically build your net empire simply with favorable reinforcement and a reputation for caliber and value.
1.0 What is a brand?
Brands can be defined in two ways. Firstly, a brand can be an identification or a mark that differentiates one business from another (through a name or a logo, for example). Secondly, a brand symbolises how people think about your business.Building a brand helps customers in their decision-making, creating a perceived knowledge of what they are going to buy – before they buy it. Brands are based on three related criteria.
Confidence in a business, product or service doing exactly what the customer already believes it will do. For example, a 24-hour convenience store brand can be based on customers’ confidence that it will be open, whatever the time of day or night.The emotional response of the customer to purchasing a product or service. For example, a clothing retailer can create a brand based around making its customers feel good about what they wear, how they look, how good they feel about buying clothes from that shop and what it says about them to their peers.( Josephine Collins,(March 2008)
A brand builds a unique personality for a business, and therefore attracts a defined type of customer.Most importantly, branding is based on consistently rewarding the confidence and delivering the expected emotional response. For example, a domestic cleaning company can build its brand successfully if customers’ homes are always thoroughly cleaned, the owners believe that they are using the best cleaning company and feel good about returning to their newly cleaned homes. Your brand can cover your business as a whole or separate products and services. (Josephine Collins,(March 2008)
When starting your own business, one of your most important concerns is to develop your company’s face to the world. This is your brand. It is the company’s name, how that name is visually expressed through a logo, and how that name and logo extend throughout an organization’s communications. A brand is also how the company is perceived by its customers – the associations and inherent value they place on your business.
A brand is also a kind of promise. It is a set of fundamental principles as understood by anyone who comes into contact with a company. A brand is an organization’s “reason for being”; it is how that reason.( Josephine Collins (March 2008)
is expressed through the various communications to its key audiences, including customers, shareholders, employees, and analysts. A brand should also represent the desired attributes of a company’s products, services, and initiatives.
Apple’s brand is a great example. The Apple logo is clean, elegant, and easily implemented. Notice that the company has altered the use of the apple logo from rainbow-striped to monochromatic. In this way they keep their brand and signal in a new era for their expansive enterprise. Think about how you’ve seen the brand in advertising, trade shows, packaging, product design, and so on. It’s distinctive and it all adds up to a particular promise. The Apple brand stands for quality of design and ease of use.
Brand is a big buzzword in today’s market, but what exactly does it mean? Simply defined, is the brand essence and purpose of what your business stands in the minds of your customers, that they thought what they purchase, both tangible (physical) and intangible (subtleties and feelings ).For example, Nike products provides sports physical. Nike also “selling” speed, fitness, strength, and style.
The brand is not accident, you should deliberately Show&Tell the public what you want them to know and remember about your business unique.
Branding is the action of transferring the brand to target market and create emotional tie to your unique product or service. Branding attract, satisfy and retains customers. Nike work through their consistent visual, logos and slogans determined using well-known athletes as spokespeople for the transfer of non-tangible of their brand.
The brand is important because it solves a problem for consumers. The brand helps them to choose that product or service quality, safety, or function cannot be complete until after the purchase is made is identified. Branding builds trust although cannot remove some risk, especially when doing business with big corporations located outside a local geographic area (credit card companies, broker, online shopping).
Without brand name, products and services easily be compared with each other, any financial institution, insurance representative mix, chocolate bar, coffee, beans, and athletic shoes will be indistinguishable from another, even if in reality a big difference in quality, price, taste, and service can exist.
The Logic behind branding is very simple: If your target market is familiar with your brand and good imagination, they more likely to purchase products and services. But consumers do not know what your business is all about unless you tell them!
Is your company branded? If a distinct graphic, slogan, or feeling doesn’t emerge when buyers hear or see your company name, the brand of your business has yet to be defined and developed. Customers must clearly understand and agree with the nature, character and purpose of your product or service before they’ll buy it. And how they know if you don’t inform them? Hire a professional graphic designer, copywriter, advertising agency to help create and promote your brand of.
It’s never too late to embark on your own branding campaign, regardless of size and age of your business. Creating a successful brand takes deliberate thought and execution, but the sooner you start, the faster the results you see on your bottom line. Here’s how to start:
* Who you are defines what you offer, your method of business, their audiences, and why customers should believe in your products and services is placed.
* The transfer decision and its recognition of all other companies with strong reference image, logo, typeface, colors, slogan, jingle, theme, or tagline. For best results, work with professional skill in graphic design and copywriting.
* Commit to consistently carry your brand through every aspect of your business- stationery, marketing materials, advertising, signage, product packaging, customer service, etc.
Invest in your brand is investing in the success of your company. Clearly know that you are and what you offer, then loudly and consistently portray the image with your target market. Brand of your business is a powerful asset, and therefore maximize its value!
In fact, a brand is mental real estate’. It’s a set of expectations a company instills in its customers and prospects, as well as its employees, suppliers and competition. Further, it’s a service/product or concept that’s easily distinguishable from others. Most important, a brand should enhance how you communicate with customers. I believe that successful branding begins with the recognition that everything a company does/says must drive profits and increase value for the customer. Sounds easy. But what is the true value of branding initiatives (i.e., your ROI), and why invest time and money this seemingly non-revenue-generating activity? In truth, there are many rational reasons, including:
Market Differentiation (competitive advantage)
Customer buying preference (retain a positive impression)
Supports the highest possible tolerance to price (perceived value)
Increased cross-sales opportunities (better profit margins)
Better awareness and recognition (leadership in the market)
Investor confidence (plus employees and external alliances), etc.
Without question, successful branding initiatives can have immense payback and add genuine value to your company, whether new or well-established. However, your brand’s success depends on an implementation strategy comprising four essential must’ principals. It must be a genuine reflection on your core strengths-values-management commitments and align with your customers’ values.
Your brand must also identify a unique position that clearly differentiates you from competitors. It must carry through every aspect of an organization, meaning you must articulate your brand identity into a series of actions, beliefs and tools. Finally, and perhaps most important, it must be consistent over time.
In every brand development process, we employ four distinct elements, each weighted equally. First, the Value Proposition; it defines the uniqueness you provide to customers. Brand Character Definition and Expression follows; the character of your brand must make sense to your most important customers (While your logo is part of your branding, other important elements include corporate identity, company boilerplate, and collateral materials such as brochures, ad templates, website identity, etc.) Next, Positioning Statements must express your place in the market to help suppliers, investors, customers and competitors understand your intent; these concepts often form a mission statement or a byline tagged to your company logo. And lastly, Key Messages must consistently communicate your chosen information; these must promote the brand intent and be consistently employed by the entire team.
Looking further, brand launch must comprise a continuous monitoring process to measure value over time to ensure maximum impact and benefit is being derived. This stage may also include press releases, promotional programs, presentation and memorable methods of reaching the marketplace.
It’s accurate to conclude that your brand gives your company identity, character, presence in the market and, yes, even respect. There is substantial evidence that this structured process works, in both the short and long view. A brand grows successfully by leaving a lasting mental picture a positive mark upon everyone inside and outside your company. A true value picture like none other. As Rodney blurted out on stage at Dangerfields’ that night years ago,” Why am I sweating, I’ve got the job it’s my Club”.
Look after your club’; the benefits of a professionally developed and well managed brand could astound you.
1.1 Do I need a brand?
Every business has already got a brand, even if it doesn’t treat it as one. Your customers (and potential customers) already have a perception of what your business means to them. Building a brand just means communicating your message to them more effectively so they immediately associate your business with their requirements. Brands can help increase turnover by encouraging customer loyalty and are particularly useful if you are in a fast-moving sector. If your business’s environment changes rapidly, a brand provides reassurance to customers and encourages their loyalty.
If you operate in a crowded marketplace a brand can help you stand out. For example,
there are many kinds of adhesive tape, but there is only one Sellotape. If you have no other points of difference and when customers are confronted with a wide choice of comparable suppliers, they will always choose the brand they feel will suit them best. Your suitability for a customer is portrayed through your brand.
Moreover, if you want to add value to your business a successful brand can make businesses more attractive to potential buyers or franchisees.
1.2 Branding a Start up
For start-up and small businesses, branding often takes a backseat to all of the other considerations – such as funding and product development. This is unfortunate, for a company’s brand can be vital to its success. Dollar for dollar, it is as important and needed as any other start-up activity.
Recently, a software management company, temporarily named TallyUp, invested in a branding assignment. Its flagship product, a software suite that tracks and runs bonus incentive plans, needed a clear identity and platform to appeal to its target audience – primarily financial executives. The name TallyUp, while somewhat descriptive, didn’t capture the appropriate and required level of sophistication to attract the desired clientele. TallyUp retained a branding consulting company; they recommended the name Callidus, which is Latin for expert and skillful to effectively and in an instant communicate their position. While both names communicate a similar concept, the new one works on a completely different level. Callidus better suits the ideal position of the company.
Serial entrepreneurs have a great deal of wisdom to share about branding and positioning. You can gather additional useful advice on the challenge of brand development from someone like Thomas Burns, whose story is covered in our article, Building a Credible Brand for Your Small Business.
If you’re concerned about the cost of brand development, take heart. While it’s easy to spend a lot to create a brand, you don’t have to. Read our article, How Much Does a Brand Cost? to understand the price range of brand development.
1.3 Creating a Brand
Once you have worked out your core competencies, brand values, perceived quality and brand stretch, you can communicate them to your customers. Build the message into everything your customer or potential customer sees and hears before they have any direct contact with your business. Make sure your company literature reflects your brand values. If necessary, redesign your logo and company stationery so it provides an immediate visual link to your brand values. (Kenneth A. Fox,Nov-Dec 2002)
For example, if speed is a brand value, add an indication of movement into your company’s designs.Reconsider any advertising you may do. Is it in places that reflect your brand values?
Does the copy reflect your brand values?
Make sure your staff understand the brand values and believe in them. Your staff’s attitude and behaviour will influence the success of your brand more than any promotional activity. Remember that if you make strong customer service a brand value, the brand is damaged if one customer feels that whoever they are talking to doesn’t care about service. Review your systems and make sure every point of contact that a customer or potential customer has reflects your brand values. For example, if being friendly is one of your brand values, make sure anyone who answers the telephone or has direct contact with customers is friendly. (Kenneth A. Fox,Nov-Dec 2002)
1.4 How Much Does a Brand Cost?
How much you can expect to pay for the creation of your brand is the $64,000 question. The answer is that the fee doesn’t have to be astronomical, but it can be depending on who you decide to do business with.
Creating a brand is often a classic case of getting what you pay for. Your cousin may create a name and commensurate logo (without applications like letterhead, signage and packaging) for $500, or you can pay an international identity and branding company $100,000. In theory, that $100,000 should by you higher quality images and plenty of targeted branding theory, but that isn’t always the case. (Kenneth A. Fox,Nov-Dec 2002)
Our recommendation is that emerging companies look for an in-between solution. Look for a company that is experienced in branding small or start-up businesses, and that understands your timing and budget constraints. Reputable firms charge anywhere from $25,000 to $40,000 for a name and logo. You should be thrilled with the product and get terrific results from a firm in this range. (Michael Long et al,June 2007)
Before choosing a branding, naming or identity company, scrutinize its portfolio to make sure their style matches your tastes. Also, don’t hesitate to ask for references-they should be proud to provide them. Call a couple of the references and find out whether they liked working with the firm.
Finally, remember that branding is a serious, long-term investment. If you’re going after or have received outside financing, it should be a line item in your budget. Building a brand is a core business activity, as important as leasing office space, recruiting the right people and developing your product or service. (Michael Long et al,June 2007)
1.5 Finding the Right Branding Company
Companies that create branding and identity are often difficult to distinguish from graphic design firms, but how they go about creating your brand may be much different. There are several important steps to select the right company to help you to brand your new business.
First, ask your contacts which companies they know that specialize in branding. Conduct Internet searches for “naming” and “corporate identity” and “branding.” Think extensively about what types of names and logos appeal to you. Research the firms that created the brands that you most admire. Be aware of the firms’ creative styles. Choose a company with
a track record for unique and original names, not one that has a history of creating coined names. However, don’t go with a highly creative firm if your constituency is very conservative and traditional. (Michael Long et al,June 2007)
Contact a handful of companies and take note of how quickly they get back to you. Do they seem motivated or preoccupied? Is the person who returns your call a partner or a sales representative? Meet with a few different companies and trust the chemistry. If it’s there you will know it; if it’s not, keep looking. Make sure that the person with whom you initially meet? usually a partner or owner – will do, or at least direct, the work. That way they will be personally motivated to produce results for you. (Michael Long et al,June 2007)
Ask each company about its process. How forthcoming are they? Are the representatives willing to talk about their procedures and the steps that they’ll take to create your brand? Make sure you talk about money; they may ask you if you have a projected budget for this project. It’s acceptable for them to ask, but it’s also okay for you to hear first how much it will cost, without disclosing your budget. How quickly do they get back to you with a written proposal? If you agree on Tuesday to work with them and you haven’t heard from them by the end of the week, this might not be a good sign. Again, be smart and go with your instincts.
2.0 Top Branding Mistakes
Branding, a commonly used term throughout the business world, essentially means to create an identifiable entity that makes a promise of value. It means that you have created a consciousness, an image, an awareness of your business. It is your company’s personality. Numerous businesses try, but many fail at creating a successful brand. For more on the definition of a brand, read What Is a Brand?
Here are 10 of the most common mistakes:
1. Not thinking analytically. Too many companies think of branding as marketing or as having a catch phrase or a logo. It is more than simply vying for attention. A brand warrants attention on a consistent basis, represents something that your audience wants but does not get from your competitors. For example, it could be providing the best customer service in your industry – not just through your tagline or logo – by actually providing the best customer service in your industry.
2. Not maintaining your brand. Too often, in a shaky economy, businesses are quick to change or alter their identity. Too much of this confuses your steady customers. For guidance, think of big brands – Nike, for instance, has used “Just Do It” as a logo for years. One rule of thumb is that when you have become tired of your logo, tagline, and branding efforts, that’s when they begin to sink in with customers.
3. Trying to appease everyone. You will never be able to brand yourself in such a way that everyone will like you. Typically the best you can do is to focus on the niche market for your product.
4. Not knowing who you really are. If you are not the fastest overnight delivery service in the world, do not profess to be. Too many business owners think that they are providing something that they don’t. Know your strengths and weaknesses through honest analyses of what you do best.
5. Not fully committing to branding. Often business owners let the marketing and advertising department handle such things as “branding,” while they work on sales and other important parts of the business. But sales and branding are tied together as integral aspects of your business. Many Fortune 500 companies are where they are today because smart branding made them household names.
6. Not sharing the joke. If only the people in your office get a joke, it is not going to play to a large audience. The same holds true for branding. If your campaign is created for you and not “them,” your brand will not succeed.
7. Not having a dedicated marketing plan. Many companies come up with ideas to market themselves and establish a brand identity but have neither the resources nor a plan as to how they will reach their audience. You must have a well-thought out marketing plan in place before your branding strategy will work. For help putting together a marketing plan, see How to Build a Sound Marketing Plan for Your Business.
8. Using too much jargon. Business-to-business-based companies are most guilty of piling on the jargon. From benchmark to strategic partnering to value added, jargon does not benefit branding. If anything, it muddles your message.
9. Trying too hard to be different. Being different for the sake of being different is not branding. Yes, you will be noticed, but not necessarily in a way that increases sales.
10. Not knowing when you have got them. Companies that have succeeded in branding need to know when to stop establishing their brand and when to maintain that which they have established. Monitor the results of your branding campaign. If your small business is a local household word, you can spend more time maintaining your professional image.
2.1 First Steps for developing a brand
Before you develop your brand identity, you have to assess your business, how it operates and the messages that you want to – and are able to – deliver consistently to your customers. You must be realistic right from the start. There are five key areas to consider.
1. Work out your business, product or service’s core competencies. These are what you achieve for your customer, not necessarily what you do. For example, a good wine shop’s core competence is selling wine that its customers enjoy – not just selling wine.
2. Assess who your existing and potential customers are and find out what they like and what they don’t. For example, if they are driven by competitive pricing, there is little point in you presenting yourself as a premium-price supplier of the same products offered by your competitors.
3. Find out how your customers and your employees feel about your business. Reliable? Caring? Cheap? Expensive? Luxurious? No-frills? Later in the process, these emotional responses (brand values) will form the basis of your brand message.
4. Define how favourably your business is viewed by customers and potential customers – this is your perceived quality. Do they trust your business, product or service? Do they know exactly what it does for them? What do they think of when your brand is mentioned to them? Low perceived quality will restrict or damage your business. High perceived quality gives you a platform to grow. (Stephen M. Wigley, et al,July 2005)
5. Consider how far you can develop your business with its current customer perception without moving away from your core competencies. The amount you can change your offer is your brand stretch. For example, a shop known for selling fresh sandwiches could also consider selling homemade cakes and biscuits without going outside its core competencies. But selling frozen ready meals too may stretch its brand too far. (Stephen M. Wigley, et al,July 2005)
2.2 Managing the Brand
A brand will not work instantly – it will develop strength over time as long as your business consistently communicates and delivers your brand values to customers. Keep all your staff involved in your brand and your business. As your staff will be responsible for delivering the brand, they all need to feel a part of it and believe in it. Discuss your brand values regularly with your staff so they are clear about them.(R.E. Rios et al,Jan 2009)
Encourage them to offer suggestions to improve your systems so the brand values can be more easily delivered. Monitor your customers’ response to the brand regularly and continually review how your brand values are communicated to them. Get regular feedback from friendly customers and find out if what your business is doing for them matches the expectation your brand creates. Ask dissatisfied customers or former customers too – you learn useful lessons about your brand through honest criticism. (R.E. Rios et al,Jan 2009)
Regularly review your products, services and systems to make sure they efficiently back up your brand message. For example, if freshness is one of your brand values, are there ways you can deliver the product even more quickly?
Once the brand is developed within your own business and your existing customers, you can use it to attract new customers. Use your core competencies to show the benefits of your business to potential customers. Show what your business can do for them, not just what you do. Make sure every communication with potential customers is also consistent with your brand values. Advertisements and sales literature to potential customers must be visually and emotionally consistent with what you provide to existing customers.
2.3 Extending the Brand
A successful brand can offer opportunities for a business to grow. However, if you are introducing new products or services, you must make sure they are consistent with your existing brand values.
Stretching a brand too far reduces its strength and can damage it. If you are introducing new products or services, consider carefully if they fit with your core competencies and brand values. If they do, brand them in the same way as your existing products and services so they benefit from your existing branding. If they don’t, you should consider branding them separately.
If your new products or services remain within your core competencies but not your brand values, you can consider a diffusion brand. A diffusion brand is a different message with its own identity tied to your existing brand. For example, an insurance company’s core competence is getting things put right after they go wrong. If it introduces a new service that repairs items rather than pays for their replacement, it should be a diffusion brand: the Fixit Service from XYZ Insurance.
Remember that any problems with a diffusion brand will also damage your main brand, so treat the diffusion brand with similar care. If your new products or services fit neither your core competencies nor your brand values, you must brand them separately.
2.4 How Long Will My Brand Last?
Your brand should last as long as you want it to. Barring unforeseen circumstances, such as the sale of your company, a change in leadership, or a major shift in your audience or product offering, your brand is the most important and permanent manifestation of your company and its values. It used to be conventional wisdom that your brand should last 20 years. In the information age, that seems like a long time – and it is. (Tim Ambler et al,July 1996)
Your brand might not last that long because your company might change into something else in months, not years. Still, you shouldn’t plan on changing your brand with any regularity. It takes discipline and vigilance to build and maintain a brand. You want it to work for you in the long haul. In time, it will assume a life of its own that transcends the company itself.
Having consider all the above mention results if a company wants to stand out in his field and make a distinction between themselves and their competitor there is no cast of shadow that they need a branding to explain an unusual line of business through which earn above average return other wise if they don’t have a dedicated marketing plan they have to lose the market.As you learned you must have a well-thought out marketing plan in place before your branding strategy will work. As a result we found that branding is one of the undeniable segments of our business.
Although the question of branding has always been essential part of marketing and has been approached with multi-dimension models, sometimes these studies have been made without systematic approach or with full of redundancy or ad-hoc views. Unlike marketing which has the widely-known and usable, practical 7P-model, branding still misses such a sort of basic structure which makes the skeleton of all branding story.
Here I am making an outline of such a simplified model to help people in successfully designing brands and also to better understanding the already existing ones. I collected 7 layers of the branding with 7 different tasks to be completed in everyday actions. I hope this can be useful for the readers, too.
Right before entering this syllabus, we need to define what brand and branding is: in our view brand is a vision that is related to a specific company, product or any specific entity which lives in people and materializes to them. Branding is the art of deliberate control over the whole process.
First pillar: Publicly known
A brand always defines a smaller or bigger group of people who are somehow aware of the product or the service in question. This is the prerequisite or trivial condition of all brands: if you are the only one who knows a specific service or uses a specific product and no information is publicized, the service or product is unable to evolve into a brand. This is the primary task of all marketing efforts, making our specific product or service (along with its whole branding costume) widely known on the addressed market: the majority of the marketing budget is used for this purpose. At this point we normally pay attention to the details of the publicity of all brands: target segment(s), its content, geographic, demography, media, communication methods, timing etc.
Task 1: design and make your publicity
However, the fame of a product or service is not exclusively based on the publicity gained (mostly depending on the money available for promoting the brand) via frontal, push-type of promotion. Money spent on communications is a very important factor to reach the second stage of publicity: the people involved in the communications flow will probably share the information with each other and start a – sometimes very simple and few words – discussion about the product or service heard. The act of sharing the information with each other happens or has happened with all known brands. Suggestions, opinions made in public are very important in articulating brand and thus creating or strengthening/weakening brands. This is why the importance of Facebook in contemporary marketing cannot be overestimated enough, or, with similar effect, the customer service/problem handling has always been focal point of customer satisfaction and branding, too.
The publicity of branding therefore incorporates all means of sharing the information related to a specific brand or service. There are two basic type of publicities: there is of course the strictly controlled information sharing method (typically: marketing communications) and we also have to face a second publicity, the huge uncontrolled means of communication. When we are thinking on designing a new brand or just examining an existing one, we have to enlist all the ways how the specific brand gains publicity and sort them by relevance with regards to the public coverage and effect, making special attention to the uncontrolled ways of publicity.
The success of controlling publicity is a key to profit from branding, however, public control will never mean information monopoly over the media and over the outcome: even situations when a company has theoretically 100% control over the situation (e.g. customer care desk at the office or shop), it is always a challenge to control what is exactly happening there, what is going to be told or heard. Thus, from micro to macro level the publicity always carries a huge uncertainty factor with regards to reach, direct effect and future implications.
Second pillar: Associative and narrative – stories around
The discussions initiated and information shared publicly about a brand (or a branded product or service) would show up the next major characteristic of brands, that is, the power of the coupling or association related to the branded products or services. In other words, branding means that we create stories around a brand. Brand identity or personality, brand vision, brand promise are the official stories reflecting the narrative of a generic brand on different levels. Marketing creative planning is exactly doing the same around a specific product of a brand (e.g. ‘The environment friendly Toyota Prius’ as a story), while general brand stories (I mean the Toyota brand in the example) or associations are on higher level only. We therefore have to consider several layers of brand stories or narratives when examining them. It is very useful when these stories are consistent and formed professionally and are not contradicting to each other.
Brands are incorporating many stories and ideas not just from individual products and services determined by the company but stories and ideas also coming from the public. Unfortunately – as we mentioned above – we cannot control the majority of the perceptions of our brand. Individual opinions, perceived qualities, good or bad experiences are building the narrative universe, or more simply, the stories of a brand.
Task 2: define and drive brand stories
Notwithstanding the above, we can drive these brand stories and narrow them to the desired ones on at least two-three different areas. The mission statement of a company/organization is the very source of official brand stories and determines the branding direction via its written values and operational reasons. Secondly, the slogan or the tagline of a brand (like LG’s Life’s Good) is meant to embody the driving narrative story and works like a magnet: collects all the associations around a brand. The third layer of story comes along with specific products or services: repeating the slogans, taglines while inserting the logo of the brand on individual products/services makes the specific product or service painted with the general brand’s associations and qualities. The individual story of a product or service is like a topping on the branding cake. Pure brand campaigns on the other hand are always aiming outlining and fixing the desired main stories and narratives of qualities in the customers.
Controlling publicity cannot be done without controlling the stories attached to a specific brand and seems the major task of all branding and communications managers. Here, we have to highlight a related issue which behaves like the blind spot of the branding: rebranding. Rebranding campaigns are to change the very basic story of a brand. This is the reason why these campaigns fail many times and real rebranding is a very seldom event.
Third pillar: Concrete and multiplicative form
In real life we always give tangible forms to brands because we want to make profit from our money spent. Brand without concrete product/service to buy (or without a related person when we talk about personal brands) is useless or just a promise (like the newly planned Jolla mobile OS with only a demo video). The embodiment of a Brand is an essential part of its very nature.
Normally we use the power of a general Brand Name for many individual products. An already existing brand hands over its potentials (its stories of qualities, usage, value etc.) to specific, individual products and even when we see a new product of an already known brand we are already having a presupposition or sense of certain expectations towards the brand new product. A VW car is perceived for many as a reliable one; however, it may happen that a much lower quality is introduced in a new model than what the brand had fulfilled at its predecessors.
Task 3: make several appearances to utilize brand power
Most times we may say that a brand is transferred into several products and therefore it is multiplicative. It is very seldom that an earned reputation of a brand represented in only one product or service. For example the perfume 4711 seems to be transferred only into one product for a long time, but the brand’s product portfolio today consists of more than one item: after shave or even shower gel is also produced. Start-ups typically own only one product and normally the first product is the one that determines and forms the brand later on. Initially, the brand is typically built upon on only one product or service and this is why it is very sensitive when entering a market with a new company and a new product: it also determines the future brand and products the company assessed with.
Personal brands, seen superficially, are not multiplicative: a person who has double face (see politicians) and therefore not able to form a consistent and concrete personal brand, are subject to lose their reputation and their face rapidly. This is because brands can have only one concrete (credible) story, without major contradictions. The multiplicative nature of personal brands should be investigated from another perspective. In case we regard a person’s appearances in public as concretizations and multiplications of his/her brand, we are closer to the truth and we understand better why celebrities and politicians are so keen on public appearances.
Fourth pillar: Unique proposition
The history of branding is stemming from the wish of making a producer’s goods identifiable. This is not just to ensure the identity of goods but also to prevent from copying and forgery. The brands around us are still carrying these old attributes: the logo of the company/brand is expressing the uniqueness of a brand (supported by law as trade marks) and helps us to identify a specific brand in the universe of brands and signs.
Sometimes it is very hard to make distinction based on the products/services alone: Pepsi and its rivals put in a neutral glass next to each other are unidentifiable, so the use of branding techniques is crucial for gaining profit for both companies. Just like in the cola case, the technological industry also heavily relies on the branding when selling its products or services: PCs, laptops, smart phones or internet accesses are very similar to each other. Or, a tax advisory service consultant firm is facing real challenges to provide specific brand vision.
Task 4: find and use the means of brand differentiations
The unique proposition of the brands has to be built up and shown for the public: the individual logos of brands on devices for example help the company to make distinction from their competitors and help the customers to identify different market players in order to make a personal choice of preference. Most times companies heavily rely on the unique brand distinguishers, like stories about their unique market segment, tailor-made products, additional services they provide etc. Sometimes, when stories among a group of competitors are very similar or compatible (like the Big Four Auditors) and even their service is similar, a common story may evolve around them focusing on more the similarity and indirectly expressing the exclusivity of the group members.
Fifth pillar: Value
When we identify a brand on its telltale signs (e.g. design) or logo we do not think on what we see first (the product itself) but rather we focus on the brand value represented by the specific product or service. We may say (even without seeing the product) that if you are having Martin Logan stereo speakers that is very cool, but if you are having Philips that is not so awesome. Different brands represent different values: there are low-end and high-end brands with many in between. Start-up companies have to position their brand value on the axis predetermined by the existing market players. Making decision on positioning the companies’ services or products on the lower or higher end of this axis has nothing to do with ethical values: a low-end, cheap car helps many disabled or poor people without doubt. Rather, making the choice of brand values determine the market we are about to target. And this target market decision affects our business outlooks directly. When Toyota launched it Lexus series and decided to focus on the higher end cars they probably considered the higher profit option.
The value of a brand is also expressed in a more measurable way. In general ledgers brands are valued as a part of the company’s goodwill and are very sensitive for new product introductions and for amortization, too. From financial point of view brands regarded as assets that have been created due to investment and are also subject to lose or increase their values.
Task 5: define and carry brand values
The value of a brand emanates into individual products of a company and the value of the sold products affects the value of the brands. More surprisingly, the value of a brand may transfer over the buyer persona influencing the perceived value of a person in a certain group of people (see Apple fan-effect) while the network-effect of the public also modifies the brand value (exclusivity, limited models are also able to increase brand value).
The relative price of a product or the whole branded portfolio both has very special connection with the brand value: the higher the price positioned the harder to imagine low brand value. This is because the narrative of the price (see Second pillar) influences the brand value. Other narratives of a brand (how durable it is, for instance, or which celebrities are using this brand) heavily effect the brand value, too. Similarly, the extent of public spread (see First pillar – how much the brand is known, how much spent on advertising) also effects the brand value.
Brand value is determined by several other factors even not listed here. It is partly the result of deliberate actions of the company (market positioning of the brand and its products) but also exposed to external factors (like time) and public opinion.( LG’s rebranding from the low-end Goldstar brand to the higher positioned LG showed that value propositions of a brand require efforts in both areas. Grundig made the opposite U-turn when sold to Chinese company.)
Sixth pillar: personal relation
All the pillars encountered previously are summoning on personal level because the nature and the definition of branding 100% relates to human feelings and perceptions. Most cases we can translate this personal effect and feelings to perceived brand values and the position of a brand in the customers’ head. People know or do not know, like or dislike brands, become haters or fans of brands, recommend or just accept certain brands.
Task 6: turn personal relation to action
As a result, this personal disposition of a brand clearly ends up in the relation to the act of buying. We, marketing professionals should not deny the aboriginal intention of our branding efforts to influence buying decisions on personal level. We are not just simply influencing people in business for the sake of general human aims: we do not want world peace; we do want to have our specific products and services sold. We want to convince John or Clair Smith as individual customers to select our service or product. This is the action we – or more generally: the investors – expect from any investments (including brand campaigns) made.
Fortunately we not all live in the business sector, not all follow business aims (i.e. sales) in our lives. Surprisingly, non-profit organizations are not so much different from business ventures from this point of view. Non-profits also want to have a specific action to be reached: an action that is maybe appearing directly (like giving donation for starving people) but can be mental action or change to be targeted (for instance diversity campaigns).
The personal relation to a branded entity can be outlined in a matrix where on the first axis we can define the readiness or probability of buying action (or in a non-profit: readiness for action) and on the second axis we may highlight the level of brand’s emotional acceptance.
The personal relation to a specific brand with regards to the ultimate sales reason can be mapped as shown, but we should not forget that personal emotions and relations to brands are much wider than presented above: some people feel that their beloved brand is expressing also their way of life, involving several other actions well beyond a simple shopping; or just feeling neutral about a brand while the person is not going to be represented in any commercial situation (like myself with any hunting brands, although I know some of them).
We should therefore identify very precisely the personal relations to our brand of our existing and potential customers and we should make focused actions to harvest the branding efforts we have previously made.
Seventh pillar: Exposure to time
We have already mentioned before the amortization as an important factor in brand values. The simple reason of amortization is that the brands (via materialized products/services) and the customers live in time.
The general life exposure to time factor represented in concrete shapes with regards to brand itself and to its specific products/services. (Amortization is only the result of that process.) Brand perception very much effected by the products/services in timeline (e.g. how much up-to-date the product is reflects the brand’s state-of-the-art nature) and on the other hand the brand itself (without looking at individual products) also has an individual character which has its own life-cycle (how old a brand is, what type of products they represent).
Task 7: Consider time: plan and replan over time
Brands do not last for ever and are changing over time, even without deliberate actions. Amortization expresses the time-factor in economic terms but all the pillars mentioned before has a time layer. The repeated actions of marketing campaigns, the product developments or changes in market environments change the face of the brand even if it is not perceived by the company. The sad story of Nokia is a perfect example of how this specific brand was effected by the time factor in all possible way, from the publicity of its phones (a complete new generation has skipped Nokia phones), through the changes in the narratives attached to the brand, with the refreshed need to be unique again to the sharp decline of the brand value.