A famous man once said “Good design adds value of some kind, gives meaning, and, not incidentally, can be sheer pleasure to behold.” This quote belongs to a man called Paul Rand. A visionary, he worked only for top companies that had a strong reputation to uphold such as Ford, ABC, IBM, UPS and many more. Large organisations trusted him with their image and their branding success and Paul made sure to take the time and money to produce perfect work every time.
Paul’s most famous work was produced during the 60’s, he famously charged $100,000 per single logo design and refused to work with non-reputable companies even if they had the money.
During 1992 Steve Jobs (founder of Apple) had to persuade Paul to work on branding for his new project Next Computers. In an interview Steve said: “I asked him if he would come up with a few options. And he said, “No. I will solve your problem for you. And you will pay me. And you don’t have to use the solution. If you want options, go talk to other people. But I’ll solve your problem for you the best way I know how. And you use it or not. That’s up to you. You’re the client. But you pay me.”
Paul’s reputation and past success meant that he could set his own rules for any project/client no matter the value; this also meant that he was able to take the right amount of time to develop something that was highly effective and timeless. Paul knew the formula to use to create a great and vastly effective brand. Most of his work is still being used today and still looks great and modern.
Famed designers, branding professionals as well as specialised organisations are paid huge sums of money to develop something that would be highly effective, and withstand the test of time. This makes the thought of branding off putting to many small and mid-sized business owners as they disregard it as an unnecessary expenditure, and instead think of it as something that could be done cheaply or quickly. Many people even consider branding as just a logo design or a bunch of colour.
The truth is there is a lot that goes into developing a brand and a great one at that. Since we are currently in the information age it’s safe to say that by accessing the right resources, the majority of business owners can now learn more about what it takes to create a great brand and they can begin to apply some of the correct principles to help develop their own brands.
What is a brand?
It might be best to start by telling you not what a brand is, but what it is not. A brand is not your:
- colour scheme
- business name
These things are outlets of your brand, developed in order to convey your brand to the target market in a way that is easy to interpret, consistent and reliable. So what is a brand? A brand is an idea, an ethos, an image you want to portray to your customers. Your brand should be evident in the way you interact with customers, the language you use in association with your company, the way you answer the telephone, the products or services you sell and even the way your employees present themselves. It covers all aspects of how you want to be perceived by the general public. It should be noted that a brand is not entirely controlled by the company as we have little control over public opinion, but we can attempt to influence the way consumers perceive our products or services.
Strong brands stem from a strong ethos. Look at companies such as Mercedes. Their brand is indicative of the quality of their vehicles yet this quality cannot be conveyed without the vehicles themselves being well made. The ethos with Mercedes started out as “The best or nothing at all”. This ethos has influenced every aspect of their business.
Here are a few tips on what it takes to create a great brand
A brand should offer great value to their customers in every aspect not just their products. The best brands change how we see the world, they have the power to encourage, persuade and build security. A sports or energy drink brand will challenge our thoughts on what is humanly possible when it comes to fitness, achievements and capabilities. A brand should not be defined by what you make, but by what you make happen. A great brand will help people help themselves by delivering value with every interaction and doing activities that people care about thus making them care about your brand.
A great brand stands out for the difference it makes and what it contributes to society not because it looks different or uses better jargon. Marketers love a brand with a conscience. Marketing/PR campaigns are most effective when emotions are involved. Every major brand has concrete brand values, they use their brand values to bring their brands to life and remind people what they are all about. However, there are no reasons why small to mid sized companies can’t do the same. A brand should actively involve audience in their marketing campaigns; a more engaging marketing campaign equals better word of mouth.
The right branding combined with the marketing and PR efforts could help a business gain astronomical success. Great branding will make you news worthy; it will place the lime light on your company and will get people talking. Branding is much more then just a logo it’s much more then just a design.
1. Simplicity is key
A great brand will be simple to interpret and easy on the eyes. We simply don’t have enough time in the day to listen or read too much into companies, their brands or their advertising. Keeping it simple is all about getting the message across in the quickest and most effective way possible.
Understandably there are many companies that will be supplying the same product or service as you, and so setting yourself apart from the competition is key. The way to do so is not by bombarding your potential customers with facts, figures and information, but by engaging feelings and emotion.
2. Use the power of word of mouth (PR)
Let’s look at the app Snapchat to see how companies can leverage the weight of word of mouth (PR). Snapchat did not advertise but instead gained momentum by users discussing the app with other potential users, and then appearing in multiple blogs that led to more downloads. Snapchat has funds that they could use for advertising, but instead they choose to develop their software further and use PR to promote their USP.
Now they have signed up major organisations to participate in the live sharing process, which in return has convinced many new users to sign up because they’re interested in finding out more about a particular business or celebrity. The company is worth an estimated $10 billion today.
Advertising does play a vital role in the growth and maintenance of a brand. However if a company depended on advertising alone to launch a brand it would be costly and less effective then what great PR can achieve in the same time and budget.
“The birth of a brand is achieved with publicity, not advertising, and continuing on that thought, once born, a brand needs advertising to stay healthy.” Greg Stine, Polaris INC.
Great PR Activities include events, strange activities, human-interest stories etc. With the use of PR your brand should establish the image you envisioned for it and so people will remember your company for what it should be remembered by. E.g. Apple simple, sleek, innovative.
PR can also be much cheaper than advertising and will most likely see a much higher return on investment. When an announcement came out that TV boxes will be able to pause, record and rewind live TV advertisers where in an uproar, they felt like they where being cheated because people now had the ability to skip through adverts. In reality however we’ve become accustomed to automatically switching off when the adverts come on, and very few of us actually pay attention to adverts on TV.
Try comparing the exposure generated with PR vs. advertising, and PR wins almost every time. Consider this example:
The average cost of a full-page advert in a local newspaper is around £2,600, with TV adverts costing around £6,000 a day.
However, a well-written article and great photography may end up on many different news sites and blogs, people are also very likely to share the story, therefore it will reach many people who will be paying more attention to your content because it might be of interest to them.
3. A defined and focused brand can be very powerful
The key to starting of with a bang is to first break down the brand by listing its features. A good quality breakdown will help you understand what your brand is trying to achieve and how it will achieve it. It’s also great for finding out what qualities your brand poses or should poses in order to be memorable and effective.
Take note of what makes your brand stand out, why is it different from the rest and how is it different.
Being different is better. In a world of dense markets and copycats people are after what stands out and what is completely different then the rest. A new twist on a popular product or service will attract more people and improve your brand image so long as it is what people desire.
Stay focused to see an even greater result. There are many businesses that try and do everything their competitor is doing, the result being that nothing is done to the best of standards. However, focusing on a very limited amount of products and/or services and doing them not great but the best will more likely attract the attention of customers. An example of this methodology is Fred DeLuca who opened a delicatessen that had only one type of sandwich, that deli later turned into Subway.
4. No sub-brands when you’re small
Creating sub brands for new products or services might sound like a good idea but it definitely is not, especially if you’re a small to mid sized company. A brand takes a lot of investment to gain popularity; therefore creating a sub brand from the initial brand will only take the focus of the brand and weaken its performance.
Large companies like Coca Cola have the power and money to create sub brands like Decaffeinated Coke and Coca Cola Cherry and invest heavily in them to make them rise to fame. However the top seller has and will always be their main product the standard Coca Cola.
Rather then creating a sub brand, create a completely new brand. Learning how to create and maintain a great brand can be lengthy and expensive. However, once you’ve learned the recipe for success you can then go on to apply it to a completely new and distinctive brand.
5. Perception or Quality
What justifies the high cost of a certain product? How much better is an Apple iphone handset over a Xiaomi MI4 handset? Yet the Apple handset starts at £619 and the Xiaomi starts at around £250. The secret to the pricing of a product lies within the marketing and branding efforts that go into making the product or brand desirable.
We perceive expensive products as great quality products. Apples branding has always concentrated on quality and simplicity, and over the years the company have built an image that separated them from the competition. Apples products are always priced above the competition, yet we choose to buy them because they look and sound like the best product on the market. Though how much does it actually cost to produce the product and how much is Apple profiting from every handset is hardly mentioned or discussed.
Most people want to be part of something, or they may like how the product is branded and how it speaks to them. So many will lust for these expensive products so they can try it, use it, share it and show it off.
6. Be Consistent and Patient
The majority of world wide recognizable brands have been around for around a hundred years or more. A quick search will show that the most successful companies have made very little change to their brand or logo. Many CEOs would have thought at one stage or another that the branding and logo design or colour scheme would look better if it was completely different, however by changing any major aspect of the brand they would risk damaging the brand and company. So instead minor alterations are applied to bring the brand back to life and keep it up-to-date.
To begin building a brand that will achieve long-term success you must make sure that the in house work follows your branding guidelines. For example, is the right font being used, are you using the right colours, is the brand mark the right size, is the right tagline being used, etc.
A brand is much more then just a logo design, however the logo is important. To create a great brand every aspect of the branding process has to be planned out and thought through. Branding is about building the company image and that takes time and money.
Visual aspects of a brand have to follow a certain style and relate to the companies beliefs and goals. Incorporating the right colours with the right visuals will help customers understand what your company is about and what it does.
Building a certain style and keeping to it will help you develop, price and market your products making sure that they reach their full potential.
BP spent $211,000,000 on rebranding and the company spends around $125 million annually on improving their brand and marketing. Source: http://www.canny-creative.com/2013/10/10-rebranding-failures-how-much-they-cost/
Popular websites charge around £400,000 for a takeover. Check out how much various websites charge: http://digiday.com/publishers/what-online-ads-really-cost/
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