24th October 2017
If we ask you to think of a well known brand and logo, it’s likely your thoughts will drift towards the large and well known; Coca Cola and their vibrant red or Nike and their iconic “tick”. It’s this immediacy that every brand aspires to have, to be recognisable, to create their own unique logo and a look and feel which their customers, both current and potential, will remember.
It’s no mean feat, but every big brand started out as a small business, and this evolution requires more than just choosing the right font, colours and slogan. Below we dig a little deeper and unearth some of the questions you need to ask to start the evolution from business, to brand.
Origins of a brand
The word “brand” itself was taken from the process in which farmers brand their animals with a branding iron to leave a mark that is recognisable, making sure nobody would steal their animals. However, people often get caught up in the “mark” itself being the most important part of a brand, and fail to realise that being able to leave a good and lasting mark, is dependent on the people wielding that branding iron. And for growing companies, that usually means more than one person.
How focused are the people in your business and how true is their aim? You can invest huge amounts of money and time to look good, but if you and your employees do not really know the business’s values or goals, then they are more likely to miss the mark and either leave a bad impression, or a weak one. It is for this very reason that a true brand is first created within a company by having a clear and focused vision, before extending it’s reach and leaving a lasting impression on customers. The iconic look and feel is more a result of the former.
From a strong business to a strong brand
So how does a company actually go about evolving from a strong business to a strong brand? As a designer myself, I usually give the answer that the company needs strong brand guidelines or a “brand bible”. This booklet is far more than just a list of colours and fonts. It contains the brand’s values and personality. But how does a company go about putting together such guidelines?
Well, you will first need to start with the basics, and figure out where your brand sits in a typically crowded marketplace.
- Define your target audience
- Study all of your competitors and how they run their businesses
- List your unique selling points (things your competitors do not offer).
Considering the above points will give you a clear idea of where your company stands in the marketplace, and where you would like it to be in the future.
From this point onwards, many people advise to start thinking of your business as if it were a person. By doing this you can figure out how this “person” would speak and how it would deal with customers.
- How would it speak to work colleagues and what kind of employees would it hire?
- Is it old or young?
- What kind of clothes would it wear?
- What colours would it like?
- Ultimately, what is your brand’s personality?
All of these questions will inform how you would choose and train employees, how your brand will sound in written content and social media and of course your brand’s look and feel – the logo, fonts and colours. It flows through every single aspect of the business… not just the surface.
So not quite as simple as picking some fonts and colours right? However, these steps are extremely necessary to grow a strong and lasting brand. And the good news is that brand guidelines are not set in stone and often change and evolve over time along with the business. Some businesses even feel that complete rebrands are needed to reflect these changes. Whatever the case, the most important thing to take away from this blog post is to have a clear vision for your brand that can be filtered through the business to your target market, as that way you will always succeed.
Here at atom42, we have a lot of experience working with brands, from translating brand guidelines into designs and using the correct tone of voice in marketing campaigns all the way to complete rebrands and building a brand from scratch. So if you ever need some advice or guidance, just give us a shout!