It’s no secret that in the modern world, it is nearly impossible to find a unique niche on the market, and that’s why every new business faces intense competition. The only way not to get bogged down and find your customer is to develop your company’s brand.
A brand is, most of all, a relationship between the company and its customers. It can take on many different shapes and forms but ultimately, it is the main factor determining the feedback and emotions caused by a product. For example, if we think about Coca-Cola, what comes to mind is a series of their New Year’s ads with trucks, Santa, cozy gatherings with the family and a lot of positive emotions. That’s exactly how branding works. It tells a story, makes our chemistry work and awakens all sorts of feelings. If an advertisement is done in a branded style (meaning colours, logo, fonts, visual elements and characters unique to a specific company) and with well-thought-through communication messages, a company will stay in the memory of the viewer for a long time.
“The art of marketing is the art of brand building. If you are not a brand, you are just a commodity. Then, a price is everything and the low-cost producer is the only winner.”
© PHILIP KOTLER
The key to making sure your branding appeals to the target audience is in making sure you style it appropriately. That’s where your company’s form style should shine. All visual elements should complement each other and create a general picture, the sole purpose of which is to communicate your company’s messages, purpose and its main concepts. The colours should match and translate the emotional message of the brand. For example, a read colour always means leader, a purple one is usually associated with creativeness, and blue colour communicates confidence and professionalism.
The logo should be simple, minimalistic and sticky. It should also associate with your products, convey positive messages about it.
The main requirement at this stage is to follow the procedure. First, you need to implement elements of your brand’s identity into all the areas your company inhabits. Be that in printed items, website, email, digital ads, product packaging or something else. Elements of the brand should always appear in unison and create a complete picture. Only then the interaction with the brand evoke excitement in your customers’ mind and they will come back to it time and time again.
“Take whiskey. Why do some people chose Jack Daniel’s, while others choose Grand Dad or Taylor? Have they tried all three and compared the taste? Don’t make me laugh. The reality is that these three brands have different images which appeal to different kinds of people. It isn’t the whiskey they choose, it’s the image. The brand image is 90 per cent of what the distiller has to sell.”
© David Ogilvy, “Ogilvy on Advertising”
As technology and AI gets better and better, more services providing cheap, quick and automated branding tools come online. While these services can only make something similar to real brand identity, many self-starting entrepreneurs tend to neglect the importance of their company’s image being unique and outstanding, seeking cheap, low-quality solutions that will inevitably damage them in the long run. When a young company enters the market and has a cheap, “standardized“ look, it immediately falls into the grey area of companies fighting over every client that’s left after the real brands.
This applies not only to online design generators but also to cheap self- or freelance-made logos for $30. And the reason for it is that this process doesn’t include basics like an analysis of competitors, target audience, concept creation or other fundamentals necessary for the high-standard identity creation. Cheap logos are made in a couple of hours from a template and all of them look similar. It’s a well-known and often cited fact that a Nike logo cost $35. However, the year when it was first created is 1971. But that was just a logo, the company became a brand after having worked with an advertisement agency, which had really managed to convey the company’s main message to the consumer by making a lot of efforts including the creation of colourful, eye-catching video-commercials.
This begs a conclusion – one should never neglect the importance of brand creation at an early stage of a company’s development to ensure the long-term prosperity of the business.
These days, in the era of Information Technology, opinions and trends tend to change so quickly that every established brand has to maintain its identity up-to-date to stay competitive on the market. The ability to adapt in accordance with the market conditions is one of the most important tasks for any company. However, the difficulty is to keep the brand committed to its initial values and principles through the changes. Even if those changes are visual, adaptive to the modern design requirement or conceptual.
Among good examples of brands that were able to adapt in accordance with visual requirements are Google, McDonald’s, Nike and others.
Another example is “Old Spice” that was forced to adapt to the change in its customer portrait – as it started to lose the younger customers because its branding appealed to the older segments of customers. As it began to rebrand, the company has launched an ad campaign which, with unique and reckless humour, has conveyed the message that using their product is a sign of leadership and confidence.
In both cases, the products stayed the same. The only thing that changed was branding and consequently, the customer’s perception of the company and its products. Thus, if your brand is slowing down its pace, perhaps it is out of date and needs some fresh air.
To sum up, it’s important to emphasize that branding is a long process. It starts with an idea, after which concept is redefined and recreated many times throughout the company’s existence. Special attention should be paid to brand development during the initial stage because those efforts can lead to a snowball effect.
The best decision a new business could make is to ask an expert in the field for help. It means a capable agency that is able to conduct quality research of the market and competitors. After that – create a unique brand identity that stands out at first sight, and then – make and execute a working strategy on its development.