Branding and identity is actually really not a very new concept. Think of how a flag or a shield was used as a rallying point in a battle, how Romans would mark pottery even roof tiles to show who made them or how cattle were ‘branded’ to show ownership. None of these are twenty first century ideas. Things have changed for the better (on the whole), but it’s not all better branding.
With the explosion of social media over the last few years, and the ease of connecting with individuals and companies via the internet the whole idea of branding has become an every day need. People and even organisations talk about brand and branding, yet very few fully understand it. And when it comes to branding, most people have an opinion.
We’ve written loads of posts on what we think branding is (though we call is visual and verbal identity), but today we’re writing about a few of the things branding shouldn’t be. Things that so easily can happen when people do things quickly or without thought. Here’s our top 7 (lucky for some) of what no one has ever said about great branding:
1. How cool, it looks the same as someone else
Great branding creates a unique ‘image’ for a company or organisation. As every organisation’s identity is different, every brand identity should be also different. Remember that the identity is way more than ‘just’ a logo, although the logo is seen as the glamourous element within the branding toolbox. The best identities are recognisable in their market place even without their logo being visible. People love to point out when a logo looks the same as someone else!
2. So, what’s the name of your company?
Branding should definitely be recognisable and differentiated, but (with a few exceptions) it should also readable. There a great number of reasons for not creating a ‘logotype’ that no one can easily read. Your brand name could be too thin, the colour could be too light or not contrasting enough. What ever the reason, it’s not a great way forward. You’ll be remembered, but probably for all the wrong reasons.
Have a quick read of our post on what type can say about an organisation
3. I just love the lack of personality in your branding
An identity for a company really should say something about what the company does, what they stand for or how they look on the world. This is so that the identity can connect to it’s desired audience. Relevance is key in an identity. Without standing for anything, without having personality a companies branding can really fall flat quite quickly.
4. It’s amazing what you can do with clip art
Clip art is ubiquitous, to create a brand identity using clip art is simple and cheap, but in the long run won’t give you anything ownable or unique. Cookie cutter identities developed to a ‘formula’ or template are a great stop gap for a fledgling organisation, but don’t help in the long run.
If you only spend £5 on your identity, how do you think that anyone spent any time working on it – even at minimum wage that is less than an hours work. It also means that another company doing the same work as you could so easily choose the same elements and ‘look’ similar to you.
5. I’ve seen your branding so many times, yet still don’t remember it
Being memorable is, in the main, a primary requirement for a great identity. You want your customers to think of you when ever they think of your great products or services. You want to be ‘top of mind’ when they need more of what you deliver. Not just that, but you want your customers to be able to tell their friends to use you. Creating forgettable branding could lose you repeat business or even put off potential customers.
6. That’s great that your identity looks so out of date
There is nothing bad about branding looking retro, in fact for some organisations retro is perfect. And also some of the greatest designs that are still around today were developed initially a quite some time ago (think of woolmark 1964, Shell 1971 and British rail 1965). An identity ideally should look either of the moment, timeless or be linked to a specific era. An identity should never just be ‘old fashioned’ or ‘out of date’.
7. Squishing the logo into any shape works perfectly
Even if you have a great identity, it could be the application of your identity which lets you down. After all the work developing the identity, it could be that it only works in one format. Non proportional scaling is’t the way forward. Or that the team implement it are far from skilled. Spending the money to have a great identity developed, should dictate that you ensure the delivery is just as good!
How does this help us with the idea of better branding?
Obviously these have been a bit of fun, but the message is a real one. A company or organisation’s branding is a very important part of their business. It is a tool that helps to ensure that customers connect with them, remember them and feel positive about recommending them. What people think of is partly down to how well branding is delivered.
So skimping on any part of that journey can hinder a startup company move forward. It may not seem to lose you business, but doing it well could gain you business, which is this day and age could be the difference from thriving or folding.
Our specialty here at Puur is visual and verbal identity development (branding). All our work is borne from consumer insight, market appraisal and decades of experience. We know that our work is a business tool, it has a function, answers a need. Give us a call today to chat over your needs and how we can help.
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