When the word Branding is used, most people will immediately think of the visual representation of the brand. For example the iconic brands that you can easily identify, with or without any words – Nike, Apple, Shell, McDonald’s and more. But branding extends beyond the visual aspect.
How you present yourself, the behavior of your employees, the look and feel of your offices or building, how you handle your customers, how you treat your staff …. all form part of your company brand.
The word “brand” also means to “burn yourself onto” ; cattle are branded with a ranch logo or name. They are visually imprinted with their owners brand, hence if properly carried out, a company can “brand” itself into the minds of its customers.
Brand or you will be branded, so if you have to do it, make sure it is done properly.
Branding allows you to stand out from the crowd, to stick your head out and shout “Here I am”. It allows you to create memorable moments and experiences for your customers. It ensures you are the first choice, the go-to when your product or service is in need. Branding allows you to charge a premium for the perceived value of your brand. And when you are a forerunner, branding allows you to lead the pack and dictate the direction.
Branding is a combination of visual and emotional experiences and the reaction or response it generates. When we see the iconic Apple logo, many people thing of the innovative products or people, and Steve Jobs who create the need for Apple products. Nike lovers think of Michael Jordan. Other brands invoke action – how many times have we described Xeroxing a page instead of photocopying. Or calling it “a Kodak moment”.
And it is important to ensure that what you want the customer to see and feel is aligned with how you project yourself, sometimes companies say one thing but behave in a different way. Your brand should determine how people see or perceive you and your service or product. Your brand should invoke a certain feeling, a value, an emotional response.
LOGO – Starting with the visual – your logo should invoke the emotion that you wish, a logo need not be complicated or sophisticated. Sometimes less is more. Some chose to include the company name in the logo, others just use a graphic element. There is no right or wrong way to design a logo, however in my opinion, it is better to be simple, clean and clear.
Using a stand alone graphic element like Apple or Nike can be extremely effective in the long run however at the initial stages, you would need to expend a lot of time and energy and advertising to promote that icon and what it means. Some brands start with both an icon and a name and eventually phase the name out when the icon has become synonymous with the brand. One example is Starbucks.
Use of colors in logo design is also important. Colors give their own feel and impressions, if you are in the health and wellness business, you would naturally veer towards using Green or red or orange. Whereas if you were in a Consulting or Strategic Management business, Blue may be your color of choice. For the luxury, elite service or product, Black always evokes a sense of class, style and exclusivity. For those in the agricultural or natural organic category may opt for brown or green…at the end of the day, color is a also a personal choice.