Written on request for equerryconsulting.co.uk
It’s easy to associate branding with the big guys/ladies who’s addicted to successful branding to maintain their brand in a changing era. The thought of branding as being a field the big companies are in need of isn’t necessary wrong, hence the concept of growth’s in the middle of successful branding. This is the very same reason why it’s important for smaller firms as well to knit their branding strategies well together. Without a common thread the concept will consist of gaps, either visually or mentally. Similarly as it’s hard for others to know who you are among others if you don’t know it yourself. If branding was a person it would be a person who went on non-stop job interviews, as a brand never stops meeting competitors. Competitors are the main reason to why the importance of being remembered is sky high. To be remembered by a slogan or word, a certain visual profile, physical design or verbally approach. Norwegian, for example, started out as a small company. Let’s say they did their branding right.
Being a part of the millennial generation it’s hard to say if everything were better back in the old days or not, considering our old days was the very start of internet. Was it easier to run a local coffee shop in a semi visited area twenty years ago? Yes and no. Because of globalisation the bigger brands have expanded, and you don’t need to travel abroad anymore to go to Starbucks. At the same time globalisation is knitting the world into a smaller dot, and recommendations at the holy world wide web both regarding cities, spots and local firms can function as a real drag in the right direction. The downside, however, is that companies holding a bad reputation online can mean the very death of the brand. At the same time those cases can be real examples that karma does work. When your mother raised you to behave and to be nice to people it wasn’t only applicable in the schoolyard, but in the world of marketing and business as well. Receiving feedback from your clients is of high importance due to the fact that it can be difficult to view your own business from where you stand. It’s not an unfamiliar case that you could find yourself incapable of seeing elements which could be improved or in any way would be in need of a change. Opinions of any kind from anyone should be taken into consideration (not if it’s trolling, of course), but emphasis the opinions coming from your main target group. Yes, the not-target group might attack parts which could be improved, but first of all it’s your main target group who needs to be charmed. Think of your absolute favorite teacher from high school. Chances are that the exact same teacher wasn’t everyone else’s favorite teacher, even though she or he behaved in the same way towards your classmates. It’s not natural to be everyone’s cup of tea. It never will be. The sooner you realize this the sooner your branding will be on the right track.
When it comes to charming that’s no lie. You don’t need to rip off The Notebook, but in some way you have to show affection of the slightly professional type. Perhaps it has a direct link to the digitalised world appearing colder, but branding with a personal, warm and earthy twist never seems to get out of style. Show love, period. What we can notice if we never shut our eyes, is what I call sugar coated branding. Meaning the consumers are being fooled into believing another truth. Consistency is therefore not only important in the design or the chosen words for a slogan, but a consistency in firm values that doesn’t play with exceptions from their very own rules. Your values might also take form in an add-on service or product. Customer service is underestimated, but it’s easier to react to customer service if it’s disastrous. As if we tend to expect great service. We should expect it, and we should do our best to deliver it by delivering twice the amount of the unwritten demands from our society regarding service. Why? Because of internet. Because of reviews.
Then, you have your values straight, what about design? We live in a century where even fonts can feel the booty pressure from Kim K. Your design should most definitely speak to your chosen target group. If it doesn’t, how can you expect that the online communication or approach e.g. with the clients or customer will go smoothly? Looks matter. Simple guidelines are to follow either organically lines or straight lines in the design language. Mixing the two worlds might work out just perfect, but do this by making it obvious that it’s done with a clear awareness into eclecticism so the viewer understands that it’s not another poor design. A potion of space and air in design helps making it look tidy and clean, at the same time minimalism is our decade’s purest form of anonymity. Consistency can also appear in different ways. Take Aesop as an example: they’re not following the same recipe when it comes to the interior architecture, although it has the same organic touch the materials and embodiments varies.
This is because Aesop works with a range of different architects, almost without exception local architects and designers. Their branding game and identity’s becoming so strong and global that you can almost recognize their retail spaces without seeing the logo. This is a natural consequence of consistency in branding, even though none of the spaces are identical. As a summary there should always be something extra. Something that makes it stand out of the group. This extra might take time to wrap your brain around and figure out, and that, my friend, is exactly the point.