When we start to talk about branding, some of the most common questions people have usually relate to logo design, font choice and colours. If you have read any of my previous blogs on branding, which you can find here and here, then you will know that there is a lot more to branding than just a logo.
Here are my five critical components to authentic and successful branding:
A good friend of mine put it much better than I could, he said
“True branding goes much deeper than skin deep. True branding is a plum-line from the core of who you are to those you are trying to reach. So your design needs to carry your core values all the way through who you are.“
Your values cannot simply be a statement written down on a piece of paper in your office. They should infiltrate everything you do.
For example, with my online beauty company, Oquibo, we never use photoshopped images. It is not in accordance with our values of being authentic, genuine and celebrating the human spirit. So our branding, our design is now constrained by our values.
Is there a rhythm to your values? Are they fun? Then use fun style branding. Are they reassuring? Then have a strong element of this in your branding. Do they speak of cause? If so, could that be reflected in your branding? Any branding consultant you use, who is worth their salt, will want a deep understanding of your culture and values. If they don’t – find another branding consultant!
This may sound a little strange but think about the personality of your company. A couple of questions you could ask yourself are:
- If my company were a person, what would they be like?
- How does your company make people feel?
Over the years I have discovered, that if you understand your company’s personality, this will give you all the design and branding ideas that you will ever need.
Your brand has to deliver a promise or communicate a concept. For my online beauty company it is Happy. Remarkable. You. Many companies have simple poignant short slogans which sum up what they are all about. Here are just a few examples:
- Nike: Just Do It.
- Apple: Think Different.
- Tesco: Every Little Helps.
- Bose: Better Sound Through Research.
- FedEx: When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.
- Zappos: Delivering Happiness.
- Mastercard: Priceless.
It goes without say that your slogan and tagline has to be genuine and authentic. It has to be a summary of your values and your culture as well as a statement of intent. Like many people, I have become weary of fancy branding and empty tag lines. They have to mean something!
This is the part that people normally jump right to when they start to think about branding and design – logos, fonts and colours. Keep your logos simple and recognisable. Make sure that they are distinct from other logos. If you are using an “M” in your logo, make sure it doesn’t look like McDonalds Golden Arches, especially if you are a restaurant. Be you, make sure that it speaks of your values and is unique to you. A fancy logo won’t help you with your business. A great culture will. I haven’t come across a company that became great because of their logo. But I know plenty of companies that had a great cause, a phenomenal culture, that went on to become great and developed their branding out of that.
Branding is the plum-line, from the core of who you are, to those you are trying to reach. Alongside knowing who you are and understanding your values, you also need to understand who you are trying to reach? This is your demographic. There is zero point having a fantastic product and great branding aimed at the wrong group of people. Think about it carefully, work out who is buying your products and why.
In summary, branding is very much a part of design, and design is very much a part of your branding.
If you have covered the five points above, I believe you are well on your way to having a very successful product.