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What's in a brand?

  • Thread starter Scottish Business Owner
  • Start date
Scottish Business Owner

Scottish Business Owner

New Member
This may seem a strange question but i'm really trying to start a debate on the subject of creating a brand for your business. Much of the advertising we see on television is all about brands and keeping them in your mind.

I dont imagine that branding is appropriate for every business. SO..... what should small companies be looking at to develop their brand?

:)
 
nothing does

nothing does

New Member
I dont imagine that branding is appropriate for every business. SO..... what should small companies be looking at to develop their brand?

:)
I disagree, branding is appropriate for EVERY business (nothing does: Small Business, Small Mind)

With small companies I think that their brand should reflect their USP as the small business sector is hugely competitive it's important to get some 'stand out' to give them an edge over the competition.

Once you know what makes your business different/special you can then focus on this element and push it through in to your brand and position it accordingly.

Creating a brand is a clear and simple way to communicate silently and can give you a good focus for your business that your staff and customers can relate to. It gives the foundations to your business but also the personality and visual identity.

Creating the correct brand for your business can (if done right) help you take your business where you want and project who you want to be but you must remember that a brand is far more than just a logo or visual identity. It goes far beyond this.
 
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Brian McIntosh

New Member
So, what's the different stages of branding David? Is it a trade secret or is the list too long to post here? If not, some pointers would be good.
 
nothing does

nothing does

New Member
So, what's the different stages of branding David? Is it a trade secret or is the list too long to post here? If not, some pointers would be good.
No trade secrets but equally no quick answer so I'll try and give an overview.

First and probably most importantly is what I mentioned before. Finding your USP. It's easy enough to say what you do and who for etc but you need to find an x-factor. There are several quick exercises I run through with clients to discover this but it ain't rocket science!

From this starting point it's easy to obtain a set of suitable brand values or key words. These are then the starting point to develop the brand.

From this point the visual aspect can be created. How your company is seen, the silent communication bit. However with the brand word/values and USP mean that from this point it should all be pretty focussed and trawling through thousands of designs for logos etc isn't required.

Once the logo and supporting material has been created (website, stationery, adverts, brochures etc) It's time to focus on the details: How do you sign off an email, how do you answer the phone, how do you decorate your office. All the little things that help deliver a complete brand.

This is a pretty quick overview but I hope it helps a little.
 

kirk

New Member
Trust me as a Printer I have seen more than a few "lost" Brands on printed material. If its not thought out and done right then nobody will pick up that brochure that is supposed to be an extension of your company and bring home the sales.
 
Scottish Business Owner

Scottish Business Owner

New Member
I think many people find it difficult to try and really define their USP. One thing I struggled with was trying to focus on features when what I should really be doing is focussing on the benefits.

David - You've actually done a very good job of demystifying this for me as it's an area I really struggle with.

It would be great to see some of the exercises you go through to try and come up with your usp and I actually think this would make a very good podcast ;)
 

Brian McIntosh

New Member
I think you're right . Coming up with a USP is bloody difficult. More information about the process would be excellent and a podcast would be even more excellent.
 
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nothing does

nothing does

New Member
I feel I'm getting press ganged into this ;)

Seriously I'm happy to share this info. If you let me know how long etc for the podcast I'm happy to go ahead.

Although I'm not sure what sound recording/editing software I have.
 
Scottish Business Owner

Scottish Business Owner

New Member
David,

I'd be happy to bring my gear and do it together if it suited. It will also give me the chance to test the new podcast mic I have :)
 
A

Alan

New Member
I agree with David for me Branding is key for whatever business you are in even more so nowadays.

It can be quite difficult sometimes defining exactly what is a Brand or indeed how you develop and create one. For me a Brand is made up of 4 Elements:

1 The Core-what is it? e.g. for a Pharmaceutical Product it would be the chemical or for certain Electronics say an MP3 Player

2 The associated elements that surround the Brand e.g. Packaging, Colour Schemes,Features

3 The Extended Offering i.e. the Value Proposition and any other Add ons that are not directly linked to the product

4 The Psychological Elements-what do you want people emotionally to feel, believe and think about the Brand, e.g. Safe, Exclusive, Trusted etc this is for me the big one-that is why people pay thousands more for say a designer label Item e.g. Gucci Leather jacket v High Street Store one or items that carry out the same basic function e.g. A Ferrari still gets you from a to b as does a Ford-but the associations that people have with a Ferrari are very different from those that they have with a Ford.

We are all (even if we like to think we are not) influenced by Branding, the best example I can recall is the “core” offering of one of the worlds biggest Brands that is consumed a Billion or more times a day…..it is-to quote one of their Marketing Directors.” flavoured, coloured, carbonated water…… would you pay good money for that ?…….or would you rather have a Coke !!
 
MarkSteven

MarkSteven

New Member
Its good to see branding being discussed in these forums.

There's a perception around that branding is somehow extra gloss that should be added to a well considered business model, but that is far from the truth. Your brand is your business: Even if you don't try, you'll end up with a brand. (Just not one that makes you money).

Brands express how you see your company, and they structure every aspect of your communications, and to a large degree, your behaviour.

When you do a formal branding exercise, you are seeking to create an identity that:

1) Is memorable
2) Has marketing "hooks"
3) Is distinct from the competition
4) Is free of constraints (e.g. trademarks, domain ownership, place)

And at Collective ID we always insist that your brand:

5) Is true to your values, ethos and aspirations (because branding should permeate every aspect of your communications down to how people answer the phone, we believe they're not sustainable if they don't actually represent the people and culture of your company)

Brands begin with clear statements about a company's history (a brand narrative),values, vision and personality.

Values and vision spring from the business model itself and the motivations of company directors, which are by no means always about profit.

We also ask questions like "if your brand was a character in a film, who would it be?" (George Clooney anyone?).

At this stage we're not particularly interested in differentiation in the marketplace (though its at the back of our minds),we're most importantly interested in creating an imagined entity that has been thought through in detail... Its a bit like writing a character in novel: the novelist doesn't include everything about a character in her book, but there will often be pages of notes about everything from how clean they keep their toenails to where they had their first kiss.

Our premise is that if you get involved enough at this stage, you end up with an entity that is extremely individual. We will achieve differentiation in the marketplace, partly because our brand character is sufficiently real to all concerned.

The result of this stage is what we prosaically call "The Brand in Words". It includes the company name, notes on the company's "personality", tone of voice, formulated statements that are both public facing and inward looking (vision, values, mission, history, USP),and keywords that summarise some of this material.

The design phase of the brand is obviously about logos, colours, typography and very often, supporting "furniture" - iconography, page layout and things.

Everything about the brand's visual imagery can then be given two simple tests:

1) Does it represent the "Brand in Words"
2) Is it sufficiently different from the competition

And I'll close what's turned out to be an essay with a note to say what a brand is not.

1) A brand is not selling. It is more like a person from whom people like to buy things.
2) A company name / logo generally does not need to represent the products or services that you're selling (none of the biggest brands you use today do this)

Hope that compliments David's points...
 

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