We know how to measure and read brand strength using tools and algorithms. But what is the concept of the brand itself? A tag on the shirt, three straps on sports shoes, or maybe the shape of a bottle of your favorite drink? And how does the Channel No 5 mist affect the brand? The brand can be everywhere and everything a little – including the sum of elements shaping the perception of the brand.
Generally, it seems reasonable to assume that the brand is the way people perceive a company when they interact with its products and the environment created around it. This applies to both the impressions that we can evoke and control, as well as those that are beyond our control.
Regardless of whether we create a brand, build the identity of a brand, strengthen it, or ‘only’ refresh, we should ask ourselves several questions indicating the direction and scope of the tasks we are facing. Of course, going further, we must also clarify the nature of activities and give them a coherent picture.
- What is a brand? A person or an object?
- What will make the brand recognizable?
- How to shape UX around the brand?
- Will the target group for the brand accept its message, communication style and surroundings?
To get satisfactory answers, we must take some effort and delve into the business and social ecosystem that surrounds us. In the case when the undertaken activities concern strengthening the position or refreshment, the matter is a bit simpler, because usually we already have some knowledge resulting from both business activity and market research. In any case, the first step should be directed towards analyzing our place on the market. Understanding all its elements and dependencies will help us to place the brand in the right position in the context of competition and consumer expectations. Ideally, it would be tempting to (re) define consumer areas and indicate the most promising segments, as well as those which the purchase of our product will come the easiest. Consider what language our potential and current client is speaking to effectively match the message formula. Let’s also try to thoroughly analyze the actions of competitors and their effect.
Satisfy everyone …
Definitely not. And not at all because this is a utopian approach, but mainly because it does not make sense from a business point of view. Our task is to focus on groups of consumers potentially and realistically interested in our brand due to its specific value. Optimizing the activities, resources and costs involved was, is and will be one of the main ‘stabilizers’ of the process regardless of the size of the Organization for which we work. Paraphrasing, therefore, the classic of X Mu, in order to meet the task, we must answer one important but very important issue – how do we want to position our brand? And then start doing it … By sending a clear message about what product we are supplying, for whom and what is its strength, advantage and key distinguishing factor among products that perform similar functions. Simple? Yes, if we plan activities with the participation of all interested parties in the company (which can be quite a challenge).
Since we are already supplying something or want to provide it, it is worth thinking about verbal associations that should appear in the context of the product. If it is a t-shirt, for example, associations should give positive vibrations, so let’s think about how nice it is to feel, smooth, perfectly fitting on every figure … or simply, nice, pleasant, elegant. Remember, however, that by choosing the associations, match them to the group of recipients and naturally optimize with the changing language, style and behavioral model of consumers. The phrase “Real redneck’s shirt” sounds theoretically neutral, but it can practically bring a smile and spontaneous placement of our product within a group of recipients not fully desired by us.
On the other hand, the same city shirt puts us in front of the eyes of a 20-year-old Audi A4 who is grilling under the block in a tracksuit, it can give gentleman clad in gentlemanly masculine qualities. It is enough if we associate the lumberjack with it, the beauty of the Scandinavian nature, or the silhouette of the yacht under full sails. But this is more a visual identification.
As a relatively large group of consumers (especially those not yet fully mature) pay attention to such a small thing as the label and logo, it’s good that we consider the catchy stamp and the message. They will build the brand’s memorabilia. The visual element of identity is a super-important area for development and in the case of our shirt probably the most important one. Maybe then ‘Stylish’ together with a logo depicting the outline of New York skyscrapers? A bit ‘old-school’, but after sophisticated buyers, this style is becoming more desirable. The key to the well-established brand identity will be thought-out action that will provide us with a distinctive logotype, a brand memorable perfectly coherent with the message – all flexible so that you can easily evolve and grow with the brand.
Continuing our deliberations on the details that make up the brand, let’s think about the color and layout that will give a unique charm to our brand.
While working on this element, we can use one of many palettes suggesting the color scheme of details in the context of reaching a specific group of recipients and exerting the most positive feeling.
We can also, if we are eager for creative emotions, use one of the available (also free) tools, such as Coolors.
Reflecting on typography, let’s consider outside the proper association and selection of appropriate fonts, saving them in their use. Naturally, our concept can be based on fete, colors and shapes, the richness of content served in various sizes and cuts. However, if we want to give our brand a bit of subtlety and sophisticated taste, limiting the font types to two, maximum three is enough.
The construction of a strong, well-recognized and qualitatively defined brand is based on the harmonization of all elements that make up it. The related details should not only be existing from the compulsion to be part of the brand’s strategy, but above all coexist in full harmony, complement each other and result from one another. Therefore, let’s design deliberately, remembering that the only thing worse than a poorly-built branding strategy is a perfect strategy, but never used in production.