Your brand is not a logo design, a visual identity or the products you sell
So, if your brand is not a logo design, product, service or identity system then what is it?
Consider how you think about other brands you like: why do they matter to you; what makes them special and the BIG question – how do they make you feel?
Your business or personal brand – or any company’s brand – is a feeling…
It’s the feeling that’s created when all the ingredients are in place; it’s a carefully curated feeling but that feeling is not owned by the brand as such: it’s in the hands of the customers’ opinion. Any brand has to be loved and cultivated in order to live up to the offer being made by you (the company) and be validated by the experience and level of service that is expected of you by your customers.
Essentially, that invisible feeling created in the mind of your customer is going to influence how they then, in turn, describe you to others. So think about how you’d like your business to be described; what you want others talking about behind your back and how you then want the friends of friends to talk about you to their friends.
So how can you go about influencing people so they say nice things about you?
Well, you need to consider how you come across to them in the first place. Remember when we said your brand is not your logo or your identity system or your products? Let’s think about a brand as if it were a person.
Which part of a person enables you to make decisions about them in a short space of time? Yes, it can be their clothes, their hair, what they hold in their hands but those things are easily changed – just like a logo or a campaign can be for a business. The key influencing factor to why you might like one person over another is more intrinsic than that. What really helps us to decide if we like a person is their personality.
Let’s expand on this analogy: a company or business brand is like a body.
The head is the logo – it grows with them it’s often the first thing we notice, it might change slowly with age but it’s a constant, visual way to identify and distinguish that body/brand from others.
The clothes they choose to wear are their visual identity system. These can be changed when required to help reposition things. A wardrobe of clothes can also be seen as campaignable assets that allow them to be reactive and quickly adapt to changes in trends. This wardrobe of clothes enables them to express themselves and stand apart from others, from their competition.
Moving on from the clothing to other props and accessories; what is held in their hands (whether it be a phone, a clutch bag, a vape/a cigarette…) could be equivalent to a company’s services or products. These too can change and be tweaked in order to attract attention. Each item held says something about the holder just as products and services do about a company.
How you dress the exterior speaks volumes about the personality of the person whether we like to admit it or not. Think about your own responses to reading ‘a phone, a clutch bag, a vape/cigarette’ – what judgements did you make? And that’s only about an object that can be easily put down! We judge people and we judge companies because it is natural to be discerning. What we need is for enough of your company’s personality to validate you to ensure you attract the customers who are right for you and you are right for your customers. We do this by aligning your image with your personality so your customers feel comfortable that what they see is really what they get.
When thinking about how best to present your company, think about all the ways in which you try to best present yourself: how you really act, how you speak to others, what you do to make people feel comfortable, reassured and how you gain their trust. Of course, you then have to live up to the picture you paint of yourself! This is not going to be easy if that image has been constructed for appearances’ sake. It can’t be faked. To truly communicate a genuine brand feeling it has to be based on how you really act. When you think others are not looking.
This will be a really telling indicator of their personality – far more so than how you’ve dressed them up. What are they like to be around day to day? How do they handle problem solving, stress, strangers? How do they treat others they have nothing to benefit from? How sincere do they seem? In what ways do they go the extra mile to make people around them feel good?
I hope this helps to explain our thinking on why your brand is not a logo design. What we’re talking about is a true reflection of personality, understand and get that right first, then communicate it to your audience.
Written by Rob Wilkes, Creative Director at Creative Giant, Brand Design Agency Norwich. Rob has been in the design industry since 1996, both in the UK and Sydney, he has created brands for new startups, rebranded existing businesses and implemented identities for large corporates and organisations.
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BRANDING?
Keep up to date with our strategic tips for branding and social media content by joining our Facebook group. You can get involved in the discussions and ask us questions within the group, we also run live Q&A sessions so if you have a topic you’d like to cover let us know in the group chat.
Leave a Reply