Creating A Brand – Beyond The Logo
When you look to create a brand that has no consideration to the audience you wish to serve, you are on a hiding to nothing.
A company approached me two weeks ago who had a beautiful looking logo and the Drupal template was set up for the new website with a good page layout. The imagery added to the overall look and feel, the problem was the company hadn’t considered the content and what they wanted to say to their audience.
To every business in the history of businesses, there is so much more to creating a brand rather than focusing a huge proportion of your time and resources on logos and image concepts to create the overall brand DNA. My business is within the communications industry and whilst it is important to create that first impression, do we really need to get bogged down with UV varnished business cards and jumping in too early with who we expect our audience to be?
How To Save Money (And Time)
The journey to creating a brand that can stand on it’s own two feet isn’t a cheap and quick process (and yes, a friend has told me they had a customer who said ‘we would like a nice font’), but too many businesses haven’t considered the strategy behind who their audience is they wish to serve and how they are going to say it. Businesses can save money and time by first of all shaping the profile of who will buy their products and services and also the tone of voice they want to deliver and an idea for what they want to say to provide a clear solution to others. Naturally, over time things change so brands need to adapt, but those brands looking to enter a marketplace, need to:
It’s no good targeting those who you think should be buying your product, but look to build an audience persona. Complimenting this with some keyword research upfront also understand what people are looking for can help to shape content around the real terms your audience is looking for (important when it comes to search).
- The brands you admire
A good place to start is to look at those brands (this can even be people) that you respect. They may not necessarily be within your industry, but have looked to create and distribute interesting information, built an audience and committed to serve a marketplace. Discipline (as Chris Brogan describes in his new book, The Freaks Shall Inherit The Earth) is what makes the strong brands rise to the top of the tree. Seeing a brand that has their message on their website and sharing how they help others can fall flat on their face when they have a news/blog/resource area and the last entry was over three months ago.
- Consult others
Whether to get a grasp that the business proposition makes sense and for someone else to understand the benefits for what your company delivers, don’t feel like you have to bottle up and treat everything like a grand unravelling akin to cutting the red ribbon in an empty car park.
- Identify gaps in the marketplace
Everything that you will deliver to your audience cannot end up being the same as everyone else. We are seeing a glut of SEO companies now saying that they are content marketing companies. Following the herd with exactly the same service creates an undistinguishable offering. Where is the value in being the same?
- Define what it is you do
For others to understand how you help solve their problems lets put the corporate jargon to one side and be normal by using fewer words that others can understand. The end result should be about making your customers lives better. If it is about saving time, becoming more productive, saving money, being recognised on a wider industry scale, the say it. The time of shouting out ‘we are the best in our industry’ is well and truly over and has just left the building with the QR code.
- Accept not everything needs to be done for the end of the month
To build acceptable scale, reach, subscriber activity and sales cannot be achieved within a short-term target. We now have to be focused on the voyage not the two week all-inclusive holiday. The campaign mentality has given way to a 365 commitment and we have to understand not everything needs to happen by the end of the month.
- Define a budget
To achieve the elements that you need to help define your message and positioning, understand the budget that you’ll allocate and share this with others. From graphic design to programming your website make sure that you establish a budget and depending on the quality of work, ask to see examples of work. With many people using WordPress as a publishing platform (there were over 41 million posts on WordPress alone in April 204), ask to examples of work. This makes the whole process easier to connect with others and peace of mind for the final outcome. When I mention ‘connect’ with others, I don’t mean that all correspondance is within email, there needs to be time when meeting with those who are responsible for initiating your message is done face-to-face.
- Stand Out From Behind A Logo
You may have a logo that has taken weeks of polish and dedication to finalise but one thing to remember is that people do business with people they understand and get on with. Your brand (no this isn’t just a logo) represents who you are, not what you necessarily do. The way that you mould relationships in the business world is similar to the way you build personal friendships. The personalities we create within the confines of a commercial arena is to attract the right people and those who don’t feel right (I’ve slowly become better at trusting my gut instinct), to leave to one side. Lets remember that relationships connect others, we cannot connect by sitting behind a screen sharing inspirational quotes or one-way product benefits for our own ego and self-importance.
The whole process, from creating your message to positioning to your audience has to represent an approachable business. The elements that have to be in place is to be noticed by the people who are ready to enter a dialogue with you and to listen to what you have to say (reach), build on the ways that people prefer to communicate with you (scale) to help build an audience from prospects, to subscribers to customers (profit).
We all want our brands to make others feel differently from the market competition. It’s how we package what we say, how we say and who we say it to that helps shape the path from so much more than a logo and what a website concept looks like.