A ‘good reputation’: a tool to drive others to a positive conclusion irrespective of their inclinations: to force them to like you. – Alain De Botton
Here’s a really cool infographic by Businesscards.com developed with the main intention to address the common disconnects in branding projects between less technical small business owners and the graphic designers that they hire.
This really helpful guide is meant to walk business owners through the points in the creative process where they are likely to struggle the most.
I was looking through some of my older presentations before and had come across one slide that said,
“Living Our Brand: Fulfilling The Promise Our Stakeholders Perceive We Make” – Leigh Wong
Allow me to unpack that a little for you:
- It is not enough to have a great brand strategy – one must live it out too!
- Living out our brand happens in two parts: first, it’s about fulfilling a promise to our stakeholders. I know there are many, many, many ways of understanding what a brand ultimately is – but suffice to say, one of the better ways of understanding what a brand is, is that it is a promise made between our stakeholders and our brand. So, living our brand means keeping and fulfilling that every promise.
- Second, living out our brand must also be understood in the context of our audience/stakeholder/customer/end-user. The promise we are making is not necessarily the one that we think we are making, rather it is the promise that our stakeholders perceive we are making!
So, when you want to think about living out your brand, you’ll really need to think about it in at least these terms described here.
A logo is the visual representation of the company that reflects the company’s business or products, all the while building up the credibility of the company. An effective logo design is one that aesthetically satisfies the target audience and possesses the potential to penetrate customers’ minds as a selling agent. It should also be simple and memorable.
For the brand logo designs, these are my favourite ones:
(This one is quite possibly my favourite – a word entirely made out of numbers!)
I like the clever use of negative space to accentuate the brand here!
This one clearly and cleverly depicts the brand name.
My only complaint about all the ones above is that none of them really indicate exactly what the brand is about. It’s a pretty name cleverly depicted – there is no chance to turn the viewer’s initial impressions (i.e. “Wow, so clever!”) into action (i.e. raised brand awareness, equity, etc.).
Even so, which are your favourite ones?
I was Twitter-surfing when I came across a link that took me to this helpful article over at Ragan.com: 10 Signs Your Brand Needs An Overhaul. (It caught my attention particular because I’m in the midst of looking into a “rebranding” or “brand refresh” campaign following a merger between two large institutions).
From their helpful list of 10, I’ve decided to distill them down a little further into a helpful list of 5 “checkpoints” for Brand Health Checks you’d want to look into from time to time! Having regular brand “health checks” are fundamental to ensuring your brand’s vitality, relevance and overall equity.
The 5 checkpoints:
- See if you’ve “Lost The Plot”: If you find that most people in your company (worse still if this includes the Senior Management and/or Board of Directors!) can’t tell what your logo represents or what the company means to your external and internal stakeholders… you’ve lost the plot. A great test of this is to see if you could randomly ask 5 people across the spectrum of job grades and functions to communicate your company’s essence in 20 words or less. If they can’t, or they come up with vastly divergent responses, then it’s time for a brand refresh.
- You have No Plot to begin with: Perhaps a little worse than Losing the Plot is not having one, or having a weak one, in the first place. Often, what you thought was your key differentiator is the same value proposition claimed by your top five competitors. Look at your competitors and weigh their messages against yours. Chances are, you’re all using the same combination/variation of “unparalleled service,” “unmatched expertise,” “outstanding solutions,” or whichever buzzword-du-jour. Perhaps even, all of your marketing messages are centered around what you do, not why you do it. Remember, all of your competitors do the same things as you – why you do it (and how) is what sets you apart. As mentioned in my previous post on Simon Sidek’s “The Golden Circle” TED Talk, remember that “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do what you do.”
- Things have changed, you have not: Now, I am not advocating changing your brand essence just to suit the times – far from it! The key word I’m thinking of here is “relevance!” Does your brand’s proposition continue to meet your customers’ ever-changing needs? Perhaps, in the last five years, your market has changed, expectations about your product or service have changed, or your value proposition has changed. But you haven’t changed anything about your brand messaging to ensure that it remains relevant and at the top of your customers’ minds. Alternatively, maybe you’ve grown and your business development needs have become more ambitious, but you’re still acting like a small company selling small contracts to small clients. What you never needed before—but need now—is a unique brand position.
- Your brand communications appears schizophrenic: The symptoms are numerous. Perhaps, you’re constantly apologising for your website (“Sorry, the site design is
crap, was done for cheap by a freelancercould be improved and the content has not been updated”), or the overriding message in your marketing collateral is different from that of your website—and far different from what your team members communicate in face-to-face meetings. More commonly, nothing matches: You’ve added various marketing tools to your toolbox over the years (trade show booth, new logo shirts, a sales pamphlet, an e-newsletter, redesigned business cards, etc.), but when you place them all side-by-side, none of them look remotely alike. Time to refresh and align, folks!
- You haven’t thought about any of this stuff, until now.