BRAND IS NOT DESIGN
Where a lot of confusion comes from in the minds of business owners is that they mistake brand to mean having a logo. If that were true every company under the sun would be a brand. Sadly that is not the case. To belong to the exclusive club of being a ‘brand’ you have to be able to do a few things.
1) Create preference when multiple competitors are in play
Companies can be hugely successful but that might not mean they have a successful brand, or that their brand does any work for their business’s success. When you have a brand it creates preference in the minds of consumers and is a tool to create differentiation from your competitors.
Some see that this preference and differentiation is brought about by looking pretty. Making your website funky or getting some cool brochures. While that does apply brand runs much deeper than just aesthetics. It is about creating repeat impressions which make you believe a brand has a ‘personality’ attribute for example Innocent Smoothies could be quirky, or Evian is about purity. These characteristics are not intrinsic in the product but are attributed through brand communication.
2) You have to have a narrative which drives the visual
For us at Bland to Brand we see graphic design, web design, video production, whatever it is, as the frame in which a brand sits. The language and the visual language within these mediums is what is actually key, it is used to paint the picture, tell the story and build a connection with an audience.
The question then arises where does this choice of language and image come from? Where is it derived from? If it is arbitrary then there is no rhyme or reason and no strategy behind your brand. One minute you’ll be giving a premium message the next a quirky one as that is what might be in vogue. Good visual and language communication is typically derived from a set of brand values.
3) It is about creating values
Great brands are driven from brand values which explicitly define what a company or organisation is about. This is an explicit process where, staff, customers and core teams determine what rings true for an organisation. By codifying it into a single set of values, it brings clarity into the mind of a company and a platform from which all communications can stem from.
Once you have gone through such a process, any creative endeavour of a brand becomes easy. There is no confusion as ‘what should our message be?’ The narrative which sits within the frame of design flows from a point that has been anchored in a deep understanding of a business and hence has meaning and is not whimsical in origin.
Most importantly though you are giving the same message to your audience, so that they can connect with your brand personality and form an opinion and connection with your company. That differentiates you and ensures that they don’t treat you like a commodity.
It is very tempting to just see brand as a creative art but there is a science that underpins everything and gives it true meaning. Anyone wanting to develop their brand needs to see beyond the wrapper around the candy and take it much deeper.