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Think Before You Brand

Before you draft vague taglines and create sub-par logos in Microsoft Paint, take a beat and think.

Every day, you are bombarded with an ungodly amount of brands through content, commercials, billboards — everything. Everything and everyone seems to have a brand these days. I mean, even people’s pets have brands.

In today’s technology driven society, it does not take much to have a brand. All you need is a (hopefully) good idea, a laptop, and a second cousin’s neighbor’s daughter who knows how to use the Adobe Creative Suite software.

With all of this nonsense branding infiltrating our airwaves and eyeballs, what does it take to stand out amongst the buzz? Oh, how I wish there was a simple answer.

The answer all boils down to the following:

  • Time
  • Value
  • Strategy
  • Creativity
  • Feedback

Time

For avid readers of this blog and branding professionals, this point is redundant.

For you newcomers, you cannot have a quick brand. I won’t even allow the thought to cross your mind. You can (and should) not have a logo that took 30 minutes to quickly sketch and a tagline that your Uncle Skippy thought of at a family reunion. Do not even get me started on Clip Art.

As an entrepreneur, you spent precious time, effort and resources to launch your business thus far. Why throw it all away with a cheap looking brand?

Quick blip of advice: Your audience won’t react to a rapidly thrown together brand.

Do you think Walt Disney woke up one morning and decided to create the happiest brand (and place) on Earth? No! He worked, and worked, and worked, and his brand was created as a result.

Since you’ll be stuck with this brand for a while, if not forever, wouldn’t you want to take the time to get it right the first time?

The branding process can take weeks, ideally months. Why? Because it should! From determining the potential for symbolism, to the creative process, to receiving feedback, there are several steps involved in creating a brand. By rushing through this, you will miss crucial steps and make detrimental errors. In my opinion, it’s not worth it to screw this up.

Keep in mind that your brand is a long-term investment. By rushing through the branding process, you may not receive the full value of your investment in the long run.

Value

Brands are far more than a passable looking logo and a few words strung together in a pleasant sounding phrase. A brand is an intangible entity associated with your business.

Your business has values. Whether you value family, hard work or being financially sound, these values must be expressed through your brand.

This is why it takes a great deal of time to create a strong and legendary brand. Before even thinking about how your brand will look, think about what it needs to portray.

Your values can be expressed in a variety of ways. For instance, many businesses and professionals use symbolism in an effort to represent their values. Symbols such as stars, triangles, circles and other shapes each have their own particular meaning.

By rushing through the branding process, you’ll completely pass over your values and your logo/brand will mean absolutely nothing. Or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, you could accidentally create a highly offensive logo. Click the link and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

Strategy

As you know, a brand encompasses more than a logo and a cheeky slogan. A brand includes,

  • Specific Colors
  • A Finely Crafted Tone
  • A Professionally Designed Logo
  • A Tagline/Slogan, if desired
  • A Brand standards manual
  • A Strategy

The purpose of a brand strategy is to ensure that your target market will enjoy, trust and react to your brand. Without a strategy, you’ll have a billion different logos, and a brand voice that completely turns off your audience.

How many times have you come across an inconsistent brand and thought, “What the heck were they thinking?” In our line of work we encounter this situation, all the time. Those specific brands did not have a strategy before asking their aunt’s coworker to design their brand in exchange for a Target gift card.

When in the process of branding, sit down and think about how your brand will work across mediums, how it will influence your culture, and if it will resonate with your audience.

When developing your brand strategy, we strongly recommend that you seek out the assistance of a branding professional. These individuals will develop a cohesive branding strategy that is not only creative, but also seeks to yield positive results for your company.

At Titan Web Marketing Solutions, whenever we start a project of any kind — whether a brand, a website, a print piece, or even an online marketing plan — we start with a strategy. Without a strategy, our team would have no direction and the client would ultimately end up with a terrible brand.

A branding strategy takes time to research, develop and ultimately execute, so take your time and enjoy the ride.

Creativity

Note: Read this next section carefully. Read it like a hawk.

Let a professional graphic designer create your logo.

I’ll repeat:

Let a professional graphic designer create your logo.

Unless you are a graphic designer yourself, you will have a difficult time conceptualizing and creating a logo for your business. Why? First, you are not extensively trained in graphic design. Second, you have a biased opinion of your company.

Graphic designers have no previous premonitions or bias about your company. They are simply thinking and working from a creative standpoint. Their work includes researching your audience and determining how to best represent your company from a visual standpoint.

Also, listen to them! These professionals are trained and highly experienced in this particular line of work. Throughout the branding process, their feedback and suggestions are just as important as yours. You’ll understand what I mean in a few minutes…

In addition to having an unbiased stance on your business, a professional graphic designer will make sure that your brand lives up to the highest design standards and principles. Their thorough research and design experience will make sure your logo does not end up a waste of time.

Do yourself a favor if you passed over the previous link, and browse through these corporate logo fails. After seeing these logos, you’ll never speed through the branding process or forgo hiring a graphic designer.

Feedback

This is the most important part of the branding process.

In order to develop the ultimate brand for your business, you must be receptive to receiving and providing specific design feedback.

Without feedback, your brand will not exist.

Actually, let me rephrase that. It will exist; it just won’t work.

If you want your graphic designer and branding team to develop the best brand for your business, you must provide a wealth of intricate feedback. On the contrary, you also must be comfortable receiving feedback. Your graphic designer will tell you if your ideas are way off from what your target audience desires.

Many business owners make the mistake of basing their brand and logo off of their personal preferences. While it is your business, your brand must capture the attention of your audience.

Receiving feedback encompasses more than asking your neighbor’s cat’s veterinarian, “Do you like this?” You must receive direct feedback from your target audience.

Ask your audience a series of questions about your brand, such as:

  • “What does this logo/slogan say to you?
  • “What does this brand mean to you?
  •  “Would you trust this brand?”
  • “Would you remember this brand?”

Asking if they like won’t help. Sure, I like the appearance of a lot of brands. Do I trust them? Do I purchase their product or service? Depending on who it is, nope. Remember a brand is far more than a cute logo and a fairly sharp slogan; it’s an experience.

The Moral of the Story

Be patient with the branding process. It is a long, but worthwhile, adventure. Rushing through the process only ends in disaster for you, your company, and ultimately, your brand. Remember to think clearly, accept feedback, and trust your graphic designer to visually represent your brand in a creative way.

Whether it is finally time to rebrand your business, or you are about to launch your new company, contact Titan Web Marketing Solutions. Our branding experts are eager to help bring your brand to life. 615-890-3600.



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