What’s in a brand?

What’s in a brand?

As design and marketing consultants the word ‘branding’ is ingrained in our industry, and as consumers we’re constantly influenced by brands in all areas of our lives, from grocery shopping to motoring, technology, holidays, clothing and even water! It’s difficult to imagine a world without branding.

In fact, the term ‘branding’ was only coined relatively recently in the late 1980s by John Murphy, a pioneer in the art of brand valuation and founder of Interbrand – one of the first and leading branding consultancies responsible for well known brands such as Hob-Nobs, Homebase, Mondeo and Punto.

Founded in 1974, initially as a name generation business, John began to realise that by creating a positioning statement and strategy alongside a product name and logo, they were developing an entire identity and persona with which customers could connect. They were creators of ‘brands’ – a scarcely-known concept in the early to mid 80s, and from there they went on to develop a methodology for brand evaluation, working for the likes of Rank Hovis McDougal to value the UK group’s entire portfolio of brands to help to demonstrate the value of the business to a potential buyer.

Coincidentally The Finishing Post work with one of the brands that John created. Following his step down from Interbrand he set up St Peter’s Brewery in the Suffolk countryside to produce traditional English ales to be exported around the world. We’ve been fortunate to help develop their branding from his initial creation, through their core range packaging design, range extensions and NPD, plus supporting their marketing activity with point of sale, exhibition design, brochures and product launches. Further reading on our ST PETER’S BREWERY CASE STUDY.

So what’s really in a brand?

A brand isn’t just a logo, it’s more specific, a promise to your customers about the product or service they are investing in and how they will feel when they use it. Here are our 10 key considerations when creating a new brand or updating an existing brand:

1. Target audience – Who will buy your product or service? What age, sex, demographic? What other brands do they affiliate with?

2. Competitors – Who are your competitors? What is their logo, brand image and values? There’s nothing worse than designing a logo or creating a strapline that’s too similar to your competitors.

3. Brand promise and values – What is your message to your target audience? What are you offering or promising when they buy your product or service?

4. Brand positioning – Brings together the above points – this is one over-riding statement that defines your target audience, who the brand competes with, the benefits of using it and the brand promise.

5. Brand voice – How does your brand speak or sound? What is its personality? Is it serious and professional or fun and light-hearted? This will help to determine the language of your marketing and messages to your target audience, and ensure consistency throughout your communications.

6. Brand logo – The basic mark of your product or service, a symbol of your brand image, it should reflect and align with your brand positioning, be unique and identifiable.

7. Brand identity – To support the brand logo, your identity should build upon this to create a consistent style throughout all your communications, with a unique colour palette, fonts, image style and graphics or icons.

8. Brand guidelines – To ensure consistency throughout your marketing communications, your brand identity should be encapsulated in a guidelines document, with templates for each of your marketing tools, such as stationery, email signature, social media, advertising, presentations, exhibitions, literature and digital.

9. Brand message – Having a brand is all well and good, but do your customers know about it? Getting your brand out there with a consistent look and message is essential to build brand awareness and encourage brand loyalty.

10. Continuous improvement – Is your brand performing as you wish? What are customers saying and feeling about your brand? With regular research and review you can ensure your brand image is maintained and you gain customer advocacy.

The Finishing Post is a full service creative agency with extensive experience in name generation, brand creation, through to brand guidelines and marketing support services. Get in touch to discuss your project and visit our BRANDING page to find out how we’ve helped to create some high profile brands. Tel: 01284 336800 or email info@thefinishingpost.com