If you look at the device you are reading this article on then you’ve already been sucked in at some point. Whether you’re using an Apple iPhone or an Android, a custom built gaming computer or a tablet, you have bought into that brand due to either the message, the consumer experience, the social status, brand positioning, the trust, how it makes you feel, the customer service, how it is packaged, the bag it comes in when you walk down the high street or maybe just because all of your friends have one and it's a societal trend…
In this day and age if you pulled out a flip phone anywhere you would definitely be the recipient of some bizarre looks. Society makes or breaks brands based on current trends and what’s in versus what's old news.
“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is - it is what the consumers tell each other it is. “ - Scott Cook
Develop your brand in stages and make tweaks along the way if you need to. CocaCola don’t use the same logo they started off with and their ethos has also changed. You need to adapt and move with the times but still be true to YOUR BRAND. Don’t copy and don’t change the look just because somebody else did it a month before you. There have been a lot of rebrands in 2018-2019 which in my opinion have been a catastrophe to the fashion/marketing industry: Yves Saint Lauren, Balenciaga, Burberry, Berluti, Balmain… the list goes on (take a second to google them). I feel they have lost their positioning in the market, their differentiation, it looks like they have all used the same mould and lost the true essence and identity of their brand. All the years of establishment and brand glow, summed up into a Sans Serif font. They have gone from a fingerprint to a smudge.
A “brand” is much more than a logo design, it is a person. It has a persona, it encompasses everything you develop the brand into and make it become.
The tone of voice and market placement is crucial to the price structure and the ethos of the brand/product. If Rolex’s price point started at £150 and went up to £400 max, but their logo was a crown but with a childlike hand-rendered typeface below it in a painful mish-mash of blue and red hues, would it be viewed as a luxurious brand? Of course not.
A lot of people buy into the “I have a Rolex” because of its social status and brand establishment - they want to be that “type” of person who has one of their watches. Hence why many people wear replicas because they still want to experience the “look” of the brand.
Rolex: the clean-cut, luxurious serif typeface, the pride and established clout the brand carries. When you wear a Rolex you feel amazing. You could go to anywhere in the world when buying a Rolex and the scenario will be as follows: when purchasing you are seated by well presented, polite staff with a complimentary beverage of your choice whilst being presented with different face, bezel, strap and colour combinations, all carefully boxed and wrapped in scratch-free satin cloth to ensure the handling of the goods is retained at a high. Once you have it, you wear it with pride and joy, you have a beautiful box to put it in when home, you become the “type” of person who has one, and the brand STAMPS itself onto you. That warm experience of picking and purchasing the watch will stay with you forever. That is branding.
Compare that to going into big chain superstore and picking up a watch wrapped in a factory encased plastic box off a spinning shelf rack - taking it to the till to be greeted by somebody who’s chatting to their friend while serving you and the only words exchanged are “thank you have a nice day, next”. The scenarios are worlds apart. That is branding.
To the “average Joe”, coffee pretty much just tastes like coffee. After the milk goes in and you have added teo sweeteners, why do you choose the global franchised £3.79 americano over the cafe opposite you who also have americanos for £1, who also offer you the milk and sweetener...? Oh, I get it, you want to be seen with that “BIG BRAND” logo cup. You want to put it on your Instagram story and tag the location with your shopping bags in the background so people know where YOU place yourself in society. You are a reflection of the brands you buy into.
Picture this: a white paper cup either full to the brim or completely empty. Think of its value… now think of the EXACT SAME white paper cup, but envision a Starbucks logo on it. Why does the Starbucks one seem more expensive? If there were a poll to choose the plain white cup or the Starbucks white cup, I would bet everything I have that the majority would favour the Starbucks cup, even people who don't drink coffee. Why? The brand and its core values. That is branding.
Here's a task... A big commercial company, one of the biggest companies in the world. Now: envision two colours, one yellow and one red. Stop. Yellow and red brand colours. What brand comes to mind? If you haven’t got it then, it's a fast food chain. Got it yet? McDonalds. If you can identify a brand by just the colours they use, that is a true reflection of how powerful branding is. So when it comes to creating your brand, be bold and stand out. It is already hard trying to stand out in an overpopulated market so be different.
The power of branding is crazy. Some tips from me:
Keep it simple, brand establishment will form the brand
Have it reflect something memorable that works small and large for print and web
Protect its identity and keep it consistent
Don’t change the font on an asset because the logo may work best that way, on that design
Have well structured brand guidelines and stick to how you want your brand to be portrayed.
Words by Joe Harper