“Unless you have absolute clarity of what your brand stands for, everything else is irrelevant.”
– Mark Baynes, Global CMO, Kellogg Co.
Well, he might have a point! It really can be that simple whilst on the other hand it can be far more complicated…
In preparation for writing this post I read several blogs on brand strategy and brand architecture to get an idea of how to approach the subject. I found two things happened as a result of this little exercise.
Firstly I remembered how boring the subject can be in the wrong hands (zzzzz…) and secondly I was reminded that keeping a brand simple and succinct can be one of the best ways to give it a chance of being successful.
One of the brands I always end up harking back to for an example of simplicity and style is that of Chanel. Simple font, colour and logo. Beautiful clothes. Amazing website. I love it!
However, I would worry that if I designed a logo and brand ID using a Helvetica-esque font in black my client might just laugh at me. Would they think that I just hadn’t bothered and had knocked it out on a Friday afternoon in time for the weekend? Or come out with the classic comment, “I could have done it in Word…”
Why didn’t I think of that?
Its not that easy of course. The relationship between the letters, the spacing, the size, the black. Oh yes, the black. Even that is up for debate. A rich black? A cold black? A warm black? A nearly but not quite black black? The packaging, web site and the advert design. Its certainly more than just a logo.
So, clarity of brand is important but how do you decide how best to represent your company with one logo, one voice? Deciding your place in the market will make a difference too. Are you high-end, middle of the range or budget?
Top quality products commanding the most money will need a brand to reflect this. Take Apple’s I-phone 5. Sleek, beautiful, clever and expensive looking. The latest in packaging and a cutting edge web site.
Middle of the range
Middle of the range products can be a bit more homely. HTC’s mobile phones are an ideal candidate. They don’t make too much of a dent in your wallet and do the job well their designed to do well but no extras. No bling. Brands like this can be honest, likeable and appeal to all. The sensible choice. Neatly packaged with carefully thought out graphics and an easy to navigate but smart web presence.
Once you get down to the bottom of the range then it is a case of get what you pay for. Tesco Mobiles fit the description. Cheap and cheerful but don’t expect too much from it or for it to last too long. How do you get people to buy this then? Bright colours, fun designs, eye catching logos with a hint of “buy me – I’m not to expensive” about it. Funky, inexpensive packaging and a bright, lively and fun campaign. Maybe a gimmick or catchy strap line might help people remember it?
So, after deciding on the market place you are operating in then it is time to determine the brand voice.
By that, I mean the tone of ‘voice’ that your brand adopts. Is it full of heritage and vintage charm and makes the buyer reminisce and feel secure? Should the paper choice for the brochure be recycled and uncoated to give it that tactile feel and should the photos used be of a particular style….. maybe black and white or treated to give a certain colour effect?
Or is it shouting about all things new – innovative and modern? Maybe a lovely foil blocked logo for extra sparkle or a clever way of packaging the product. A website that takes your viewer on an unexpected journey of intrigue and technical wonder.
Never forget that all market places are big and some are huge. With so many voices all shouting at your prospective client yours needs to either shout the loudest or sound the best. That is why your brand needs to be so well considered and clear.
Back to Black
Does the whole ‘black but not too black’ thing make more sense now? That is why the nearly black black might be better than the cool black. Because it isn’t quite so intense and gives a softer approach. The cool black might be just a little too unfriendly for that particular voice. Or maybe a rich black would suit better – giving that intense opulent feel for that high end product.
It can make you feel a little dizzy! Calm down with a cup of tea and a browse through our branding portfolio.
Image source – thinkstockphotos.co.uk