Whether you’re launching a shiny new business or dreaming up a brand identity refresh, your logo can be considered the cherry on top of a tempting cake. Running with the sweet-treat metaphor, that cake represents your branding strategy – and truth be told, a cherry is never as appealing as it is when atop something truly decadent!
If a product is what you sell, branding can be considered the art of building a strong personality around it. Powerful branding attracts great things, such as preference, loyalty, association, familiarity, and awareness. So don’t just make a cool logo. First, do the foundational work of constructing a brand that will tempt your target audience.
What’s it worth? Everything.
Some aspects of strong branding are obvious – like really memorable logos. We only need to spy a small section of the logos of companies such as Amazon, Lego, or Coca Cola to know exactly what we’re looking at. But among the most impactive brands, method is also being applied to far more subtle cues. That’s why you can recognise a Google or Apple product even after removing branding, colour, or context.
An optimal branding strategy can be seen as a samurai code that we cultivate and then follow. It helps to build instant bridges to your audience, creating a positive emotional response, and – crucially – the motivation to choose your business over any other. Sounds good, right? So let’s get started, from the ground up.
Before picking the flavour and buying the ingredients for your tasty branding strategy cake, the place to begin is with a little introspection. What are the bones of your brand? It’s time to create a mission statement that helps to summarise its purpose, defining its values, benefits, and intentions. This step is just for you, so for now, keep it secret and keep it safe.
Your mission statement should be a guiding light for every member of staff and something worth fighting for. Tesla’s mission statement sets out long term goals: “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” Simple, isn’t it? By distilling the core driving force behind your business, you can create a touchpoint that will future-proof your thought processes and keep your brand on track.
The big idea.
Different bakers might use virtually the exact same ingredients but sell their delicacies at entirely different price points – it all comes down to branding. So, what makes you so special? The term that describes this concept is “USP”, or unique selling proposition. It’s that ‘je ne se quoi’ that grabs attention and steals hearts.
While quality and experience do of course matter, the key to competitive marketing isn’t just your product. It’s how you position your brand identity. Look at it this way: you don’t win friends over with salad! So, do competitive field research on what other pâtissiers are baking. Take notes. Then chuck those notes away and do something completely different.
Without a defined personality, customers can get mixed messages or have trouble connecting to your brand. To avoid getting lost in translation, try thinking of your brand as a person. What are they like? What is their tone of voice? How do people see them? If it helps, have a think about which celebrity best represents your brand and work backwards from there. Alec Baldwin? Kirsty Allsopp? Pikachu? The choice is yours!
No one wants to buy a camel in the countryside, any more than they might be happy with a horse in the desert. Your business cannot be everything to everyone, no matter how hard you try. So, get specific, and find your horse. Who is it you’re looking for? Maybe your destined audience is time-poor and stressed-out parent, stylish single men with deep pockets, or 30-something eco warriors. If your targeting is generic, your brand will eventually become generic – so define your audience and get ready for that personality to address them.
With your brand’s personality and target laid out, it’s time to start getting your message straight – it’s time to pick your flavour. You have zeroed in on your mission, so now is the moment to define your brand for the rest of the world.
Describe it in 100 words… This is what we are. This is what we do. This is why you want it. Dissect every single word and remove the chaff.
Describe it in 50 words… What are the implications of certain phrases? Get everybody involved and agreed upon what’s being said.
Describe it in 25 words… If you can provide an accurate and succinct description that stays consistent, there won’t be any doubt.
OK, now you can make a cool logo! Now that you’ve laid the foundation of your brand, you can start putting everything into action, and manifest something that will truly melt in the mouth. The visual elements that you’re about to create will act as ambassadors for everything your business produces and represents, the feeling, the people, the vibe, and the values.
If you are on board with Teapot Creative, then our team of designers will take care of the taste test – but it helps if you know the process, and if we know what tickles your fancy. Two key concepts that you’re likely to encounter are simplicity, and symbolism. The top 3 brands in the world have very simple logos, so don’t complicate things by adding too much detail. There is a reason some images appear over and over again in logos; symbolism is a powerful tool.
The supporting cast.
Don’t forget, your logo has a supporting cast in the form of dynamic duo: palette and typography. Colour semiotics and psychology shows that we connect feelings with certain colours and shades. You shouldn’t necessarily choose a colour that you like, because ultimately you are not your customer. Try to stick to 3 primary colours or less to avoid brand confusion. Apparently, 3 really is the magic number!
Turning our attention to typography, the trick is everything in moderation. Your brand font doesn’t need to match the one used in your logo, but more than two is a no-no. Fonts have personalities just as much as colours, so make sure to pick one that will go the distance. While you’re there, don’t forget that not all fonts work across print, web and digital, so it might be best to find an all-rounder.
Evolution vs revolution.
Sometimes a brand doesn’t need a completely new start; an evolution or revolution is all that’s needed. If that’s where you’re at, it’s time to lose the dead-weight. Use all of this information to work out which elements of your existing brand are working hard enough for you. Show us what you’ve got, too. Existing literature, digital adverts, or other branded assets come in handy when updating a brand identity.
Upside down and inside out. Create a style guide, determine your brand personality, and formulate your brand’s own signature master-baker strategy.
Soon, everyone will want a slice! Ready to get cooking?