The importance of branding
We interviewed our Creative Directors John and Nadia for their thoughts on the importance of branding.
Q: What is your approach to a brief for a re-brand?
John: We recommend our clients work through our branding workshop, which explores: what they do, how they do it and most importantly why their customers should choose them over their competitors.
We explore what their key objectives are:
- What are they trying to achieve – increase market share or rejuvenate a failing brand?
- What is their why? (What is it that makes them truly different?)
- Where are they positioned in the market?
- Where do they want to be positioned?
When we get close to defining their brand position, we proactively challenge the client to answer ‘can you live up to your brand promise?’
We produce a branding workshop report which forms the basis of a creative and marketing brief. This ensures the success of their branding and marketing strategy.
Nadia: Yes, all this needs to be done to create the brief before starting to think about the creation of a visual language.
Q: What do you think makes a brand memorable?
Nadia: The best brands are simply and consistently executed. The company who adopts the brand needs to ensure that their team live, breath and believe the brand before they release it to a wider audience. Using workshops and brand guidelines ensures consistency. Name, colour and shape make a brand memorable.
John: If a brand says something unique with relevance then it will resonate more strongly and for longer with their target audience.
Q: How do you make branding effective?
Nadia: You need to know your market, have a strategy and communicate effectively to your market; do this by being consistent with your branding and messaging.
John: Develop a marketing strategy that is built around our customers USPs and their ‘Why?’ Good design captures the essence of the brand and creates positive emotional connections. Design consistency across all channels is key to protecting the brand identity. We focus on a blend of two key factors: hard: how you communicate to your customers in a digital age and soft: how you create emotional and tangible connections. Get that right and you will have a lasting brand.
Q: How important would you say elements like colour and typography are to branding?
Nadia: They are essential! Appropriating the right character of typography to the sector that you are trying to communicate, is crucial. Colour is very emotive; you wouldn’t use a red colour palette for the interior design of a hospital, you would use a calming colour palette. People have very personal preferences when it comes to typography and colour, however your subconscious has predetermined responses, you just know.
John: They are like all the ingredients in a beautiful cake. Without all the ingredients, the cake won’t taste nice. The skill is how you put all the elements together.
Q: What elements make up a brand?
Nadia: Fonts. Colour. Imagery. Logo. Tone of voice. Messages. People. Structure.
John: Physical: Logo, colour, copy, layout, imagery, design style, photography, digital and print. Emotive: Attitude, values, tone of voice, relevance, empathy and uniqueness
Q: Which branding project that you’ve worked on in the past has been your favourite?
Nadia: Opportunity Notts because it was a project that would have a tangible impact on young people to improve their life outcomes. It was designed to be white labelled to roll out across the whole of the UK. Also, Longhurst Group because we created a visual language to enable lots of marketing material to be easily identified as Longhurst Group. Because of the nature of the market that they work in (a not-for-profit organisation, and leading provider of housing across the Midlands and East of England) we created vibrant and visually arresting brands that are easily recognisable, in the environment.
John: Whittam Cox Architects: the client truly engaged in the branding process. They had identified a need for change. Our team believed in the client’s values and promise. The client’s new brand reflected their heritage, people and approach. The name comes from their founders and puts the people back at the centre of their practice. We enjoyed working with the client exploring the various printing techniques that reflected the quality of their new brand.
Q: Why is branding so important for businesses?
Nadia: Without it they die! We live in a very visual world, with everyone fighting for their own bit of space. You need to have your own recognisable marque and strategy that will give your product or company the edge over competitors.
John: A strong brand that is unique and relevant ensures that they compete on quality not on price.
Q: What 5 things should people consider when thinking about how to brand their business?
Nadia: What are they offering?
Who are they offering to?
How to present what they do uniquely compared to their competitors.
Review their existing brand and what are its positives and negatives.
Address that with a specialist branding company!
John: What do they want to truly achieve?
What is their drive to make this happen?
What skills do they need to make this happen?
What do they believe will be their return on investment?
Will they engage their people in the process?
Q: What are your favourite brands?
Nadia: Victoria & Albert Museum – because it’s a classic piece of elegant and clever typography simply applied, across a multitude of signage and products.
Penguin Books – has existed since 1935 and has evolved over the years but essentially remained the same and is instantly recognisable.
Harvey Nichols – confident, simple, oozing understated elegance and class (a bit like me).
John: Skoda - Truth: They know themselves well and so do their customers
Amazon - Belief: They stuck at it through difficult periods and are now market leader. They could rebrand Christmas as Amazon. Scary!
Oakley - Style: Beautiful products that I love to wear.
Have you got some branding requirements you’d like to discuss? Give us a call and we will get the kettle on for a chat.
You can also read a bit more about John and Nadia here on our team page.
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