O'live & Write
How to Build Your Brand—Three Thoughts
There's just way too much information about building a brand on the internet, so we shall spare you the step-by-step details you can find elsewhere.
Instead, what we will share is our take on how to create a brand, maintain, and keep it safe.
Having helped a few clients with their brand identities, we've gleaned some practical tips on how you can make sure your brand doesn't go wonky or rogue on you, and things to take note of when building up a brand that would resonate with people.
First observation (Logo/slogan): The subtle things matter—a lot of the time. There's psychology behind the colours you pick, or the words you choose to describe your slogan. Within seconds, people will decide: "hey, that sounds pretty cliche" or "That colour is kind of gross" or "hmm, that's strangely calming. I like it."
The thing is, though, it can be such a subjective journey that when you ask people around you for opinions on a design or an idea, there are so many differing thoughts that you end up not quite knowing what to think anymore. The key is to strongly resonate with it YOURSELF (if you're the brand owner/CEO) first. Because when you believe in the design, colours, and oomph behind the aesthetics, the rest of your employees will too, eventually.
Take the middle guy as the reference point for a logo discussion. He looks like someone clean-shaven, honest, good. You'd put your insurance money with him. Add a chin goatee on him, and he turns into an "easy-going", "let's just roll with it" kind of guy. A moustache that works well on a salesman and sheriff sort of communicates a "we both get a win-win solution out of this" vibe (before you say "hey, that's not true! We're being stereotypical here for the sake of a snippy discussion). The point is... you need to decide what your business represents, and then build it from there. Start on a "Clean-Shaven guy" slate, then add personality by branching out from there.
The process may go like this: "I want a modern, friendly brand for my flower shop."—> You then pause and realise that there are many floral shops out there that exemplifies contemporariness and friendliness, so let's take the brand building a step further.
OK, so you carry on to think, "my brand would focus mainly on unique flowers and hampers. I want to make people feel like dreams can come true. Like a fairytale." —> Now you're talking! You've got something going on. You want to be a one-of-a-kind florist that arranges flowers with the aim of making people feel like they're princesses, queens or kings.
From "modern and friendly", you then decide to push it to "modern, elegant, friendly but posh". In the end, you may create a logo that has royal hues of purple mixed with pastel shades, along a pair of wings or a crown somewhere in the logo, accompanied by a beautiful calligraphy font that yells "elegant".
Second observation: Is your brand's communication strategy consistent with your business goals?
If you're a fish and chips fast food joint that makes it a point to address your customers online with an "Ahoy, mate!" and "Sea you soon!", it'll be jarring for your customers to turn up at the joint to see decor that's primarily corporate/business-like with nothing remotely seafaring. Now, imagine if a serious, unfriendly waitress takes their order—the "Sea you soon, mate!" cheeriness they'd encountered online would become a branding void you failed to fill. The customers would probably leave remembering your joint for all the wrong reasons.
Similarly, if your logo and slogan is all about friendliness and promises to rescue them from a future blight, make sure your business is consistently like that. In practical terms, see to it that your fonts, tagline, online communications, offline communications, and face-to-face meetups match your brand's aura consistently.
Third observation: It really does takes effort!
Yep! It's pretty self-explanatory, but many brands neglect this (and it actually eats away at your polished veneer over time). Every day, with every media post, client meeting, or email, you've got to stick to the brand book, and don't just let slip when you're feeling lazy, even as an already established brand.
Before we sound too naggy, this is what it really means:
If you're an accounting firm that's made it point to respond to clients any time of the day with a smile, people are going to expect that every time. If you're an elegant wedding boutique, display meaningful elegance in your posts and don't just re-post weird memes or post poor quality photos. You never know when the exception to your consistency may cost you.
Building a brand is fun, but maintaining it is hard work (like falling in love and staying in it). It's an organic and meaningful process that every brand manager should enjoy and protect, because you're essentially breathing your "soul" and "vision" into something that's going to live on all your business collaterals. You literally get to make your dreams come alive!
We hope you enjoyed reading this short post on branding! We'd love to know what you think about branding—feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below :)