Sep 04 2014 | by LUKE WILKINS
Understanding what brand actually is, how it works, and what it can potentially do for a business is not easy - but if you can, it has the potential to add incredible value to a business.
Through conversations we have with prospective clients, it’s clear that there are varied views on the subject. Some treat brand as a physical commodity, concentrating solely on the visual attributes of an identity, some acknowledge that it’s more an emotional entity, but are reluctant to allocate time, effort, and resource due to it being intangible, while others clearly understand the notion of what a brand is and what it can do, but just require help generating it.
So, what exactly is brand, and why should companies invest in theirs? Put simply, it’s a set of associations that a person makes with a company. These ‘emotional’ associations can either be intentional, influenced through marketing campaigns and visual identity, or be unintentional, perhaps through perceptions expressed on social media, for example.
Although companies can’t completely control a brand due to outside opinion, with the right proposition and intelligent execution of design, it can help create the right association.
It is evident that companies who invest appropriately in their brand are the ones who thrive and grow in their market, and that's because of the huge role it plays in consumer choice. Manufacturing consumer association with a product or their perception of a company, through its brand, will drive them to choose that product over another, and that is an extremely powerful attribute.
Of course, we do rationalise our purchasing decisions, but if a brand has the ability to create an emotional response, and make a consumer feel good about their purchase, that business will be strides ahead of its competitors. Perfume is a good example of where the brand is paramount in the purchasing decision - around 20% of the purchasing decision is based on things like smell and cost, the rest is based on brand.
So how do we start the process? First of all, proposition is key - creating the right one for a company gives a clear understanding in consumer's minds as to what the business stands for, and what it can offer. It not only provides clarity to an external audience, but to the internal workforce too, who are crucial in driving the philosophy of a brand - just look at the Apple geniuses.
When starting brand projects, we ask companies to think about what makes their offering unique - what is the differentiating factor? If a company can set itself apart from the competition then they're in a good position. However, that uniqueness needs to remain relevant to the targeted audience, and to do that you need a careful understanding of the people you are targeting. The job of finding it is a tough one - but through consultation both within the company and outside it, it can be achieved.
Once we have a core sense of what the company is about and how it wants to be viewed within its market, the brand can then be brought to life through the execution of visual elements, which of course are the logo, website, print work, advertising, social media, and any other touchpoints that are deemed necessary. However, it's key to remember that that's what they are - components of the brand - the brand itself is something we feel. A logo is probably the most viewed element, and therefore should embody the key components of a brand, but it’s just one manifestation of it - there are other elements that are just as important.
After deciding what touchpoints need to be exploited to best meet the needs and expectations of a consumer, a visual identity is creatively executed and rolled out, in line with the brand proposition and core belief of the business. All visual elements are crucial to the success of an identity, therefore if not delivered consistently, consumers will become disillusioned.
Our process is simple, but carefully considered, with each one informing the next. From research through to final sign-off, our attitude doesn’t change. We endeavour to be as thorough and transparent as possible, involving the client at all stages - it’s a journey we go on together.
At AlphaQuad, we understand that just changing a logo won't gain ground on competitors, or engage staff better, or refresh a whole identity. For our clients, we strive to develop and create both the brand proposition and entire visual output. We want the brands we create and support to work as hard as they possibly can for our clients, and connect as best as they can with their audience.
We feel that if a company can be different within its market, but also present itself as being trusted, exciting, reliable and clear about what they stand for, it will create an emotional resonance in the minds of consumers, driving customer choice and winning loyalty.
We want brands to achieve greater affinity from consumers, but more importantly, impact positively on financial performance - and if done well, the results can be staggering.
We have the expertise at AlphaQuad to establish and really bring to life the personality of a business, whatever the industry. If you would like to talk to us about evolving or revolutionising your brand then please contact us on 01789 491 610 arrange an initial consultation.
Making the case for brand change