“Every time he stepped onto the stage, the audience went wild: his operatic vocal range and the excellent rock band quickly became a legend. Their iconic song is still played like an anthem by athletes and other artists, inspiring with its diverse styles, charisma, and extraordinary stage presence. And today, nearly 30 years after his death, he remains among the most frequently played musicians on all radio stations. Although the band’s name directly referred to the female gender, 24 albums with gold status left no doubt about who the king was.”
I’m sure that even if he wasn’t an idol for many of you, you knew who I was writing about above. Freddie Mercury is a brand!
A brand is the combined force of associations, feelings, and images about your product, service, or entire company. And the wonderful thing about branding is that you have influence over most of these elements! And one more thing: an idol, who is present today and gone tomorrow, is created by marketing. A brand is built by legend, and legend builds a brand.
However, marketing is as broad a word as the construction industry: from excavators, bricklayers, to painters and electricians. And even to the plasterer.
On the other hand, branding, in this construction analogy, is the stage of the architect and construction supervision, ideally engaged and responsible, overseeing the investment from start to finish with the investor and contractors. It is they who shape the form and character of the building so that its structure best suits its purpose.
So where is your role, the creator of the product/service, in all of this? And where is your customer? When building your brand, you will meet on three basic levels:
Values, which is what you truly give to your customer.
Will you place a grand, multi-tiered wedding cake at a summer garden party with friends? Probably not, although it would undoubtedly be large and impressive.
Will you place a chilled sponge cake with strawberries in jelly on your wedding table? Again, probably not, although the thought of such a cake at a garden party is delightful.
As a customer, do you always buy based on specifications alone? Bigger, better, faster? No, more often than not, you buy values, solutions, and sometimes ideas! A product must solve your problem or meet your need, and it’s rarely measured by a single specific parameter, universally perceived by “everyone.”
I often repeat the sales communication comparison between MP3 players and iPods: Apple sold 1000 songs in your pocket, while other manufacturers tempted with 4GB, 8GB, or even 16GB of memory in the device.
When you clearly understand the communicated values of a product or service – easy to feel, understand, and desire. Basic values should clearly define what problem you solve, what you provide to your user, how you do it, and why it’s worth trusting you.
Naming & Logo
I often encounter the argument that brand equals logo/CI. The truth is that no brand has been built solely by a logo or name. None. And that’s it. However, it is a significant cherry on top – it must fit the cake.
A logo is the emblem adorning the name of your brand, presenting its image and often its character at the first contact (as you know, the first impression lays the foundation for further associations). Often, in this context, values are mentioned – personally, I believe that it’s rarely possible to pack so many issues into one small logo. Moreover, designed according to the principle of less is more – because, as you know, it’s easier to remember simple things than complicated ones.
So, do you not need to pay attention to it then? You do – if you want your brand to be remembered, to catch the eye and be easily memorable. To be consistent, distinctive, and tailored to the product… To be the kind that when, after two contacts with your brand, someone substitutes it with a “knockoff,” the customer notices the difference and, disgusted by the inconsistency of the imitation, chooses the right one – your BRAND.
Therefore, naming & logo should capture the character of your brand, and we will address the communication of values in the creation of the other necessary elements of your branding.
Creation, Image, Graphic Identity
VALUES > BRAND > CI > LOGO
Remember yourself a year after graduation. How did you look? And how did your group of friends look walking through the city? Exotic, right?
Every now and then on social media, there are chains like “show your picture from a few years ago.” Thanks to this, our friends sometimes remind us of our photos from high school or college days. I like to reminisce occasionally: I was as thin as a stick, had long, wavy hair (almost like Wodecki), and wore punk plaid pants with every outfit. Worse still, I’m sure I wasn’t the most peculiar individual.
With few exceptions, almost everyone looked more or less exotic. Either clearly focusing on some subculture or total casualness – meaning – lack of style.
And although I know many eccentric entrepreneurs and salespeople, I am sure none of us would go dressed like that to a client meeting today!
And it is precisely the appearance, the brand, that should determine the essence of the product. It should tell you no more, no less than what you can expect from it. It should give us a chance to quickly recognize products of the same brand so that, trusting it, we can explore its subsequent products.
After all, when I tell you about a professional upholstery cleaning device, pavement tile cleaner, or car wash – you will say: Karcher and associate professional services provided on these devices. And when I tell you about a fast-food restaurant under two golden arches, you’ll think of McDonald’s and that you can quickly eat a very consistent quality meal.
Unfortunately, many companies operate without giving them a consistent image – as a result, they look just like us in those pictures from twenty years ago! Worse still – even going as one team as a company – they look like that group of friends in the pictures – each one different! And while with such a group you would throw a party in college times, they may not inspire your trust as a service provider, for example.
Remember that a customer’s encounter with your brand is:
- receiving a business card, seeing an ad, meeting at trade shows, any form of first contact
- checking your website, online store, application
- receiving an email from your company (content and its appearance!) – remember that an automatic response from a form is also an email from your company!
- graphics and photos you publish on social media, team photos in presentations, expert press,
- and the huuuuge number of messages you produce communicating with the world!
Even if you think that “marketing doesn’t work for you,” I’ll comfort you: maybe marketing doesn’t, but branding does. That’s how your mind is structured – it reads and interprets stories, picks up contexts, assesses safety. Instinctively and subconsciously, most of us find it easier to trust things we know, recognize, and have positive associations with. And at the same time, we exercise caution in unknown situations or those behaving inconsistently with expectations.
This is what we create by building a corporate identity, Brandbook, Key Visual. We dress your brand in that perfectly fitting context. So that your customer knows what to expect from your brand and feels good about meeting it. So that they want to buy it and recommend it further!
And let me remind you of one thing. An idol is created by marketing. A legend is built by the brand.