Quite often, the brand discussion starts with a business wanting to design a logo because this is the identifiable part of a business that customers can relate to. It is also how a company distinguishes its product or service from its competitors and represents itself in the market. Whilst this is an important aspect of the brand, it isn’t necessarily the first thing to tackle.
So where to start with your brand identity?
Your brand represents your values, culture and importantly the people within the business. It represents your point of difference and the hard work you have put into building your business. This is so why it is important to get the foundations right from the beginning.
Your brand is something tangible that your employees can embrace, something to be proud of. It creates a reason for them to become brand ambassadors and be passionate about their business. It can create a positive brand experience that has an immediate effect on how your customers perceive the brand too.
“We’ve noticed a substantial increase in our employees’ pride when they wear the new brand.” Casey Addison, Sales and Marketing Manager, Nowchem.
Brand determines the image your business will project, how it meets your customer needs, provide a benchmark for customer service and establish where you are positioned in the market. It reflects the quality, reliability, trust and reassurance for your customers.
These attributes contribute to the overall value of your brand among customers, the more well-known and trusted your brand is, the higher the brand value is in the minds of your customers; in other words, your brand equity. Brands resonate with people due to their attributes, not simply based on how good the logo looks on a business card.
After conducting some customer research as part of the strategy process, we found that the Nowchem brand resonated with customers due to its values, culture, product and service. This was critical when looking at how we would re-define the brand identity, so here are some of the steps we recommend taking before developing concept designs for your brand identity.
Determine what your positioning is in the market place and why your product or service has a unique value proposition to your audience. Then clearly articulate it. Writing a positioning statement is a way you can distill your unique position into a few words that sets you apart from your competition.
Brand values make up what your brand stands for, what’s driving the business and why customers and employees choose your brand over another. For example, your values may mean being inclusive, community focused, respectful or sustainability focused. These values need to be present in the brand whether you are talking to a customer, writing a newsletter or planning your social media calendar.
Think of this as a tone of voice. How should your brand communicate to your customers, with your employees? The way you speak, write, sell, create and interact with your customers can be your point of difference. Is it serious, fun, sexy, quirky, geeky or a feminine brand?
Now back to your brand’s visual identity
Once you have worked through your strategy, what your brand means, how it behaves and communicates, this will give you a clearer vision as to what it should look like.
It’s not necessarily an easy task either; it takes time and can require an exploration of several concept directions to interpret how the brand can look visually.
Try not to rush into creating a quick and seemingly cheap logo. Whilst this seem like a quick and often cost effective task, it may create issues later. What if you diversify in the future, what if your place of business changes, does your identity still remain relevant?
Get it right first time by going through the appropriate brand strategy process, ensuring it makes sense with the overall vision of your business. As a critical element of your overall marketing mix, it pays to establish your branding well from the beginning. Remember to maintain consistency and ensure your brand is projected correctly to your customers across multiple touch-points.
Effective brand strategy and design is the formula of an objective and considered process through insight, strategy and creativity.
We had the opportunity to work with Nowchem over the last fourteen months to help shape their brand strategy and create a new brand identity with them. As a family owned and run chemical manufacturing business of almost forty years, Nowchem had been using the same logo for that time and we were briefed to update the brand identity to coincide with their strategic vision.
“The new brand identity needed to reflect the vision and values of the business, as well as the people that make the brand it is today.” John Lamont, Managing Director, Nowchem.
A strategic and creative process ensured every aspect of the brand communication was reviewed and considered, whether it be internal marketing to staff, or to customers and consumers.
During the process, we ensured consistency so the brand was maintained equally across a range of material and formats, from packaging labels to vehicle livery.
Ultimately, the brand had to represent the positive future direction for the business and the team that would take it there. The whole team at Nowchem embraced the change and their new brand identity.
Not only did Nowchem get a new logo design, but the strategic and creative process helped create more customer value and a greater sense of pride within the business.