Brand is more than a name, a logo and a tag line. It’s a promise to customers and a personality that identifies your company. Brand is about fulfilling an experience and creating aspiration. It’s the prism in which perceptions are created and associations become connected to a name and logo. Branding is everything, every touch point with a customer from the way you answer the phone to the furniture in your lobby. But it is not just advertising, marketing claims or sales promotions. Its deeper than that.
I had a professor who believed that in our culture you are what you own. He saw the objects, and more importantly, the brands that we chose to spend money on as an extension of who we are as people. If I asked you to describe a person who purchases brands like Rolex, Mercedes Benz, Ralph Lauren, Whole Foods and Starbucks the description you choose would not match with someone who identifies with brands like Tractor Supply Company, Carhartt, Wal-Mart, Cracker Barrel Restaurant and Dunkin Doughnuts. Professionals who manage brands understand that the psychology of consumer perception is fundamental in creating strong brands and that brands are concepts that must be nurtured. A consumer’s perception of a brand is influenced through design cues like symbols, color palette and naming. So, where do we start when we want to better manage our brand? It all starts with the brand positioning statement.
“Look at that logo, it’s so simple. I could do that.”
Have you ever thought this looking at some of the more iconic brand images out there? Nike, McDonald’s, Pepsi. They’re pretty simple, right? How hard could it be to create a mark like these? It’s the elegant simplicity of these brands that contributes to the common misconception that creating a strong brand is easy. But a brand goes far beyond just a logo. It is so much more than a symbol to use on business cards or on a sign outside of a company’s building. A logo is just a small part of the larger, more complex branding process. Your brand is more than a mark, a symbol, a caricature – your brand is what separates you from your competitors; it’s what makes your company, well, YOUR company; it’s what rockets some companies into the limelight while leaving others to languish in the shadows.
What makes you different? I’ve been asked that question a lot and with good reason. There are thousands of design firms – small shops; regional firms; vertically specialized boutiques; multi-national conglomerates; and let’s not forget the one man show. So how do you choose the right design firm, the right interactive agency, the right integrated marketing firm? Aren’t they all like? Shouldn’t I just put my project out to bid and go with the lowest price for the most work?
For those of you who regularly follow the world of online advertising, you may have noticed the speed at which Google has been making changes to its services and offerings. Not only has the company made substantial debuts and upgrades to its end-user services – e.g., Google Instant and Google Images – but it has also been steadily reinvigorating its Google Display Network (GDN), including new ad formats and updates to the tools used to position these ads.