Has your business recently decided to look at its branding but has been met with quotes you feel are high? There are many reasons why you should look at your brand as a vital investment for your business, and not just a money spending exercise.
If you’ve read any design or marketing blog recently, then you’ll know the benefits that developing a strong brand can bring to your business, such as increased profitability, better customer engagement and a definitive voice in a crowded market. Yet to take full advantage, your brand needs to be effective. It can’t just be a lovely logo or a whizzy website. No, good branding goes much deeper than that.
That’s why you shouldn’t automatically jump at the cheapest option, as what the agency that’s quoted delivers will most likely not bring all the returns you expect from the investment you’re making.
Why you should invest in good branding
Although good branding starts with what comes naturally to your business – its values, purpose and voice – it will take some investment to develop the brand into a truly effective business identity. Here are some reasons why.
Good branding is hard to build
If you’ve already tried to develop your brand in-house, then you’ll know just how difficult it is. Central to everything your business does, branding projects are a big deal, which not only means there are heaps of deliverables to create, but lots of stakeholders who want to input their own opinion on what the final brand should look like.
One of the main benefits of investing in developing your brand with an experience branding agency is that they come to your business with fresh eyes. They will take the time to listen to key team member’s thoughts, get to the root of your business’s purpose and develop it into an effective and unique brand that your internal team and external customer will understand and relate to.
Good branding is more than a logo
An agency might have given you a price to develop a logo, a brand icon or a strapline, but these are only small components, not a comprehensive brand identity. Indeed, this is why looking at an agency’s previous work and experience is important before you go to them for a quote.
For example, if they’ve worked purely on website development or graphic design projects, then they may not have the level of expertise you need to grasp your brand and develop it effectively. Looking for agencies who’ve worked on branding projects, ideally with businesses from a variety of industries will help you tap into the expertise you need.
Good branding differentiates you
In modern business, having a target audience of ‘everyone’ isn’t really an option. Good branding helps you to strike up a meaningful relationship with the people you really want to speak to. Yes, this will mean your brand won’t suit everyone’s tastes, but that’s sort of the point.
To be better than average, stand out from your competitors and set a clear position in the market, a good brand is non-negotiable. Plus, the level of engagement and profitability you’ll experience as a result will make it more than worthwhile investing in.
Good branding last long-term
While a logo developed without any meaningful foundation will age with the times, considered brands stay true to who you are as a business. This means the best brands don’t need to reinvent themselves every few years, just evolve to more effectively align with your growing business.
This has been shown by big brands like Apple, Mercedes and Lloyds Bank. Starting with the central image of Issac Newton sitting under a tree with an apple hanging above his head, Apple took on the simple shape of this fruit with a bite taken out of it and made it iconic. This involved changing the colourways they used on the logo to put across its grown-up, forward-thinking values.
Similarly, Mercedes-Benz has stripped back its three-pointed star logo over the years to make it more suitable for the digital era. Created to symbolise the brand’s dominance over land, sea and air, in recent years, the design has become simpler and more monochrome to more accurately reflect the brand’s modernity.
Finally, over its nearly 200 years of business, the Lloyds Bank black horse emblem has seen the most significant amount of change. To help modern audiences reengage with the symbol and reemphasise its brand values of freedom, leadership and partnership, the bank has made the black horse the central character of its recent advertising and added a 3D element to its logo to bring it to life.
Good branding add real value
When you pay an agency to run a branding project, you’re not just paying for their time, but for their expertise and the value they will add to your business. This is because brands are more than a tool to help your marketing stay consistent, a good brand is your business’s voice, personality and how you will be perceived.
Your brand should tell others precisely what your business is all about. It’s your elevator pitch to explain what you stand for, what you value, what you do and how your business is different from others in the marketplace.
How does our team develop a brand
Here at our studio, we understand that a good brand is the foundation of a business. That’s why we’ve worked hard over many years to develop a thorough, in-depth and expert brand development process that’s truly worth investing in. This process has six stages, each of which is outlined below.
We start every branding project with a kick-off session including key team members of a client’s business. This is our opportunity to understand who they are, their ambitions and goals, who their target market is and who their direct competitors and trophy brands (businesses they aspire to be like) are.
Research and analysis
Next, our team take an in-depth look at the market sector the clients’ business sits within to get a thorough understanding of the trends and influences driving the industry. We also look in detail at the demographics of the target customer or consumer and run a deep dive analysis on any competitor brands using methods such as SWOT analysis, market positioning and customer or consumer questionnaires.
This phase is also where we deconstruct the client’s existing brand to understand its core elements, helping us to define which aspects of the established brand are valuable and integral to it.
Establishing brand values
Working closely with the client, this phase is where we discover and establish the core values of the business. This involves formulating a new set of core values that align with the business’s aspirations and setting out the elements which make up a business’s brand personality. All of these aspects will become the foundations for the new brand.
Here is where our team develops concepts and explores the creative boundaries of the client’s brand. Usually involving two to three presentation meetings, this is a key phase of development and refinement and involves close work with the client in order to be effective. These meetings ensure that the client is part of the creative process every step of the way, enabling us to reach a creative solution that meets their expectations and business aspirations.
Once the final concept has been developed, we scope out the different touchpoints where the brand is presented throughout the business, expanding with identity consistently across all channels. For example, we use this phase to:
• Create a brand symbol.
• Write a brand slogan or strap line.
• Develop brand tone of voice.
• Build icon sets, supporting graphics and image treatments.
• Design key brand assets such as business cards, eSignatures and marketing literature.
This phase is integral as it allows us to make sure the branding is rolled out and used consistently throughout the client’s business.
Finally, we will create a brand guidelines document that encapsulates all of the newly created assets and outlines the brand rules for how they should be used in any future application. In short, we create a comprehensive guide to explain what your brand is and how to deliver it effectively for your business to use internally and share externally for use by third parties.
We also use this phase to gather together your brand asset master files. The master files include a suite of brand logos with full CMYK, RGB and Mono designs, social media-optimised versions of the brand logo and website favicons. These are all delivered directly to the client so they have a comprehensive set of tools and rules with which to take their brand (and business) forward into the future.
Make your good brand great
Good branding is fine, but great branding is what our team provide. With our thorough brand development process, comprehensive approach and many years of expertise, we will work closely with your team to create an effective brand that’s sure to return on your investment.
Find out more about how we’ll make the most of your brand investment by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.