In the rush to market, to get on the shelves or get the website live, the opportunity to create a coherent brand identity can get trampled in the stampede. The reason, at least in terms of budgeting, is that it’s often considered only after budget allocations for the product, packaging, distributor, developers and everyone else drains the watering hole dry. It’s not that the brand is the weakest in the herd. On the contrary, if nurtured from the beginning and allowed to develop, your brand will be the stronger asset, lasting longer than any of the above and you don’t quite get that same opportunity to develop it in the same way again.
The Genie Effect
Therefore, it’s important for the start-up to envisage the brand in its totality and not just as a logo, which is a common presumption and results in its budgeting shortfall. A logo might encapsulate all that the brand stands for, particularly when we think of the large global brand successes, but you should take into account that these logos have been infused with the values, vision and personality of the brand itself over a sustained period of time. So if your logo is to become a magic lamp brimming with brand meaning, you will need to get the genie into it first. And that’s the real brand.
The Magic Inside
It might be a little disingenuous to call it ‘magic’. A large portion of the process of creating your brand is to primarily understand it, which is often just common sense (no magic necessary), but its something that brand consultants like us help our clients discover in themselves, quite often to their own surprise. And why is it so important? Because a brand is a complexity of visual and verbal cues, acting subliminally to inform the audience of who you are, what you do, what you stand for or how you go about your business. It’s in the words, the actions, the colours used, graphic styles and messages that will be consistently communicated during all interactions and across all mediums, culminating in that little reminder that is your logo.
A trip into Abercrombie & Fitch would be an hour well spent and a case in point for those about to embark on brand development. Like many ‘top of the class’ brands you can immediately see that there is more to the brand than the logo and more driving brand loyalty than product quality. Brands like these know who they are and have a tone of voice consistently delivered in visual and verbal cues, both on and offline, that fits their audience and rewards them for their loyalty by meeting their expectations again and again. The scale of brands like these aside, the fundamentals are the same and all brands should consider how a total brand experience can be effected within their realm.
A start-up, devoid of any preconceptions, legacy or baggage that can burden a company rebranding, has a once-only opportunity to truly get to grips with all the elements of the brand, discover who they are and create a meaningful brand identity with multiple facets that culminates in a logo rather being just a logo. It’s an investment best made at the start rather than down the road because, as I’m sure you’ll appreciate, it’s more difficult to discuss the foundations after the house has been built.