We caught up with Spindogs Director, Daniel Lewis, for some top tips on building a brand from the ground up. With more than 15 years’ experience as a brand strategist, he is well placed to share why branding is central to business success!
Why is a brand strategy important?
Brands are integral in today’s consumer society and are used to market everything from products and services to people, whether that’s urban footwear that appeals to an individuals sense of rebellion like Dr Martens or pop culture icons like Kim Kardashian. A brand, however, is more than a product or service. It represents the unique identity and values that define a business, organisation or individual. It is a promise to consistently deliver that experience every time the customer connects with them, forming lifelong relationships. Whether it’s a logo, choice of office furniture or the way you answer the phone to customers, everything contributes to the perception of your business and its values, which is why it’s important to get it right with a successful brand strategy.
Where should you start?
When undertaking a brand project with our clients, we start by learning as much as we can about their organisation, the people within it, the services or products they offer and who their audience are to uncover and understand what makes them unique. We typically give internal and external stakeholders a platform to openly communicate their thoughts about the organisation, its story and what sets it apart from competitors. By looking for common threads, reading between the lines and joining the dots, we come up with a unifying brand strategy document that encapsulates the big idea, core purpose and tone of voice. The process is no different if you’re conducting the process internally, but the biggest challenge for senior stakeholders is separating themselves from their brand and taking an unbiased and realistic view. A third-party facilitator ensures you don’t dominate the process and will get genuine responses from your stakeholders!
How important is getting the brand name right?
A brand name is an important element of brand identity, but it’s not the be all and end all. Choosing a memorable name is always preferable, but make sure it resonates and says something to your audience. A successful brand naming strategy is a fine balance. You need to believe in it 100% otherwise you won’t fully commit to living and breathing the brand you build alongside it. Remember to think big – would a FTSE 100 or Silicon Valley giant consider nondescript or generic naming conventions? Think PlumbNation as opposed to ABC Plumbing. Start by defining your ‘Big Idea’, the reason for your existence, and identify the values that underpin your organisation. Your name should simply become an extension of that.
What’s the relationship between logo design and branding?
It’s important to understand that your brand is more than just a logo. You can have a strong brand without a particularly memorable logo. A successful brand strategy provides a recognisable experience for staff and customers alike; it’s the way you run a meeting, the way in which you go about your business and how your staff live and breathe the culture. A logo is a manifestation of all the things that make you unique, but a brand runs deeper than this. A logo without a unique brand proposition will look like window dressing and lack the authenticity to grow roots with your audiences.
What questions should you ask before embarking on the brand creation process?
1. What is our reason for existing? Consider it abstractly. A house builder does not exist to simply build houses, they exist to give people a happy home.
2. Why are we unique?
3. What is our personality? Is it reflected in our materials (website, brochure, logo, etc.)? Is it reflected in the way we do business and the way we work with each other? Be honest!
4. Why do customers come back to us?
5. Why do our team like working here?
6. Have we documented and articulated our brand in a way that is easily understood by staff and customers?
With these tips and key considerations from Dan, you should be set up to start creating a powerful brand identity! If you’d like to read our dedicated white paper on Creating a Brand with Impact, you can do so via this link here.
And finally, if you’d like some help with your brand process, why not get in touch below? We’d love to hear from you!