The journey of branding is not an easy one. While it's true that most businesses are able to get their brand off the ground with relative ease, there still remains this tedious process which oftentimes leaves many companies feeling frustrated and giving up before they even start!
No, brands do not arrive on the beak of a stork, nor do they grow in laboratories. Brands get the life we give them and are made out of some hours of market analysis and intense work in partnership with the client. But before all this process starts, we need a briefing. The briefing is everything that is asked of the agency and the most important starting point. It is a kind of guide that will help us stay on course.
The briefing must include, in detail, the goals that the client has for his brand. Not rarely, the client doesn't know exactly what he wants, and it's up to us, Vitamina, to help them find what that might be. In this phase, we must be in accordance with timings, budget, how the client's business works, the target audience the brand wants to reach and who knows even the personal preferences of our client.
The success of a brand often depends on how different it is from the competition. Sometimes the product is nothing new, but what will make it unique is the way we communicate it. And this is all part of the branding process. Before we start, we have to look at the "supermarket shelf" and understand where our product/service is going to be. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the competition helps us identify the challenge and point of differentiation of our brand.
After all this is identified, we look again at our target audience and we will scrutinize what they have to tell us: what do the people who are going to buy our brand like? What do they do? What do they identify with? Where do they live? What is their lifestyle? How old are they? What desires do they have? What do they aspire to be... and so many other questions can be asked, depending on the complexity of our offering. It is also a good practice to look at examples and references of what our brand wants to become. We all have an idol in music. What about brands? Who is/will be our idol brand?
The third phase is the so-called "introspection time". Have you ever thought how nice it would be if, before we were born, someone gave us the opportunity to define exactly what we want to be? In the world of branding, this is possible and helps a lot in the definition of brand identity.
At Vitamina, we follow the framework suggested by Simon Sinek in his TED Talk "Start with Why". The Golden Circle model is an inspiring way to challenge the tax and find the essence of brands.
It translates into three levels of perception, with different goals, which in the end will complete each other. The "Why", the "How" and the "What". In essence, our purpose, our process, and the result.
If you think of a simple example, namely Nike, you can easily understand the importance of these three points.
Why: Nike's main purpose is to overcome the limits of the human being through sports.
How: To do this, it develops high performance technological solutions for a very specific result.
What: Sportswear that helps us overcome more and more challenges. This is a super interesting exercise to do at home with other well-known brands like Coca-Cola, Apple, Adidas, etc. A successful brand must have an authentic purpose. After all, this is where its true essence is found!
In a fourth phase, it is necessary to define the pillars that will guide our brand now and, who knows, for all time. And here comes the Mission, Vision, Brand Personality, and Positioning. This all sounds far-fetched, but if the work in the previous point has been done well, defining these four points is easy! In short, having a Mission is fundamental and goes far beyond the ultimate goal of the business which, we all know, will always be to sell. The Mission is like an extra motivation when things go less well and should be remembered and shared by all the people involved in the company's business. The Vision is the ultimate goal. It is the maximum distance we want to go and should be translated into a simple sentence.
Finally, the brand has its own personality that must be reflected in the main element, the logo, but not only. It must be reflected in all communication supports. So let's go back to the initial point of this article: comparing brands to people. There are all kinds of people. There are the shy ones, the brave and rebellious ones. There are the mysterious ones and the funny ones. What personality will our brand have?
This will also be the key moment to define what message we want to convey: brand positioning is the place that the brand occupies, before the competition and in the consumer's mind. It is the result of our essence, our pillars, and our personality that we want to keep always present. And the more differentiating it is, the better!
What a long branding process it is! Finally, the logo. This is the most important element of our brand and the one that will convey all of the above points simply and clearly. The logo is the most visible element and the one that will distinguish us from all the competition. In visual terms, the logo must be perceptible, and adaptable to the different media where the brand will live, it must be differentiating and unique. And finally, in terms of chromatic amplitude and shapes, the logo must transmit all the work that was previously defined for the brand.
Excited? Let's start a new branding process together!
Covid has accelerated the growth of the internet. Cloud-based software, services, and solutions are now a staple in our personal and professional life.
Still, many companies, especially B2B ones, have lagged behind due to a series of reasons. They relied heavily on in-person events and personal networking to communicate products and services.
The new paradigm shows that it is also possible to effectively communicate using the internet and acquire new clients even in the most traditional B2B sectors.
To accomplish that, companies should take a deep look into their marketing strategies and assess their brand recognition in order to understand if they’re up to the challenge.
Based on our collective experience at Vitamina. these are some of the main obstacles that brands need to tackle.
Is your logo readable? Is it easy to use on your social media properties? Is it accompanied by unnecessary text like slogans and other mottos?
In many cases, companies do not have a logo book that defines the logo usage including horizontal and vertical or positive and negative versions.
The absence of a coherent framework to use a brand’s logo is a major obstacle to building a coherent presence in the digital world.
Solution: Update your brand and design a logo book.
Having a logo manual is quintessential for you and others to properly use your brand but in many cases, that’s not enough. Modern brands also rely on accurate brand books.
This is a document that defines the brand's universe and besides the logo, it gives guidance about your brand tone of voice, iconography, illustrations, colors, typography, and many other visual and conceptual elements.
It’s very hard to build a website from scratch without this document as it increases the number of interactions between client and agency, making the process less effective and therefore more costly in time… and money.
Solution: Make the creation of a brand book a priority.
It’s nearly impossible to build a modern website without quality content, namely images, illustrations, and video.
The alternative is to use stock photography but that carries a series of potential problems, being the most obvious to display the same images as your competitors on your website, for instance.
In order to build a cracking institutional website, you should have photos and videos of:
Solution: Commission the production of video and photography of your people, facilities, and products.
Vitamina. can help you build a world class brand: be it to redesign your logo, manage your social media properties, define a proper strategy to acquire new clients, or build a lightning fast responsive website. Give us a call.
Written by: Sérgio Abreu