Branding – some thoughts

Branding is not what I do, as it’s not the same as graphic design, so I would rather leave that to the professionals! But I always sigh when I hear of how some companies have had the wool pulled over their eyes regarding branding.

One lady asked at a networking forum for ideas of how her firm could receive more recognition. They were just a step below the most popular companies yet were of the same callibre.

The first thing, which nothing could be done about, is the name of her firm, which was longwinded because it changed accordingly to its location, but the most recognisable and consistent element consisted of initials within a very boring design. I asked if her firm had a strapline – to which the answer was in the negative. What had they got that was memorable? If you consider all the companies we can remember, it’s either a clever logo, a personality associated with it, images like a nodding dog or very pink ladies, or a catchy strapline, in either 3, 5 or 7 words, that succinctly describes the product or service.

The alternative to a strapline is to get the representatives noticed when out networking – making them stand out with their personalities, networking pitch, information attack, incentive and gift presentations, colour of uniforms, or whatever.

The lady’s firm had recently hired a branding company to raise up their image, which resulted in a large advert in a relevant national newspaper (at great expense) and adverts placed on the sides of taxis. I wilted inside, as I expected the wording on that newspaper advert was probably inadequately stressed towards gaining publicity – banging on about their features and how brilliant they are, whereas they should have concentrated on their benefits for their customers, offering a solution to their pain to help them towards a better life. The taxi idea was a complete farce, as who has the ability to recognise a boring logo (and no strapline) on a fast-moving vehicle, or even bother to absorb it during a traffic-jam.

Recognition is gaining relationships, creating memorable images and straplines, getting brilliant PR in the relevant press, publicising all the benefits your company has with stories of how they have helped your customers – I’m sure there are lots more, but they certainly don’t include fancy ads and taxi-paint!

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