AKA The common sense (most cost effective) approach to creating a great start-up product or service Brand.
To create a great start-up product brand you need to think about more than branded packaging, website, signage and the interior design of the shops. This is all massively important but there’s a stage that comes before it – creating the actual Brand itself!
Strong brands have fans rather than customers. People become aware of them and what they stand for without ever looking for them.
If there is one thing to aim for in creating a brand it is surely this. But how to go about it?
Strong brands are not just about overt statement. They are actually far more potent when based on word-of-mouth. That is
to say, when they become ‘discoveries’. And particularly when those discoveries become ‘destinations’. Where your customers become fans… and go on to become evangelists on your behalf. They then start telling their friends and, well, you can start to grasp the positive impact that that can have on your business.
Keep this in mind.
1. BRAND VISION: STAND FOR SOMETHING
It all starts with a very big idea… a cunning plan… an ideology. Fundamentally, and I can’t stress this enough, you must have a very clear view of what you stand for and what you want to achieve.
An easy way of thinking about this is as “what you want to be famous for”.
2. BRAND VALUES: ACT CONSISTENTLY
This is about how you act as you go about achieving your vision. You’ll need three or four statements that become guiding principles for how you operate. No more, no less.
Brand values are also an excellent way of checking if something feels right for your business. They will inform not only what you do in terms of marketing, but also the way your whole business operates. For example, selecting new staff… because you can realistically start to ask “does this person embody our values?”
3. BRAND TONE: THINK ABOUT HOW YOU COME ACROSS.
Very few brands leap out of the wallpaper of commercial life to penetrate our defenses. The ones that do generally feel like they connect at a visceral level, but it is actually more scientific than that. It is fundamentally about personality. In fact, whilst identity is the most visible aspect of a brand, it is personality that is arguably its most pervasive.
It forms the basis for how you come across in written, verbal and non-verbal communications. Your brand’s personality will drive its tone-of-voice, which in turn will be articulated through the language that you use. Which, if you pitch it right, will zing directly to the heart of the people that you want to connect with.
4. BRAND IDENTITY: LOOK AMAZING.
Your brand’s identity is the most immediately tangible aspect of your brand. But whilst the man in the street tends to think of logo as ‘brand’ there are actually a whole array of other potential assets within our visual armory. This is good news because these days most names, icons, colours have been done before in some format or other. The trick is how we use each of these constituent elements in relation to each other to energize our brand’s own particular DNA.
In purely quantitative terms we can list our potential identity armory as logotype; primary, secondary and tertiary fonts; colourways; iconography and style of photography. The second aspect is more qualitative – how we use them in relation to each other. We tend to refer to this as the brand’s graphic identity system.
When it comes to creating a powerful brand there is no silver bullet but get these four elements right and you’ll be travelling a long way in the right direction.
Paul Thwaites is an ex international brand consultancy director who now runs Zut Alors – a small, hot-shop brand creation consultancy that specialises in the foodie and artisanal sector.
Paul has lectured on the pragmatic approach to creating a brand at Oxford University and City of London University.
Zut Alors provide an end to end brand creation service from brand definition and identity through to designing packaging and interiors.
Featured: Our brand creation work for PLAANK, nitenite Cityrooms, SuperSmoo-V, Bagboard, Pilcro