For the first time ever, we decided to host a PDG+bootcamp: an exclusive, eight-week course that will give your marketing representative a crash course in branding, design, marketing and more. If you couldn’t make the course, we have good news! Not only will we have additional cohorts this year, we’ll highlight the major lessons from each week here on our blog. Lesson 1 was all about the brand.
Think about your favorite company. It can be a restaurant, clothing store, car manufacturer, entertainment group. When you think about them, as a company, what is one of the first images that pops into your mind?
We’ll go first. We’re big coffee drinkers, so we frequent Starbucks. (Yes, we know, it’s cheaper to make our own, but c’mon.) When you think of Starbucks, what image pops into your mind? Maybe it’s a product (looking at you, pumpkin spice latte) but you also probably see their trademark logo on a sea green background. Maybe you’ve never stopped to ponder what their logo is — it’s a combination of the siren and mermaid, sometimes called a melusine — but you definitely recognize it when you see it.
We don’t usually look at a logo or a business and consciously think, “That is a cool logo therefore I would like to shop there.” We do, however, unconsciously choose things that stand out to us. So, as a brand, you want to stand out. Our first lesson gives great detail on how to do that. Here are the highlights:
Communicate with your audience. A key part of your brand is your logo. Poorly designed or irrelevant logos will communicate that your organization is either sloppy or out of touch with its audience. An overly generic logo can even make you look untrustworthy. Your logo is your organization’s introduction to your target market. Think of it like a visual handshake when a customer walks in the door. You only get one chance to make that first impression. Your logo should answer three questions: Who you are, what you do and what you value most.
Build up your brand equity. The effectiveness of a logo is dependent on brand equity. Some things build in value the longer you own them. So do brands. But, just like a house or a classic car, you have to take good care of your brand for it’s equity to build. Prime examples for brands are Nike, Apple and Coca-Cola. They are three of the most recognizable brands in the world, but that didn’t happen in a day or even a month. You build up brand equity with frequent exposure, rigid consistency and time
Your brand is more than your logo. It’s your logo, color pallet, typography, really anything associated with your organization’s identity. You have to choose your branding elements and stick with them. Consistent use of all of those items together is essential to building up your brand’s recognition.
Defend your brand. You need to come up with specific brand guidelines, and become a fierce defender of your brand. Any abuse or misuse of your brand needs to be taken seriously and promptly corrected.
Anything with your name on it is your brand. Period. That means it reflects on you and your organization. You want to take pride in every representation. Use high-quality design, photos and printing to sell yourself as a top-notch, professional organization. In the end, presentation is everything.
And that’s a wrap on Lesson 1. Stay tuned for Lesson 2: Marketing vs. Advertising.
Want to learn more? Try ordering a copy of “Isn’t” our in-house guide to branding and marketing, available here.