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Four years ago I was still working when I had a brilliant idea for a chain of launderettes given the fact that there is a large community of student who comes annually to study in our town.
I thought would make for a great business and so I pitched it to friend and investor alike until I was stopped in my tracks one day when at a meeting a potential investor asked me.
“What will you call your brand?”
It was then that I realized that when a business idea takes a life of its own and becomes an entity with many layers to itself that you begin to want to call by a name the brand name.
The subsequent exercise is called brand building here are a few pointers on how to go about it.
So what is a brand and its logo?
At a very basic level, it is a ‘practical identification mark that allows the customer to quickly distinguish one product, service or company from another. For the brand to stand out it must have unique very easily distinguishable Colours, fonts, photographic style, shape, lighting and copywriting style.
Countless businesses are begun in haste and the logo and brand of the company or product are the initials of the partners or family. JMD Foods LMG Electricals and DD fire services are a dime a dozen. They are generic and therefore do not stand out and have little or no relation to the company product or service. Besides this, there is no recall in this name for the customer as well…
Most often as you start out as an entrepreneur you get only one chance to name your company or your product and service, therefore, getting the name and logo of your brand right is as important as the business.
Name It First
So I went about looking for a name, to begin with, unlike 20 years ago when you got any name registered and were done with it.
Today you have to make sure first that the URL for your brand is not taken otherwise you may have to spend thousands to get it back. The idea when choosing a brand name is that it should stand out, signify your product or products, and have a recall.
Also given that social networking sites like Facebook and twitter are the go to for marketing your product or service you need to double check that there are no pages created with the same name as your brand and logo. This will prevent the dilution of your branding and easily allow people to find the exclusive page of your business and gather more information about it.
I’d say, first pay attention to the sound of the names you have on your list. As humans, certain sounds relate to certain emotions in our mind like for instance ‘Moo Moo’ Dairy Products have a ‘cow, milk and cheese’ association and have a ‘freshness’ association. The sound results in experiences that are likely to be liked, remembered and shared. If you can’t find a word that perfectly captures the essence of your brand, invents your own.
‘Coco Cola’, for instance, is a great sound invention.
In fact, I’d say begin by creating a mind map of the concepts and ideas, sights and sounds related to your business. Write down words phrases emotions and experiences that best describe it. Next to that draw or write down visual images that you can associate with the new company. The easier it is for the brand name to be pronounced, the better it’s recall and the name will spread easily through word-of-mouth. Also the smaller the number of words for the brand, the easier it is for the brand or logo to be remembered.
Next Answer The Question Of Who You Are
On the face of it, this may sound easy but it really defines your company in all senses of the word.
A good place to start is to set out in writing what makes you different to everybody else in the market. No matter how big or small you are, that is one question you will have to find an answer to one day and there is no better time to answer this when you are creating your brand. Let’s look at it this way when you enter the market with your brand, you have will have competitors who deliver the exact same product or service that you are offering.
At the other end, the client always expects only the best from you.
If you are in the coffee bar business he will expect the finest brewed coffee that is just right for his taste. If you are in the SEP business he will expect you to take him to No.1 in search engine results. How you leave your client feeling at the end of the experience will dictate if he will return to your brand or not. It will also dictate whether or not they will refer you to other clients as well.
The longevity of your brand is all about brand recall, so your brand and logo should be such that it communicates in a way that feels like it was intended specifically for the person reading, watching, seeing it.
In this context, it is best if you have the luxury to choose the name and logo of your brand according to its functionality. In that case, you won’t have to go about explaining your brand and what it stands for as the name already speaks for itself. You don’t need too much talking to explain what your business is about. The name and logo will do that for you if chosen wisely.
Who Is Your Client
Knowing who your potential customer is will go a long way in designing your brand and logo.
All of us as an age group, for instance, will respond to certain fonts colors and cultural signals and icons for instance. The best way to do this is to sit down with a pen and paper and list EVERY attribute your potential customer has from their age to their social status, to preferred occupation and forms of recreation.
You need to get it all down and then hit the research shelf of the library if you have the time otherwise google what brands and logos looked like in their childhood.
Say for instance your brand is a brand of trousers used by executives in their 40’s. In order for your brand logo to appeal to them the name and design of the brand should be in keeping with the designs prevalent when they were teenagers as they will buy into a familiar looking brand of the one that was a rage in their childhood.
Once you know who the social cues for your product service it will be easier for you to connect with your client and tell your story in a manner that appeals to them and this, in turn, will help sell your product easily it will also keep your clients engaged longer.
Therefore It is extremely important to have your customer’s values in mind when you design you branding and logo. For example, do the company’s ethics and the brand’s environmental credentials match those of the clients/customers of the region. This is a very important for them to relate to your brand and the values it stands for.
Next, Take It To The Market For Real
For your brand and logo to be a success it is very important to get real-time feedback on it from the market. Many an entrepreneur has gone horribly wrong because he did not carry out any field testing of his brand and logo. It is very important to understand what independent thinkers feel about the brand. Show it to writers artists, journalists, graphic designers and the public at large.
The wider the sample of those it is shown to and feedback taken, the better the ultimate brand and logo design will look and appeal.
It is very important to test your brand, logo across the peer group where this product or service is to be consumed. Today peer groups especially those on the social media are a huge influence in the purchase and use of products and services.
The other target group should be first time customer of the class and range of products and services. This is why brands should pay particular attention to first-time purchasers: they will be much more attuned to their buying experience and will be looking for reassurance that they made the right choice, to confirm their faith in the brand.
To sum it up a brand is much more than just a nice logo and design. Branding is about the total lasting impression created in the customer’s mind. It is what the customer believes about the product or service or company. For instance, the users of the Gillette Brand Shaving Systems know that the product is of a certain quality and standard. Every time the customers buy a razor blade for the Gillette assures them of all that the brand stands for, its quality, price, and its trustworthiness. It is at the end of the day all that the company stands for.