The business world as experienced today is in great contrast to what it was few decades ago, but it is not so with brand and branding. At the core of success in business has been the marketing practice named “Branding.”
To perceive a great logo or an excellent logo design as the mainstay of a brand’s boom will be a major bias. Believe me, an awesome logo design cannot be substituted with anything.
Excelling brands like Nike and Apple are engraved in our minds by their outstandingly simple but exquisite logos. But there are other intrinsic things other than their great logos that has kept them blazing paths in their industries.
The “swoosh” and “partly eaten apple” are not the heights of Nike and Apple, those were preceded by a value proposition. There was a “Why” a desire to make a difference.
The Place of “Why” in Brand Success
Before any brand will grow wings and fly into the sky of success, it must start from a strong desire to create an impact. Before I will think of a brand name, a logo design or a branding strategy there must be a reason for starting that course. For a brand to hit the ground running it must be powered by a gallant passion to make a mark. That gallant passion comes from answering the question of why.
To furnish the importance of having a “why” answered for a brand to succeed is a story of two parties on a common course.
At the end of the nineteenth century, Samuel Pierpont Langley, a Physicist, Astronomer, Professor of Mathematics, the Inventor of the Bolometer and the secretary of the Smithsonian institution had a grant of $50 000 for a project.
In Dayton, Ohio were two brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright working on the same project as Langley. I am certain you know it’s the story of the flying machine by now. The Wrights had no grant, no fame, no political support, no qualification as none of them or any of their team had a college education but their “why” was enough to motivate them to become a brand of success. The Wright brothers set out to change the world with a flying machine and it is such sense of reason that animates a logo to become a symbol of reckon.
Before the swoosh became the Nike logo of repute, there was a “shoe dog” passion in the minds of Phil Knight and Bowerman. Both Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs had a strong desire to create the personal computer far before the Apple logo was birthed.
Just like a light bulb is worth nothing without the electricity, such is the case of a good logo design without a strong spirit to innervate it.
What is a Brand and Branding, Anyway?
There is always a danger of over simplification when we look at common definitions given to brand. Wikipedia for instance defined a brand as a name, term, design, logo or any other features that identifies one seller’s good or services as distinct from those of other sellers.
If you ask me, I will say a brand is a combination of all those features mentioned. Brand can be said to be a wholesome term that defines identity or the image a company or product portrays to the public. Just like the instance of Apple, quality, innovativeness, class, durability and brilliance are things that come to mind when the brand is mentioned. Those things did not just come from the logo design or the elements of the logo, it’s more than that.
Branding is the actual actions taken to create the image and identity, the impression that the company or product have on the public. Branding is a journey that begins from the “why” like I’ve stated earlier. The following are the key elements of branding:
• Brand identity
• Brand strategy
• Brand Image
• Brand value
• Brand trust
Brand Logo and Logo Design
The logo design coupled with the brand name are at the fore in the eyes of the public in representing a brand. These two combined with color bedrock the brand design and it’s identity. A logo design incorporates color, images, symbol, texts to form a distinct mark. As much as a logo must convey a strong message of the brand, it must be simple, unique and outstanding.
The brilliance and elegance of the popularly exquisite logos today depicts the immense amount of thoughts that went into their designs. There must be a theme, a message the logo is representing. The swoosh of Nike was born out of a sense to convey motion. That was the major dealing of Nike then – sport shoes.
When we talk of strategy, the words of Abraham Lincoln comes to mind. He said: “give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe” Brand strategy is the road map, the master plan for the brand to come to life.
The whole of the branding elements are coordinated into actions by the brand strategy. It’s like a war plan, it highlights the course of action. As a summary, brand strategy takes into account the following points:
• Brand purpose
• Target audience
• Brand positioning
• Brand value
• Brand voice
• Brand personality.
All these are ingredients that should be critically considered in building a brand strategy. Marketing, Advertising, Employee involvement are all part of a brand strategy.
It is a broad concept that is key to the relevance of a brand. Having a good brand strategy goes beyond the few bullet points I’ve stated, it is a whole lot of work that involves research and key decision making. This subject is worth a blog post and more, a whole book published should be able to justify the topic to a large extent.
A Brand is a Composite Entity
Like every organism is a combination of several parts, systems and functionalities – such it is for a brand.
The coming to life of a brand begins first in the mind of the owner most times with a sense of purpose. Every step coming after the purpose will be easy considerably because there is a reason already.
This is followed up with several activities that can range from having a name, choosing colors, getting a logo designed, putting forward an image the brand will reflect, deciding on strategies for the brand to be in the market and several other steps.
Every part that forms the whole of a brand must be given great consideration in terms of quality. One should never be seen as superior in importance to the other. Like negligible bits of crystals can units to form a giant mass, so will quality in each brand elements combine to form an outstanding brand.