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Last year nearly 660,000 companies were set up (Centre for Entrepreneurs, 2017) so the UK’s start-up revolution is going from strength to strength.
Figures from the Small Business Association (SBA) report that a third of new businesses fail during the first two years. And according to Investopia, one of the reasons that they fail is bad location, internet presence and marketing. For many businesses there is no high street shop front, so online presence is everything for them.
So how do we define branding?
We liken a brand to an individual – unique with no two the same. It’s your product or service’s identity and personality that says who you are and allows consumers to identify with you, want to have an association with you and feel like they connect emotionally with you.
A brand is a collection of distinguishing ideas that can include a logo, icons and symbols, statements, words and phrases that sum up and capture the essence of a place, company or entity.
The purpose of branding
Strong, recognisable branding is the foundation for building a good connection and loyalty with your consumers. It makes sure you stand out as the ‘go-to’ service, helping to give you the edge over your competitors.
Clearly defined branding creates a framework for understanding and presenting the intents and purposes of your business;
• Orderly and Consistent – well-presented and professional
• Organised and Coherent – logical and easy to understand
• Cohesive and Uniform – replicated across all touch points delivering unity
• Memorable and Recognisable – as the result of the above
Your branding connects your audience to you to create preference, loyalty and trust that will spread to others.
Ground work before brand work
But before you even start to build a foundation you need a plan of how your brand should be. Who do you want to engage with your brand, love your brand and buy your brand and tell others about it? Defining your client or consumer and how you present yourself to them is crucial in your plan.
The competition has never been hotter these days so focusing on what makes you unique, better and more appealing is key.
Creating your definition
Your brand is made up of the way it comes across visually and the way it speaks to you audience – the tone and story it tells:
Your visual identity consists of specific typography, colours, shapes, logo, graphics, icons, design assets, photography style and the people you show as representing the brand.
Your written identity is the language of your brand’s personality – how you speak to your consumers, the tone you use, your brand story, mission statement and messaging.
Brands are built through very consistent application. Your branding should be in evidence at every customer ‘touch point’ across on and offline mediums. This drives recognition and reinforces your customer’s connection because it repeatedly tells them who you are and what they can expect from you.
Developing a corporate style guide is an essential part of the process to make sure that your business communicates consistent on-brand content and messages to your audience.
The completed brand identity components are set out in a style guide manual: a collection of rules that enables an entity and its team of employees to develop communication materials from the same perspective, with a single vocabulary and a congruent tone of voice.
It acts as a robust yet flexible guide to maintain and sustain a strong identity, building integrity both internally within your business and externally to your customers and clients. Without this you may struggle to consistently deliver and maintain your distinct brand voice and story, especially when work is outsourced.
Trends influencing branding
By 2020 Generation Z are predicted to account for about 40% of all consumers so speaking their language is key. Corporate Responsibility is high on their agenda, they are looking for ethics, transparency and honesty, so this needs to be reflected in your branding.
Last year there were many innovations in marketing with artificial intelligence pushing personal engagement to a new level and a further push of AI capabilities is expected this year.
Designing for mobile will come first – we may see Google finally launching their ‘mobile-first indexing’ pushing mobile first to the top of the agenda.
Other trends include personalisation and authenticity. Consumers are expecting more than the usual sales patter, but further engagement with companies to establish a more personal relationship.
And the use of video is still on the rise with 73% of customers more likely to purchase a product or service if they can watch a video explaining it beforehand. (Animoto)
Branding development for S&C Slatter
One of our clients specialises in the construction and maintenance of professional standard artificial turf, for various sporting facilities.
They are the market leaders with expertise spanning 25 years, so their brand needed to reflect this positioning. We were challenged to look at their brand identity and how this translated across multiple platforms.
Our branding solution
Case studies are everything for this online business, so demonstrating to potential clients the amazing results their product and services achieve was key.
Therefore, the branding route we developed was visually led showcasing large stunning professional images to allow the sports pitches to confidently speak for themselves.
Alongside the photography, white space and clean lines gave the branding a fresh and cutting-edge look.
Consistency across all channels
We integrated this image-led style across every customer touch point including; the development of their website, social media content, a series of premium brochures, advertising (including pitch side panels), a bespoke presentation package plus corporate communications and stationery.
Our brand identity and integrated communications confidentially said ‘market leader’ by elegantly showcasing their expertise.
Brand development for Profeet
Profeet are orthotics experts, specialising in custom fitted sports footwear and bespoke shoe insoles.
The personal service they provide is highly technical, using state-of-the-art technology to assess many areas including foot type, gait and movement using Biomechanical analysis. The result is the right footwear created for the customer – whatever their individual needs.
Profeet are unique and our challenge was to provide a branding solution that clearly conveyed their technical service, plus different products and benefits that could translate across multiple channels.
Our branding solution
Our branding solution needed to make the complex simple, communicating the unique Profeet process and benefits clearly.
The result was delivery of branding that communicated the Profeet 3 step process of 1. Analysis 2. Insoles and 3. Footwear.
External window signage focused on large imagery to grab passing attention and highlight the ‘Profeet Fit Process’. With footwear diagrams to highlight the different areas of customisation.
In-store display signage identified product types, whilst still also reinforcing the 3-step process. This branding was further integrated across brochures, leaflets, vouchers and the Profeet website.
Is your branding the best it can be?
If you’d like to talk to us about your branding needs, call 020 8398 4663 or email the Inca team: firstname.lastname@example.org