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Getting brand development right

TRENDAFRiCA June 5, 2013

By Chris Human

You’re probably familiar with the age old question: ‘what’s in a name?’. Well when it comes to brand development (or brandcraft as we refer to it nowdays), the answer is – in fact – quite a bit.

The electronics category is a particularly good place to watch the value of brands in action although any supermarket shelf (or showroom floor) will provide myriad examples too. Note the difference in price between no name and named commodities.

Salesmen trip over themselves to assure us that an unrecognisable Asian TV brand comes from the same assembly line as the Japanese original, with the same warantee but at a price that’s comfortably 20% lower. At the very least we hesitate. Turns out that, in the world of brandcrafting, names (and the reputations that sit behind them) are everything.

And the trend in that department is upward. If you’re talking about making your company stand out in a cluttered media space in a period when trading conditions are still tight, then it’n not hard to see why brands mean serious business.

The problem is that brands remain the airiest, fairiest part of business. Mere mention of ”brand development” is likely to drive a CFO to the drinks cabinet. It signals money leaving with no promise of return (and with no immediately tangible outcome).

The reality is when brand development is done right, even starting on small budget, it can deliver impressive results.

In addition to standing as a mark of quality (and hence scrutiny) brands also need to stand out… stand out from competitors, cluttered media and social media environments. They need to stand for something relevant and stand by that with conviction. Finally they need to stand up on their own – a living entity around which communities can form and brand ambassadors and engagees of all kinds can champion and support.

So just what is brandcrafting?

The most basic understanding of brand would be the name, symbology, design, story, key messaging and, increasingly, the community that exists around a product or service. But it also extends beyond that and, if designed stratgically and with a specific purpose in mind, it can do much more than impress your friends, competitors and colleagues, it can also push up that bottom line.

As an example, here are 10 of the most basic considerations when it comes to successful brandcrafting:

  1. How strong is the first impression of your brand? (You’ll need to test it elsewhere for an accurate response to that one).
  2. Does it stand out sufficiently from other players in the space (competitors very much included)?
  3. Does your brand say anything compelling about your company or product attributes, its underlying principles or philosophy?
  4. Does it talk to the product or services’ direct benefits or features?
  5. Can it be linked back to an authentic and believable brand story?
  6. Does your brand look trustworthy and believable?
  7. Is it memorable?
  8. Will it stand the test of time (particularly will it keep up with technology and your company’s or range’s) own expansion path as you enter new market segments?
  9. Is it easy to search and find online?
  10. Will it make sense in all the various markets and languages your brand may be active in as it grows?

What’s more, your good name is a lot more than dreaming up a logo. When it comes to execution, you’ll need to consider many many angles. Here’s a small sampling:

  • Does your website contain all the information necessary for potential clients to want to make contact?
  • Is your website copy easy to read and SEO-optimised?
  • Is the signage on your business effective?
  • Are your email signatures uniform and information rich?
  • Is your stationary standardised?
  • Are uniformed staff doing your brand justice through their appearance and behaviour?
  • Do your premises actively reflect who you are as a top, trustworthy company and leader in your field?

You want your brand to develop as your company grows. If you’re small you start with ‘baby steps’  brand development and grow your brand as your business grows. And if brand development isn’t actually growing your bottom line, chances are you need to find another brand company because brand development that is crafted with a business strategy in mind is ultimately about that all-important bottom line.

Ultimately, if your brand represents exactly what you are and shows your passion for your business it will resonate and it will attract customers.

 

Source: Chris Human is co-founder and brand strategist at Engage Brandcraft

 

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