What is a Brand?
Your brand is what people think about you. It sounds simple and in many ways it is, but there is a lot to unpack from that statement. The first thing to understand is that your brand is not something you control directly, it’s something you build up by being doing the same things consistently over time, in fact the closest word to ‘brand’ in the English language is ‘reputation’ and because of this your brand is the single most valuable asset your business will ever have.
What is Brand Development?
Because brand is rooted in public perception every single interaction your business engages in shapes your brand, not just the customer-facing interactions but every time anyone is aware of your existence. When someone looks at a vehicle with your logo on it, part of their brain will check the make of the vehicle, the colour, how clean it is and and will form a snap judgement of your business. When someone says to their friend “That’s nice, where did you get it?” and the reply is “I got it from ACME – the delivery was a nightmare but I’ve ordered two more anyway” they start to form an idea of who you are.
Your business will have a vision of the future, a mission to accomplish and values that guide how you do it. Often these are formalised in a Vision Statement, Mission Statement and Values Statement, although they don’t necessarily have to be. Successful brands tend to be the ones that know their vision, mission and values and live them daily through how they operate.
Brand development is the process of defining what you want your brand to be and aligning with it. This is something of an art as it involves both figuring out your vision, mission and values and also how you are going to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
What is Visual Identity?
Because brands are built upon consistency over time, it’s important that all communication supports the brand. The most obvious part of visual identity is the logo, but colour, typography, photography, illustration and materials can all play a part. One of our favourite rebrandings of the last ten years has to be Forsman & Bodenfors’ reimagining of Oatly, taking it from chorus singer to prima donna of the milk-alternative world with a strong voice and in-your-face personality, supported by visuals, illustrations and typography that were instantly recognisable. As well as making the company noticable, the new identity still communicates the healthy and organic values that had been at the heart of the company for the previous 20 years.
Our Approach to Brand Development
We are firm believers that once you know what the company is about, everything else will follow. When a client has a strong vision for the company we can help them explore how to position themselves in the marketplace, but for clients who haven’t quite defined that vision we can help them get crystal-clear before looking at how they communicate it.