As a design and communication agency we play a significant role in our clients branding. Being visual and representative, our contribution is often one of the first touchpoints that a potential customer will experience of a company. And it is largely due to this that many people confuse branding with design.
We’ve also heard business people say ‘I don’t have a brand – I just run a business’ or shoppers say ‘I don’t buy brands, they’re too expensive, I go to Marks and Sparks or Uniqlo’.
A brand is more easily understood if you consider it as a company’s personality or character. If you look at the idea of a brand this way, you’ll understand that all organisations are brand owners, whether they like it or not.
As such each organisation (or individual) has a responsibility to shape their character to that which is most advantageous for achieving their objectives, which invariably fall into at least one of three categories: growth, profit and notoriety.
The tangible, quickly decipherable side of branding that graphic design represents, can persuade clients to buy your products and services, at least once. However, what transforms them into loyal customers over time is the rapport that you build with them. Your values have to equate with theirs, and like any special relationship, your efforts need to be sincere and frequent.
There is a temptation to position your company in a way that will please everyone all of the time, but as the truism goes: you’re not going to.
All successful companies understand this by focussing their brand strategy on one core character trait and then become known and appreciated for their ability to excel in this domain.
- Politeness and helpfulness (Singapore Airlines)
- Protection (Volvo)
- Militancy (Carrefour)
- Innovation (CIC, Airbus)
- Robustness (Caterpillar, North Face, Columbia)
- Reliability (Volkswagon)
- Safety (Alcoa, Anglo-American mining)
But again, you won’t engage with everyone; we all feel different about brands according to our personal experience, and this is something a brand owner cannot control.
However, as a brand owner, it’s your responsibility to influence the way people think about your brand, and you do this by taking care of each experience your customers have when they come into contact with your organisation. Every touchpoint must reflect, reinforce, and reiterate your core brand character.
Branding Consultant at Pont Bleu Communication
Daren Birchall’s career spans more than 30 years. He is a graphic designer, writer, analyst and communications strategist, marketing consultant, media buyer, production manager, and for quite some time was an advertising agent. He loves photography but his glasses bother him.