What Does your Brand Feel Like?

[fusion_builder_container background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ last=”yes” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ animation_offset=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_imageframe lightbox=”no” lightbox_image=”” style_type=”dropshadow” hover_type=”zoomout” bordercolor=”” bordersize=”0px” borderradius=”0″ stylecolor=”” align=”center” link=”” linktarget=”_self” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ animation_offset=”” hide_on_mobile=”no” class=”” id=””] [/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type=”shadow” top_margin=”” bottom_margin=”40px” sep_color=”” border_size=”” icon=”” icon_circle=”” icon_circle_color=”” width=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=””/][fusion_text][fusion_dropcap color=”” boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”6px” class=”” id=””]F[/fusion_dropcap]or individuals outside of the world of marketing, branding is the unnamed force driving split-second decision making. We often go with the brand that matches our personal preferences, whether they are aesthetic, moral, or purely economical. Branding is what translates your company’s goals into an identity you see and understand at first glance. Looking at it from the company’s side, branding is the large umbrella that influences how your clients perceive you. However, the identity of a brand is something to be developed with intention, not stumbled upon by chance. Thus, care must be taken especially when naming the company and when designing the company logo that follows.

The brand promise begins in the name.

Your name brings to mind images that consumers will experience, and will continue to experience for as long as your company is in business. If you already have a company name, you may want to jump right into the logo design process – But before you start developing ideas about imagery for logos, colors and fonts, take some time to reflect on what you will be asking a graphic designer to do. Their job is to communicate visually what your company’s essence is, but it’s a monumental task if you haven’t answered the following critical questions. Developing honest answers to the three questions below is a valuable exercise even if you already have a name selected – you may realize it isn’t as effective as it could be.

  1. What is the brand essence and purpose? Your name should tell consumers what you’re selling and what you want to communicate: the problem you are solving, and for whom. It does not have to be literal, and actually getting into metaphorical thinking will allow you more creativity in logos and other visual aspects. You can have a company name that is an invented word, let’s say “Logomatic,” as long as a tagline follows that says, “Print Shop,” or explains what the business actually is, as in the case of the Starbucks Corporation being known as Starbucks Coffee.

[fusion_tagline_box backgroundcolor=”” shadow=”yes” shadowopacity=”0.1″ border=”1px” bordercolor=”” highlightposition=”none” content_alignment=”center” link=”” linktarget=”_self” modal=”” button_size=”small” button_shape=”round” button_type=”flat” buttoncolor=”” button=”” title=”Example: How Starbucks got its name” description=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ animation_offset=”” class=”” id=””]If you try to find out what a Starbuck is, you will find that it is not an existing object but rather the name of the chief mate in the book Moby-Dick. The business originated in port city Seattle, so the owners wanted to use a seafaring theme to sell their coffee beans.   After considering “Cargo House” and “Pequod,” which is a the name of the whaling ship in Moby Dick, and deciding words beginning with “st” were powerful, the founders brainstormed a list of words beginning with “st.” This immediately put in mind the character, “Starbuck.”[/fusion_tagline_box]

  1. What is it that you want your customers to experience? Your name alone can give a first impression about what the customer can expect from your business. It can give off an air of playfulness vs. professionalism, corporate business or laid-back operations. Your customers aren’t coming to you just for the service you provide –  everything about their interaction with your company is a reflection of your branding. Do your customers feel anything at all in relation to your business? You want the sight of your branding to elicit positive feelings (that encourage spending). While Starbucks’ seemingly random name doesn’t relate to coffee immediately, the sea port connection allows the company to speak to its international nature, the fast-paced feeling of trade and commerce, and the standard for hard work its employees (you imagine sailors transporting coffee beans) are dedicated to. Thus, even this abstract name has layers of meaning behind it that allow for creative logo play and with it, strong branding.
  1. What is different from your competitors? What are some traits that humanize your brand? When developing a new company, make sure to do your due diligence and research that the name is original, legally available, and not offensive in any way to any group or individual. Using first/last names for the company name brand it as a family business (typically local), which may be your intent – but remember, in the Rio Grande Valley, there are many family businesses and some even have the same last name. Does this provide new or useful information to your customers about your business, for example, why they should choose Rodriguez Towing over Gonzalez Towing? We don’t know anything about the Rodriguez -or- Gonzalez families, other than their family nature which may give connotations of small-scale, personalized attention. However, this is an assumption, and rather than making your customers guess, give them the information you want them to have. You don’t want to start your business and potential dealings off from a point of confusion

Instead, try to “humanize” your brand by characterizing it with attributes usually used to describe people. A towing company might want its customers to know they are fair and trustworthy – going down this line of thinking, Rodriguez Towing could instead go by something like “Equal Tow Co.,” to give one example, which actually says something about the company: they tow everyone at the same rates, and can tow weight exactly as needed.

What does the brand look like?

Now that you’ve given the questions above some thought, you can accurately communicate the information about what the company means to you, your team, and customers through your branding. It needs to be communicated from the top down so employees can implement that in personal interactions. Companies that have developed brand recognition always have a strong logo as it is the main factor of your branding strategy which will result in revenue for your business. Now that you know what you’re wanting to communicate, we can start building a logo that accomplishes your goals.

A logo is a vessel that you can build your brand through.

A logo should be simple and strong enough to stand alone. It should tell a story about the organization it represents.

[fusion_tagline_box backgroundcolor=”” shadow=”yes” shadowopacity=”0.1″ border=”1px” bordercolor=”” highlightposition=”none” content_alignment=”center” link=”” linktarget=”_self” modal=”” button_size=”small” button_shape=”round” button_type=”flat” buttoncolor=”” button=”” title=”Example: Starbucks logo” description=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ animation_offset=”” class=”” id=””]The 16th century Norse woodcut of a twin-tailed mermaid, or Siren that makes up the main element of the Starbucks logo, has a connection to the sea that links it back to Moby Dick and to the ports of Seattle where such tales of fantasy would be exchanged. As a symbol, the irresistible siren is powerful – and loaded with story. As such, she has stood the test of time and over five redesigns, to the point that she is iconic enough that the wording is no longer necessary. According to the Starbucks website, their latest redesign “liberates” the Siren from the outer ring, “making her the true, welcoming face of Starbucks.”[/fusion_tagline_box]

So, how do you develop your own iconic logo? The words you came up with earlier in answer to the three branding questions are only a guide. You don’t want to pack every element into your logo. Simplicity is key, and reducing the ideas to a few simple ones will help with brand recognizability.

There are four “types” of logos.

  1. A logotype is just a font with a color, as in IKEA. However, even this is not as simple as it sounds. It needs to be distinctive. See typefaces below.
  2. A word mark is a modified font, for example adding a swoop or swirl to an existing font.
  3. A carrier is a vessel for a logotype or wordmark – a shape that holds a logotype or word mark.
  4. And a symbol is just a visual image with no lettering, like the Mac apple.

The two basic elements to a logo:

  1. Typeface: The way the letters that make up your name look depend on the font, or typeface, that you design or select. Graphic designers are experts in the language of typefaces. Each typeface or font family has a different voice, or lends a different look to the words. It is a great way to communicate a feeling. Understand the character and feel of the font and keep it in line with your brand. And be sure to keep it legible –  there’s no sense in having your brand all over town if nobody can make out what it says.
  2. Symbol: Start with black and white.  If you cannot draw your logo from memory in a few lines, you may want to consider simplifying your imagery. Keep out details like color until the logo itself is locked down, as every color represents something. According to this article, “researchers found that up to 90% of snap judgments made about products can be based on color alone (depending on the product).”

Branding is far more involved than simply a logo, but hopefully this introductory lesson on the ideas behind marketing have set you on the right track towards building a comprehensive marketing strategy. If you feel like you could use professional help or consulting to build your company’s brand in the Rio Grande Valley, consider rgVision Media.

Our Virtual Media Planner is designed to assist you in planning an advertising media buy based on the demographics of your target audience and budget. Visit https://rgvisionmedia.com/ to learn more. If you have any questions or are ready to start branding today, contact us via email at info@rgvisionmedia.com or give us a call at 210-618-8930.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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