We see brands every day. They’re like wallpaper in our lives. From the logo at the bottom of the glass you drink from to the logo on the bathroom sink you wash your hands in, they’re literally in every part of our lives. This ubiquity makes them seem banal. They’re just there, hanging out, being part of the fabric of our lives. So when it comes to creating your own brand it can seem straightforward. Make a logo, stick it where people can see it = profit, right?
Well, yes and no. Mostly no, with a little yes and a heavy serving of depends. The depends relies on you knowing where is best for your brand to place that logo, and what to say alongside it. And that depends on what you learned from the design process you went through to create the brand. The aim of that design process is in fact to create branding that helps you sell.
If you’re TL:DR-ing skip to the questions at the end.. the last one will change how you market your business. 🎣
What’s a design process and why should you care?
Let’s skip the design theory for now and see why you should even care about what I’m talking about here. It’s a long one but it’s worth it, I promise!
In 2022 we completed a project for Culinary Tales and received a wonderful testimonial from the client, here’s what they said:
“Orwell and Vila came in at the perfect moment. They inspired us with creative concepts that made us think out of the box. They guided us throughout the brand development process, from start to end. We realised that understanding our brand was key to understanding how our business can be successful.
As a result of their work we got exactly what we wanted – a smart, beautiful and unique branding that reflects our vision and expectations.”
Now I’m not just showing you this to boast (though we did blush when we received it 😊), but the content gets to the heart of why you should care about how your branding is created. Look again at what they said, I’ve pulled out the importants bits:
“They guided us throughout the brand development process.
We realised that understanding our brand was key to understanding how our business can be successful.
As a result of their work we got exactly what we wanted”
Done well, the branding process will help you and your designer understand your brand so they can give you the branding your brand needs. It will make you think about your brand in a way that you’ve never thought about it before. It will be filled with ah-ha! moments that open your mind to the possibilities of what you can achieve. And that leads to a happy client!
Volkswagen, a brand positioning masterclass
Before developing your branding, your designers will try to understand your audience, it’s one of the key parts of any design process. Many new businesses don’t have a solid grasp of who will buy from them. When asked who their target audience is, true newbies (trubies?) say everyone who.. everyone who needs our service, everyone who likes what we make. But that, dear reader is never true.
Volkswagen Group own eight of the biggest car brands in the world. VW, Seat, Skoda, Cupra, Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and Porsche. Their cars and brands are set up so they never compete with each other. Each brand and each car within those brands has a specific target audience with specific needs and a specific budget. It would be ridiculous for any of these brands to say their audience is anyone who needs a car..
VW have amassed decades of customer research that help them make their branding and marketing decisions. Some stuff is easy.. they know the person buying a Bentley isn’t buying a Skoda for daily life. But they’re also smart.. they know there are people who have their eyes on the Porsche 911 but don’t have the budget, so for them there’s the Audi Sportbacks or the VW R-Series.
When you know why what your audience wants and needs, you can give it to them. Your branding helps you do that by presenting your offer in a way that appeals to that them. Understanding how you can use your brand to show people how you give them what they want makes your marketing decisions so much easier.
Instead of saying what should this advert look like? How should we say this? What style should we go for? You would say, our brand it like this, and our audience like that, therefore this is how our advert should look to appeal to them. This is what we’d say and the language we’d use to connect with them.
Death metal bands don’t have a five hour conversation to decide the colour theme for their branding (unless they’re Party Canon), they know what they like and they know what their audience wants.. it’s black.
But most audiences and most brands aren’t that straightforward. You need knowledge! And, as far as branding is concerned, that knowledge only comes from working through a solid process.
Let us help you: Steal our process
Customers are the hardest part to understand, so here’s a section from our branding process that will help you better understand them..
Thinking about your main customers, finish these sentences
They buy from us because… They need what we sell is not a good answer! People buy a lighbulb because they want to be able to see what they’re cooking, they want a dry toilet seat or they want a warm glow in which to woo their new beau.
So think about the outcome they’re looking for not the thing they’re buying.
We help them…
A similar question asked in a slightly different way.. We do this a lot in our brand questionnaire. Everyone’s brain works differently so approaching a question from a new angle can help unstick the mind.
They choose us over the competition because…
Why you? Why you?
Are you cheaper? Better quality product? Do they just like your vibe? Think back to the car example.. why an Audi over a Seat? What is it the person is getting by buying from you instead of your competitor?
Unless you’re Zappos you’re not allowed to say you offer a better service.. be less basic dah-ling!
If they didn’t buy from us, they would…
This one’s a thinker! The answer will change the way you see your business.
If you didn’t exist, how would your customers change their behaviour? If you had never spoken to them and convinced them of the advantages of working with you, would they have ever met someone like you?
For many businesses, the answer to this question is nothing. If they didn’t buy from you they’d do nothing..
People don’t move towards pleasure, they move away from pain. People will happily deal with a slightly shitty situation rather than putting in the effort to make it better. The calculation is, managing the issue is less painful than paying to fix it.
If you’re one of these businesses, you’re in luck! Your audience knows less abut their problem and the solutions available to them than you do. You’re not competing with a wide market of potential options, you’re competing with your customer’s apathy. Now that’s a different game all together!
The aim of a branding design process is to create branding that helps you sell. Branding that sells does three things, it suits your brand personality, reflects your values and appeals to your audience.
By working through a solid process you better understand what your brand needs to be, what it should look like, sounds like (taste like?) in order to get the right people buying from you.
I’ll be honest, you might not understand why you’re doing the things your designers are asking of you, but trust them, trust the process and you’ll learn lessons that will help make you money for the lifetime of your brand.
And if you find that they just don’t get you, drop us a message 😉