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Let’s talk about branding, not blanding

Cannings Purple Art Director Cameron Jones talks to Kristy Havelberg about the best way to stand out in the competitive world of branding.

Rebranding can be tricky and expensive.

Making your business stand out while keeping it aligned with your overall strategy can be tough. Getting the perfect balance between creativity and professionalism whilst also communicating effectively to your target audience is a real juggling act.

So, when it comes to branding or rebranding, there’s a lot riding on getting your colours, logos, style and visuals just right.

But branding can go horribly wrong, or at least fall flat. And it’s also a highly subjective area.

You don’t get branding by committee – you get blanding, and here’s why.

The problem lies both in the approach and the expectations, says our Art Director Cameron Jones.

The same processes business leaders might go through to refine a strategy – plenty of consultation, bringing different ideas into the mix – can sabotage the branding process.  

“You can have too many ideas on the table when you really need one or two,” says Cam.

“This leaves you trying to connect too many dots which gets messy.

“A second issue is that you can be dragged into finding a middle ground when there are strongly opposing opinions.

“As much as you might like to talk to everyone and bring them on the journey, you are better working with a small group that gives you a single target to hit. You can’t please everyone, and it doesn’t help to have the design team going around in circles.”

Cam argues small groups have a higher appetite for risk and can make a decision that represents new thinking, not just variations on safer designs.

“They often make a decision that gets greater cut through in the market,” he says.

“If you are doing everything the same as everyone else then you are not standing out or differentiating your brand. In effect, you end up paying someone to make your brand more forgettable.

“Companies which do things differently tend to have brands which are memorable, bold and successful.

“Many big companies refresh their brand quite regularly – they push ahead with an idea and then once the market catches up, they will push forward again to find something different.”

There are advantages in looking at how your competitors perform or other brands you like, but we don’t recommend following the crowd too closely.

“It can be really good to find examples of what you want but you need to understand that those logos or brands were developed with a strategy behind it,” he says.

“If your company is different, yet you are still trying to copy someone else’s look or brand, there’s likely to be a disconnect between what you do, and how you tell people you do it.”

So how do you ensure you don’t become bland when developing your brand? Here are our top tips:

1. Know who you are targeting and speak to them. Everything from the tone of your language to the look of your brand should be determined by your target audience. If your target audience is over 50, blue collar and predominantly male, I wouldn’t be making your website an interactive social hub with all kinds of widgets and bots.

2. Have a personality and tell a story. It is important to develop a personality for your brand as well as a story. This will help the consumer relate to your brand and help you build trust.

3. Develop engaging collateral. Nobody has time for boring. Do your research, see what is out there, create options and spend the money. Don’t just say ‘this works for that brand, so it will work for us’. It probably won’t. Also, think beyond just a logo and a website.

4. Add some quirks, if you can. Add a bit of humour, creativity and a point of difference if your brand personality allows it. Brands that use personality and relatability to connect on a human level yield loyal customers. Always remember, you’re dealing with people.

5. Make your presence known online. It’s easier than ever to increase your digital presence. Australian Facebook users spend 12 ½ hours a week on that platform, so if you aren’t on it as well, you’re going to struggle to capture their attention. Go where your customers and clients are, and make sure you have the branded content once you are there.

6. Get a great design team involved. Designers don’t just pick colours! It takes years of knowledge and a whole suite of programs to craft graphics, know what is effective in what medium, or understand what keywords will be most effective for you. Technical constraints and design norms are constantly changing. Don’t try and do it yourself, at best you’ll spend twice as long for an average solution. Avoid the hassle and bring your brand to life with the help of a great design team.

Cannings Purple’s design team can help you brand, rebrand, refresh or pitch something entirely new. Take a look at our design package options and let us know if you are ready for a new look.

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