Monday, August 27, 2007

Branding. What is it?


A brand is the consumer’s anticipation for a unique and defined experience, or for a certain unique benefit obtainable solely through consuming/owning a specific product/service manufactured/ offered by a specific company. A familiar name or logo - do not suffice to make for a strong brand.

Why do you need branding?

Branding makes the company. It separates you from the crowd and makes you stand out. It defines the uniqueness of your services and products. It informs people who you are, quickly. It is how you are perceived by others.

For these reasons you need to protect our identity and work to make it strong. To protect your identity you need to make sure you're consistent in what you produce, in how you use your logo and how you talk about the company as a whole. To make it strong, you need to make sure you have a unified look and feel, and are sending out the same message, whether it is in an email, a memo, a phone call, a client visit or an event.

What are the benefits to me?

Branding helps you become unified and inspired by a common sense of purpose and identity. It brings you together and aims your company at a common goal and helps you to identify with each other, to find a common ground where none may exist. Every associate is key in building a brand image through their verbal and written communications, execution of business processes or business development efforts.

You are the organization. You are the ambassadors of the company as you meet and interact with colleagues, customers, suppliers, competitors and industry experts. As well as interacting with a number of people totally disconnected to the corporation in the form of family members, friends, former colleagues and many others.

What are the benefits to the company?

The benefits for a company are many. It helps to differentiate your company from others. Branding helps to create added-value to the products and services you market and it helps to maintain customer relationships to prosper in a competitive and changing global market.

Branding also creates a unified look which helps to create a positive perception about your company in the minds of your associates, customers and prospects, leading to increased new business and stronger client relationships.

The cornerstone to a strong brand is consistency in…

  • Graphics Standards
  • Written and Oral Communication Standards
  • Business Cards & Stationary Standards
  • Endorsement of Image Attributes
  • Strong, Simple and Consistent Messages
  • Internal Branding

Today, brand building no longer constitutes a mere manipulation of the consumer’s perceptions and desires, but it is a creation of a system that on the one-hand makes promises and arouses anticipations, while on the other-hand it delivers and realizes the promises that it makes.

– Dan Herman, PhD, owner and CEO of Herman – Strategic Consultants

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


The design process... Is there a set standard? Do you have to follow XYZ? No. Each designer needs to find their own process that works for them.

I think there are three main types of designers. There are the “sketchers”, the “thinker” and the “technophile.” The “sketcher” will draw copious amounts of thumbnails and work through each on paper until they find a few they like. The “thinker” will let the ideas gestate in their mind and do a lot of processing before they sit down and layout a design. The “technophile” will sit at the computer and play with ideas until they all fall into place.

All of these are valid ways to solve design problems and each way works for different designers. Most designers I know, myself included use a combination of each of these ways depending on the project. Some projects I hear and “BAM!” I have an idea. I sit down at the computer and work it out and refine it. Other projects I’ll think about and throw ideas around in my head until I settle on one and create it. Others I have no idea what to do so I’ll start to draw and do word association to try to get the ideas flowing.

I have found lately that I will get a project think about it, sketch out some ideas and than sit down at the computer and play with them until they look like I think they should.

The process is just as important as the end product as it gives you ideas. You may not be able to use the ideas on the current project but you may find a use for them later on.

Here is an example from my sketchbook of the idea I used to create the 838 wine label.

It looks kind of like the final product but you can see some of the ideas I threw around in my head.
Whatever your process is use it and try some of the others to expand your mind.