Over the years I’ve branded everything from food products to financial services and more, and come to a couple of important conclusions:
Brand and branding are different.
I can design branding – more accurately called identity – that spells out the qualities a company would like to stand for: the kinds of customers/clients it wants to attract. The benefits it promises.
I can use color, image, typography, symbol, even music to build a personality that attracts some folks and repels others. Even if there aren’t really tangible products, those elements combine to package the organization itself.
The brand is a result, of months or years of life in the world – customer relationships, quick blips of exposure in the news, for good deeds or ill, impressions formed in casual conversations – with you, with friends, about you, about your people or products.
None of that is about packaging or symbols – though those impressions have some influence. Instead, brand-building is about priorities and people, and how well you do the work of keeping them together, moving forward on the same path.
Even for startups, branding – identity, or the packaging of the organization – is a worthy investment.
Remember that a minute ago we were saying that part of the job of identity design is to attract some people and repel others. Another part – huge, in my view – is justifying your pricing. There’s a reason you charge what you do, that comes straight out of the value other clients have realized when they made the most of what you offer. Perhaps their income has gone up, or they’ve saved big on what had been a cripplng expense. Maybe their personal relationships are better, or they’re having more fun than they used to. Maybe they won Fantqsy Football, or finally beat that one player at the tennis club who’d been giving them fits.