Everyone likes to think they’re different, but take out obvious differentiators such as price and you’ll see your business exists in a market up against competitors who – on paper at least – ostensibly offer the same thing you do.
So how do you stand out? What makes you truly different and how to you put that across? The answer is often complex, to do with your business’ history, it’s way of doing things, the certifications it has achieved, the clients it has worked with, the innovations it has developed, the processes it has adopted – the list can be endless.
But that story is too long to tell. Sure, you can write something beautiful for your website’s About Us page, but there’s a long customer journey involved before your target audience even gets that far. So the story needs to be told without reams of words – it needs to be told with your brand.
What is a brand?
A lot of people will think ‘brand’ means logo, or company name, or perhaps use of font or colour scheme. On the surface that might be accurate. But the real essence of a brand lives in what people think – what they feel – when they see that logo or that colour scheme.
Naturally that feeling can’t be generated in isolation. To create that magical reaction the brand has to meansomething, and that’s where all your other marketing and business practices come in. The quality of your product or your service, the way you treat your customers, the professionalism of your marketing collateral, the frequency and engagement of your social media activity – they’ll all build positive associations with your brand and the who will start to feed each other and become synonymous.
So for a brand to take on that meta-story, that level of information embedded within it, it’s important for it to be consistent. As a business you need to decide on how you want to be perceived and actually live it, not just say it. That’s your story, that’s who you truly are, and that’s what your brand will come to express.
In some ways it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy – the more you tell people about the business you want to be, the more likely that is to sink in throughout the company and become the reality. So make sure your brand reaches far; be aspirational.
More than a logo
So the basics of your logo – its colour, font, style, use of white space, addition of graphics etc – is not your brand, it’s the banner-carrier for your brand. It’s the recognisable face of your brand.
Naturally, the more closely it’s visual design matches that story, the more appropriate it is for what you want to say, the easier and smoother that process will be. If you’re selling a high-end financial service your logo might need to look more staid than a business providing vinyl wraps for supercars – but at the same time there’s scope for some subversion as a way of helping you stand out.
The important thing to realise is that you don’t have to go through this process alone. Even if you don’t have a business or brand name yet, or if you want to shake up what you already have, Horizon’s marketing and graphic design team can coach you throughout the process, presenting a series of styles to help you narrow down to the one visual theme that truly tells your story.