Thursday, December 11, 2008

Brand, Brand Or Brand?

Clients and agencies often use the term “brand” and it can mean different things to different parties. When seeking an agency to help with branding, please be very specific about your desired outcome before spending too much time during the evaluation period. Let’s explain the potential range of the word brand.

In some cases, clients use the term brand interchangeably with tactical media efforts (such as a logo, or corporate identity). The agency evaluates the expression of the company by nomenclature and visual dialogue. Some agencies call these visual assets “brand signals”, and not necessarily defining a brand as a company. Branding may also have a more strategic implication such as defining the promise of the company to its employees and customers via the company’s experiences, operations and product development. This requires a deft approach of identifying the past equity or desired promise, measured against consumer needs and wants.

Developing a logo can be most challenging, as many clients and internal influences have strong opinions when developing a new name and expressing it through colors and typography. Others recognize that this icon can be a game changer among their competitive set. Having an agency think and explore all options is the smartest way to get the best work – of course, the client needs to provide clear direction from all decision makers, to avoid any miscues during the creative process. Some of the best iconic brands, such as FED EX, took more than just a few weeks to develop its logo. Especially since 12 people from FED EX were part of the decision-making process. By the way, only the CEO, Mr. Fred Smith, saw the infamous hidden arrow when the logo was presented. You can read this article for the whole story.

It is a rigorous process designed to explore all options, and the client has to be bold enough to allow creativity to flourish. Think about this as you hire a firm to do your next identity assignment.

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