MT Expert's Ten Top Tips: Bolden up your branding

The Gap logo saga this week showed us how easy it is to go wrong with branding. Use these ten top tips to avoid the same fate.

by MT Staff
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
Gap’s distinctly wishy-washy attempt at rebranding this week underlined the necessity for an instantly recognizable brand. Its customers’ ‘passion’ (their words, not ours) for its previous logo proved that the bolder your brand, the more people will become attached to it. We asked Mark Jacks, director of branding and design agency Halo Media, for his ten top tips – so you won’t end up with customers as angry as Gap’s.

1. Put emotion over Function
The nature of the business is important, but people buy with their hearts. Remember that they have to identify with what your brand stands for. They are not just buying your product or service, they are buying your brand.
 
2. Give your brand personality
But remember the brand is bigger than you, and it should not reflect your personal tastes, unless you are the brand!
 
3. Define your brand proposition
Your brand won’t appeal to everyone but it will be more meaningful and relevant to your core target markets and aspiritors (The Halo word for those who aspire to your brand).
 
4. It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it
Words are just as important as the visual aspects of the brand, they paint vivid pictures, the impact of which should not be  underestimated.
 
5. Understand and define the one proposition your brand is making
You may have many products and services, but what it the common thread that defines your brand: size, specialism, influence?
 
6. Highlight where and how you are different
Do you attract the best staff? Are you thought leaders? Are you the cheapest?  It’s very difficult today to have a USP, but every company has its differentiators.
 
7. Ensure every touch point (website, brochure, email signature) is on brand
Vigorously scrutinise every piece of marketing collateral and communication to ensure it is projecting a consistent message that is in line with your brand values and adheres to your brand guidelines.
 
8. Make your staff brand ambassadors
Everyone from the receptionist to the sales team need to understand and project the company brand. Their attitude and behaviour towards existing and potential customers has a lasting impact, more than any marketing campaign.
 
9. A brand should evolve
Just as products are developed over time, a brand doesn’t need to always be fashionable but it does need to be relevant and treated as a valuable asset.

10. Take risks
Be brave. Stand up for what you believe, stick to your values, your objectives, your guns. If you want people to believe in the brand, the brand should be true to itself. Remember, you cannot be all things to all people, and you shouldn’t try.

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