During the lifetime of your business (from inception to global domination) the brand may go through several modifications. Its first incarnation was probably hurriedly sketched out along with an inexpensive set of business cards. That was probably long before you ever heard of the term ‘Branding’.
However, as your business grows you may decide to take a closer look at branding. And the more customers you acquire the more sensitive you could become about your own brand and what messages it’s delivering. This is when many companies move into the realms of Aspirational brands.
It’s time to graduate from the hurriedly devised effort brainstormed on the kitchen table to engaging the services of a specialist brand agency.
Now a good agency takes an approach that introduces additional elements such as the language of colour, fonts and customer focussed messages. They look at the beliefs that underpin your company ethos. This is real in depth stuff. We are talking high church. A branding expert will take you on a journey, which can be a revelation. And sometimes it can result in the total renaissance of your business.
When considering graphics for example, to be fair, a designer does need some inspiration. They might commence with some research into other similar brands and check out your competition.
They may even start with an idea borrowed from another brand, but eventually this will evolve into a matchless design without equal. The one and only of its kind. Or so you’d think…
But are all brands really THAT original?
An agency’s remit is to create something distinctive based on an in depth analysis of you and your business.
Your brand should be a reflection of what you stand for; a combination of specific ingredients, which creates the perfect loaf, baked just for you.
Now a strongly defined brand helps consumers identify very easily with your business. It communicates the right messages. It speaks their language, instantaneously. It should be so powerful, that they don’t even blink when they see it. They get it.
But occasionally during the branding design process, mistakes are made. Particularly if an agency designs a brand which is almost identical to another one! Here are two examples. Can you spot the difference?
Amazingly the brand on the left was created by Pyxis Media Ltd in 2009 for a business consultancy firm based in Ipswich, while the one on the right was created in 2011 for a PR and brand reputation agency also based in Ipswich.
Imagine if you’d paid an agency a lot of money to rebrand your business, thinking what they’d created for you was completely unique, when in fact it wasn’t?
This can cause confusion within the market place and dilutes your brand. People might assume you’re both part of the same company! You may even find yourself having to explain the discrepancy. Which all detracts from what you’re brand should be doing. Promoting you!
Take another example
The logo on the left was designed by the London agency Milton Smith Ltd in 1989 as a rebrand for the UK confectioners Rowntree Macintosh PLC, who had recently been acquired by Swiss confectioners Nestle. While the one on the right is a recent rebrand of an Ipswich based solicitors.
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But in the world of branding, sameness is the kiss of death.
So when you go in search of an agency to rebrand your business – here are several things to consider before you sign on the dotted line…
- Ask to see examples of their work
- Make sure your agency does their homework and thoroughly researches your competition
- Ensure that they base your brand on an indepth understanding of your business
- Be aware that a one size fits all approach doesn’t work and causes confusion
- Get 3 x quotes before you decide who is best for you
- What questions are they asking you – do these questions convince you that they are designing a brand based around you and what you stand for? What do you think? Does being totally original really matter?