Why is branding important?
In a highly competitive market where rivals can duplicate a service or product in a matter of weeks or months, the only competitive edge you have to offer that can’t be copied is your brand. At Avant Communication we believe in creating strong brand identities that will build mindshare – one of the strongest competitive advantages imaginable.
A brand is the one thing that you can own that nobody can take away from you. While competitors can copy your trade secrets and even your products, your brand will live on. Moreover it adds value to your business, up and above the other elements and assets that your company is comprised of. This value is called brand equity and can even be quantified. If you owned Microsoft for instance and wanted to sell it, you would begin to value the firm by looking at the assets tied to the Microsoft brand. You would identify the cost of the offices, patents, staff etc. These only make up a fraction of what you can actually sell the brand for. The value of the brand far exceeds that of the actual physical assets.
What is branding?
A brand is more than a name associated with a product or service. More clearly defined it is a combination of sentiments and impressions about image, quality, lifestyle and status. It develops a clearly defined personality in the mind of your consumers. Thus branding allows you to convince consumers that there is no product or service on the market quite like yours. But for branding to be successful, your brand has to make a promise to the customer and then uphold it. Successful branding starts with quality products and services backed by outstanding customer service. If this is not in place your hard-earned advertising spend will fall far short of achieving your sales goals.
Why is brand positioning important?
Avant Communication is extremely particular about laying a strong foundation for your brand building exercise. Before we start the journey we ensure that we have a map. First we research the needs and issues that are unique to your business and industry. Once we know the parameters we are moving in we sit down in close discussion with you to determine your vision. By aligning all our research we are able to establish the target consumers and lay down the essence, promise and personality of your brand. This provides us with an effective launch pad from where to commence the brand building process. By defining a clear blue print you are assured that every Dollar you spend on marketing communications ties back to a corporate objective and strategy. Next we help you select the most powerful benefits for your brand to own, and to develop the proof points and “reasons to believe” for those benefits.There are a number of objectives which the primary brand benefit must live up to:
- The benefit must be critically important and relevant to the target audience(s).
- Your company should have distinct, sustainable capabilities that allow you to deliver against the benefit.
- Your benefit must be unique in that your competitors are not offering the same promise and will find it hard to do so in future.
- Beyond being unique, the benefit that you choose must be engaging, motivating, comprehensible and believable.
Once the essential elements such as the target audience, brand personality and brand promise have been established, this serves as a direct input into the logo. It is later used to guide communications and other brand identity work.
Does brand building stop when the logo is complete?
No, the brand far exceeds the logo or corporate identity. As mentioned earlier a brand is a collective customer perception, ranging from their feelings about the logo and visual expression in the advertising to the customer service and ultimately the product.
As a graphic symbol, a logo is much like the national flag of a country. Citizens of that nation find great pride in their national symbol because they can relate it to their experience, history and achievements. Someone who has never seen the flag before and has no connotations to it can find it meaningless. The power of a logo is built up over time as customers interact with the brand through multiple touch points and construct a clear idea of the values and principles of the brand. This could be through the way the packaging appears on the shelf or the manner in which the call centre operator answers the phone. Perhaps it’s the way your advertising looks or the speed of your delivery.
At Avant Communication we understand that creating your logo is only one step within the entire brand building exercise. But it is an important part and that is where we will start. After having gone through the process of refining (for a new brand) or redefining your strategic positioning (for an existing brand) we begin our work.
What is your brand’s “look and feel”?
Brand expression or personality is made up of two arms: visual expression and verbal expression. During the brand building exercise Avant Communication gives special attention to mould your brand and shape it into an entity that exudes the core idea, positioning statement and attributes, both visually and verbally. The typography used in the logo, ads and brochures, along with imagery or photography style, graphic devices, colour palette, and layout conventions falls into the visual expression stream. The brand name itself, tone of voice in advertising, message portrayed and the tagline all comprise the verbal expression stream.
The logo it would seem falls into the visual expression stream, but as a unique unit it could use both verbal (your brand name and sometimes a tagline) and visual (font style, graphic or visual) elements and thus cross over both streams. Sometimes if the verbal part of the logo (the name) is strong enough it can stand alone to create a type driven logo. In many cases the name requires additional adornment and graphics to become an ownable logo.
Your brand’s guidebook
In basic terms Avant Communication will provide you with a brand guidebook that is specifically developed for your company. This guidebook will consist of two parts:1. Visual Identity Guideline
2. Brand Guideline
This is your organisation’s ultimate companion that sets out clear guidelines for anyone working on your brand. Whether they’re in your local head office or on the other side of the world, the people working on your brand will have a clear and concise guideline as to the implementation of your brand. This means that wherever your brand travels it will be consistent. Ultimately brand recognition is a key factor in securing a sale and branding consistency will offer you this.1. Visual Identity Guideline (VIG)
The VIG is a foundation document that Avant Communication will develop specifically for your brand. Contained herein will be the fundamentals on which all your communication and branding will be based for the lifespan of your brand.a) The logo and correct/incorrect usage
b) Colour palette
c) Typography and fonts (Primary and secondary)
c) Corporate and Account Stationery
The VIG is the first and one of the most important investments you’ll ever make with regards to your brand. As the official guide it will keep your brand on course and steer it towards success. Brand building is a long term exercise and your VIG will be there every step of the way. The VIGs of brands like Apple and Mercedes have served these companies for decades and will do so as long as the brands remain. This means that in terms of value for money, the VIG can be one of your most profitable investments.2. Brand Guideline
In the Brand Guideline your Visual Identity is extended to various support materials. Here you’ll find the entire collection of advertising templates, outdoor ad templates, brochure templates, photography styles, vehicle livery, promotional items and more. While your Visual Identity Guideline will serve as the backbone of your brand and stay mostly unchanged for the lifespan of your company, the Brand Guideline can be refreshed every 5 to 10 years to reflect contemporary styles and stay relevant.
Why develop a brand personality?
It’s hard not to like a person with a good personality. The same goes for a brand. Brands that carry beliefs and experiences that are favoured by the target audience tend to excel. In terms of branding, a personality assigns human characteristics to a product or service so that a prospective customer can relate to it more easily. An alluring brand personality can sell your product or service before the purchase is even made. It can also reinforce the purchase decision and build an emotional link that will tie the buyer to the brand for a long time to come. When it comes down to the final choice between two brands, a brand’s personality is often times the deciding factor for the consumer.
Why choose Avant Communication?
Avant Communication’s Brand Building service has helped companies of varied sizes to realise their brand’s growth potential and leverage it to its fullest. We want to see you company’s bottom line positively affected as much as you do. For more than 6 years we have helped our clients to improve their images, reputations and bottom lines with structured brand building.
Research shows that there are direct correlations between brand recognition and company value. Let us help you to create the positive brand experience that your consumers deserve and propel your brand to be a leader in your industry.