Branding – The art & science of creating a business’s identity
What is Branding and how does it affect my business?
Branding is the art & science of creating a business’s identity or image.
How is brand identity created?
Almost everything a business does that the public can observe becomes part of a brand’s identity. This is true to aspects of your brand that are carefully managed such as your company name and logo, and include even unplanned events such as when United Airlines beat and dragged a paying customer off one of its jets. This event has now become part of the brand. But crisis management is a topic for another day. Let’s start at the beginning for this short discussion.
Branding starts from the selection of a name for a business. Would you buy a truck called “Fabergé”? Or a computer called “Turtle”. I’m guessing not. So, the name chosen for a business should be chosen based on many factors and some of these are:
What is the actual meaning of the name if it has one? This can be particularly vexing for international companies. Famously, in 1962 Chevrolet introduced a car called Chevy Nova. While Nova means a bright star in English, unfortunately for Chevrolet it means “No Go” in Spanish. The car did miserably in Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries. Who wants to buy a NOGO car!
How does the name sound and what does it rhyme with?
Is it easy to pronounce and spell?
Is it distinct and memorable?
Is the “feeling” that hearing it evokes synonymous with the business’s personality and mission?
After deciding on a name, the next focus should be on what that name looks like. In other words, the logo.
A logo sometimes has distinctive text/font used to write a company name. A font is how a character in a typeface is rendered (shape, thickness, style). The Ebay logo is a great example of using a distinctive font and color together to create a memorable & powerful logo:
A logo can be a symbol combined with a name. Sometimes the symbol is a separate element next to the name as in the Nike Swoosh logo.
Freedom Creative Solutions has created a unique symbol which is actually the letters FCS combined & connected into a circle. Further, the 4 base colors used in printing (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black) are implemented to connect with design and printing.
The advantage with these types of logos is that over time, if the symbol is memorable, as in the Nike Swoosh or FCS logo referred to above, the symbol can be used like a stamp that can actually replace the full company name yet still evokes the same brand identity.
Fed Ex took this idea of a symbol and a name and combined it to create their very memorable and clever logo. Some people may not notice the forward facing arrow but it still evokes the feeling of moving forward whether it is immediately perceived or not:
Color & Branding:
As you can see from several of the above examples, color is key to creating a memorable & effective logo. Colors by themselves have meaning and evoke feelings.
Different cultures often ascribe different meanings to colors, so international products and services should be aware of the cultural significance of both their name and the colors used in their branding in the different countries they operate.
As an example, in the US we connect blue with calmness, white with clean, brown with dependable, orange, yellow, and red with hunger, energy, warnings/danger.
As you can see, fast food restaurants believe that orange and yellow evoke feelings of hunger.
Once the company name, logo & colors have been chosen/created, there should be an almost total devotion to consistency. While the shape of the logo (font and symbol) is easy to transmit to printers, designers, etc, the difficult part to consistently get right is the color. One printer’s version of fire engine red may look more like candy apple red or – worse yet – pink. Imagine how McDonalds would react if their billboards used the wrong red color. It wouldn’t be pretty…
So, the solution to this is the Pantone Color Matching System. Matching your color to Pantone Colors if vital to communicating your logo colors to the people that will be reproducing your logo on car wraps, printed materials, web sites, graphic designs, shirts and promotional materials.