While I’m not really sure of exactly how the word ‘branding’ was born, I assume it came from ‘branding’ as it applies to cows. For those who’ve only seen cows in pictures or on TV – farmers heat a piece of iron that has a marking – maybe initials of the farm name – and press it onto the skin of their cows. This gives their cows an ‘identity’, and no one else can claim it to be theirs.
Today, many companies seem to follow the same principles and have a corporate identity that is just that – a representation of themselves. But, for the smart corporations, branding is all about positioning themselves as an attractive proposition to their customers. Here’s how:
This is the central part of any corporate identity. A logo is not just about some font, and a symbol. The logo speaks volumes to prospects. The colors, fonts and symbol together give a subtle signal to the subconscious. Red, for example, is the color of revolution, or a radical new idea. Since the mind already associates the red with this, a disruptive new product could well be done in red.
Fonts are critical too. Over time, fonts evolve. What’s cool today will be seen as old-fashioned by the younger generation tomorrow. Again, different kinds of fonts appeal to different age groups, geographies and people. Think Cartoon Network v/s HBO. So, not only do fonts need to appeal to the prospect, they also need to be ahead of their time. That is, the font must be so chosen, as to look cool 5 or 10 years down the line.
People are often confused as to whether there needs to be a symbol to go with the logo. The simple answer is – No. It is not necessary, so don’t use one for the sake of it. At the same time, an appropriate symbol is a great addition, and in time can be used by itself to represent the brand. Twitter, for example has a simple, yet evocative symbol. NBC’s is more abstract. And as for Google, the font itself doubles as its symbol.
These are the few words that accompany the logo, also called the slogan. They complete the logo by spelling out what the brand stands for in words. President Obama’s campaign for example, had ‘Change we can believe in’/ ‘Yes we can’ in 2008, and ‘Forward’ in 2012. Both were appropriate for their respective times, and appealed to the audience. Besides, Obama – Forward, has a nice sound.
So, the bottom line is – the baseline must be catchy, short, and spell out what the company stands for, like KFC’s ‘It’s finger lickin good.’ A call to action like Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ is also a good option. But remember, different brands have different needs. For example, IMAX has ‘Think Big.’ Volkswagen, on the other hand once had ‘Think small.’
When you’re confused about what baseline to chose, go for one that suits your brand positioning, or your future advertising pitch.
The Brand Identity
How the above two elements are put together, and how they are depicted on various paraphernalia like visiting cards, letter heads, and even marketing collateral is just as vital. The usage must be consistent and follow certain norms. These are to be specified as part of the ‘Corporate Branding’, and it’s best to have a manual with the guidelines in place. This can be passed on to marketing agencies, web designers, etc., to ensure your brand message is consistent and effective.
So, why is it critical?
Would you go to a meeting dressed shabbily? Neither should your brand. Contemporary corporate branding creates a positive impression, and makes prospects more receptive to your message. But the key here, is to team up with Corporate Branding experts who will ensure your identity is relevant, timeless and cool. That’s exactly what we do at IGM Creative Group. Our vast, in depth experience in corporate branding, redesign and rebranding makes sure your brand is on the mark for a long time ahead.
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About IGM Creative Group
IGM Creative Group provides advertising solutions, marketing strategy and web development for Fortune 500, mid-market and small businesses.
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Contact by phone at 973.709.1126
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