The POWER OF series of contributor blogs brought to you by BOX UNWRAPS: This week we hear from Sikko Baltus of Hub Town City.
Almost everyone understands the value in the basic idea of some form of branding. Whether you talk about the horrific, yet cheap, budget airline experience or the “I really need this, mum!” latest Supreme sweater. People grasp the basic power of brand. Afterall, we are surrounded by billions of them since day one. But many organisations don’t go beneath the surface and see the depth of its true potential when done right.
The standard question designers usually hear goes: “Hey, I’m starting a new business and I need a logo”. Well yes, you do. But thinking you are all ready-to-go once you have a logo, will set you two steps back to begin with. It’d be foolish to ignore the juxtaposition of brand-decisions you’re in!
But there is hope; even such “foolish” logo-only mindset, could be the start of a powerful brand manifesto with millions of fans to follow. That is, if you play the ‘only-a-logo’ story smart: The single-minded proposition becomes a strategic paradox of a deeper brand identity system, capable of: inspiring the choice of a production line, supporting your team values and touching users’ nerves with minimal packaging design, for example, today and in forty years’ time.
But where to start?
What strategic approach beyond a logo will give you that head-start and open up a diverse brand identity system that covers your toolkit from corporate logo to an inviting entrance or clever PR-stunt, each in their own way? Here are some Do’s and Never-Forgets to realise the inner power of your your brand intent and branding potential:
1. Find your core brand truths in the shape of a story.
This is going to be one you’ll have to repeat often enough; keep it simple to three bullets, starting with why. A kid should understand it, so stay personal, or true to own voice, enough for it to roll of your tongue at the dawn of day or after wine o’ clock. Why are you passionate about it, how will it make us smile or what does it do best? These all enforce the trust in the voice of your brand purpose of your brand every time you share your story.
2. Don’t squeeze all your truths in your company name, logo or tagline.
A name or logo alone can’t encompass everything. “Healthy Muscle Fitness Progress” with a muscled avocado tree for a logo doesn’t spark the audience. It should carry out a singular meaning of what you stand for. The library of brand tools, such as colours, font family, tone of voice, that quirky coffee corner or 4 am training session can together accumulate your full brand experience and tell your story or express the difference you desire to make in people's’ lives.
3 Flow your brand values naturally into more complex business conversations.
Number-crunching business targets can be very (VERY!) dry for most other than that the few XCEL gurus in the back-office. So a clear brand strategy can help excite teams, tasks and daily updates; it can describe your targets, audiences, how to approach them, speak to them or name your products and explore new avenues. Turn the conversation into something to be proud of so people can resonate!
4. Never forget a brand environment is simply here to support the interaction of people.
Selling shoes, building a tech-community or a marching against Trump are equally the same; Good brands intend to transform interaction to a desired end-result for those that are part of it. It’s the empathy behind it that help us understand these emotions, commitments and decisions; the resonance makes us come together, connect, influence and make change – on some days more convincing than others – afterall we are only human. And so are our ideas, our solutions, our places and our services. Humans don’t always have to know it all, be corporate, but be human and reveal some personality; Thankfully these days, Monday-meetings are very supportive of Casual-Fridays and are still both considered ‘on brand’. We should consider it a benefit and optimise the flexibility in human side of branding.
Help to empower the human tapestry within your brand; systemise it and you will bring to life its full potential – your valuable people from CFO to conveyer-belt-pro or your eclectic marketplace from fine product display to humorous twitter-post – these collaborative voices of pride will simultaneously contribute to the strength of your complete brand culture. The ones that can manoeuvre these voices through the noise, are the most powerful. Even if it’s foolish…
Founder and Creative Director at Hub Town City is an expert in connecting brand identities with people. Having worked all over the world (currently in New York City having come from London, Sydney, Paris, started in his native Netherlands - phew!), he has had exposure to how people interact with brands, spaces and communications - externally and crucially internally too. His love of for the power of brand and understanding human nature drives his work today.
He has kindly written this article about just that.
Find out more about Sikko at www.hubtowncity.com