So often people refer to a logo, a company name, or maybe even their uniform as their brand. They are correct that these elements do indeed form a part of their brand, but they are merely scratching the surface of what a brand should be. This intangible asset has been imperative in business for as long as we can historically trace. It is the differentiation of your product versus other competing products in the marketplace. The word "brand" derives from the Old Norse word "brandr" meaning 'to burn'. Brandr comes from the practice of owners or producers burning their mark (or brand) onto their products (or cattle).
The effect of a complete and well-constructed brand produces a seemingly inexplicable magnetism that draws the browsing consumer. To take an example that everyone can relate to: You walk into a supermarket, and there are ten bottles of still mineral water on the shelf in front of you. Almost without hesitation, you go straight for a particular product. So what draws you to that specific bottle? Do you happen to know that it tastes better? Is it much cheaper? Next time you are in this situation (and you will be faced with a similar scenario every day), ask yourself why you are making that particular consumer choice. If it isn't the product itself then it is most likely the brand, or both.
In this example, any number of brand factors could influence your decision. Perhaps the shape of the bottle appeals to you? Maybe you find the logo pleasing. Is the label one that is familiar to you? Does the product's tagline instill confidence? Are you attracted by the colours used on the packaging? Or is it possible that there are elements at work that make subliminal connections to prompt your decision-making process?
It is this depth of user-engagement that makes the best brands more compelling. A sound understanding of your clients, your own business objectives, ethos and personality are criteria that form only part of the foundations that must be established before you even address the question of name or logo for your company. It is easy enough to come up with a snappy business name and stylish logo but when just these two elements stand alone, they will compare poorly alongside a business with the advantages of a carefully researched full-brand image.
Can you imagine a world without branding? Picture yourself walking into a shopping mall where all the outlets have a white fascia with black, standardised lettering saying 'SHOP'. Where would you begin? You need to know what kind of shop it is, what it sells, what kind of custom it aims at, the price range. All these questions would be flooding through your head, but there would be no feedback whatsoever. Thankfully we live in a world where retail outlets, businesses and merchandise are branded, and upon walking into a shopping mall we are immediately surrounded by all the information we need.
Brands are powerful, and as consumers we are becoming increasingly brand-aware. In a world where commercial competition is growing fiercely, and business owners are taking a more savvy approach to their marketing and advertising strategies, it is unthinkable to neglect the opportunity of having strong brand development.