Keeping Your Brand Up-To-Date

Keeping Your Brand Up-To-Date

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A few weeks ago, we wrote about when is the right time to rebrand and one of the points that we raised was the length of time that your branding has been in use.

There is no rule for how long a brand remains current. For example, the Nike “Swoosh” was created in 1971 and still remains as popular and iconic 44 years later. However, this is one exception to the rule and for most companies, consumers want to see a refresh to reflect changes in their habits and attitudes.

Branding styles go in and out of fashion, just like clothing…so think, would you still wear a shellsuit from the 80s? And in the same way, would you buy from a brand that looked as out-dated?

Yesterday, one of the world’s biggest brands, Google, launched a brand-new logo, after having its previous iconic look for more than 15 years.

Keeping the same well-known colours, it has updated its look with a modern sans-serif typeface and it has been introduced using animation, which is something that the brand is well-known for on the search engine’s homepage.

An animation shows the old logo being gradually erased, and the new logo is drawn with crayons before forming into the new font. The new look is planned to be rolled out across all Google platforms gradually.

New visual identities, especially from such global companies, always attract both positive and negative feedback. But for us, as brand stylists, we can only see the positive in that the company has addressed its need to bring the logo up-to-date and create a look that is more current for a world of savvy consumers.

If you are reading this, thinking that you have a small company and keeping your branding up-to-date is less relevant, then I would advise that it is equally, if not more important. Your business growth is dependent on the retention of your current customers and the attraction of new customers, potentially from a younger, more perceptive audience.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of your branding, our brand stylists are always happy to chat.

Until next time,
Gemma

Brand vs. Logo

Brand vs. Logo

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We have touched on this subject before in our series of blogs on branding myths, but we find ourselves educating others regularly on the difference between your brand and your logo.

Your logo is not your brand, but it is a part of it.

The diagram above uses nesting dolls to try to explain what your brand, your identity and your logo are and how they all fit together.

Your brand is everything to do with your company. It is

  • Who you are
  • What you stand for
  • The products and services you offer
  • The way your staff interacts with customers
  • Your position in the market
  • Your goals & values
  • Your internal culture
  • Your personality and promise to customers

And all of these create an impression and a reputation which is what your customers think about you and how you are perceived.

Your identity sits within your brand and is the colours, fonts and styles that represent your company and how you are recognised. It is anything visual within your company such as the company’s dress code, and the styling of your office or work premises, company vehicles and marketing materials.

Your logo sits within your identity and they both sit within your brand as a whole.

Your logo is simply a quick way for people to remember and recognize you. Whether it is just text, an icon or a combination of both, your logo should be memorable and provide instant recognition.

If you’d like to discuss your brand, identity or logo, please give us a call or drop us an email and we’d love to talk to you.

Until next time,
Gemma

Developing Your Brand – What‘s in a Name?

Developing Your Brand – What‘s in a Name?

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So you’ve looked at your own branding, you’ve looked at your competitors and you’ve done some research amongst your customers to find out what they want from your brand.

Now you’ve got a strategy…so how do you go about developing your brand?

Firstly, your company name. Is it memorable, easy to say, does it have meaning? Does it allow for company growth in the future?

If your strategy is centred on offering new products or services to the same industry, in which you are well recognized, then it does not make sense to change your company name.

But if you are looking to enter new markets and the name is restrictive in this growth, then take a look at what you can do. Sometimes it might not need a complete change; perhaps you can use an abbreviation, or change what your current abbreviation stands for?

If you decide a complete name change is in order, you can retain some elements of your previous branding in the colours and fonts used in the new designs, so as not to alienate existing customers.

Secondly, look at your tagline. Does it tell your customers what you do in a simple way? It is unique? How does it differentiate you from a competitor? Does it evoke an emotional response from your customers?

There are many companies who do not have taglines and they are missing an opportunity to give customers that little bit of additional important information.

If your company name does not say what you do, then the tagline can do this job. For example:

Bob Smith Ltd.

For all your printing needs.

If you have a self-explanatory company name, then let your tagline promote your USP. For example:

Bob Smith Printing.

We deliver.

One of the best uses of a tagline is to show your customers how your product/service will benefit them. For example:

Hyphen Water.

Quench your thirst.

Finally, your short company description. This is the type of description that might sit on a web page, or on the back of a brochure, or on a social media account. Be short and succinct, but include the what, when, who, why and how of your business. And most importantly, remember who your customers are and what you want to say that will benefit them.

Overall, make sure your name, tagline and company description all fit in with your brand values, personality, vision and proposition and give a clear, consistent message.

If you need a hand with anything discussed above, we’re here to help!

Until next time,

Gemma

The Importance of Branding Research

The Importance of Branding Research

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Loughborough University’s new branding has come under deep scrutiny in the past week, with students, staff and alumni not favouring the new visual identity. Many feel that it doesn’t represent the university’s values and heritage and this has lead to the Director of Marketing and Advancement releasing a statement saying that the roll-out of the new identity will be paused to take stock and to listen to concerns.

We are not in any way implying that the agency involved with Loughborough University did not carry out research, nor are we suggesting that research can take into account every person’s opinion, but it does highlight the importance of research when creating a new or refreshed brand.

Before a major rebrand, it is essential to carry out a full brand analysis, to find out where you are now, in order to develop a strategy to show where you are going.

This can include a review of your current strategy, a SWOT analysis and a look at your target markets, customers and competitors. It is also very useful to ask a cross section of your customers, staff and other key stakeholders what they think about your current brand and what they believe are the important values to represent moving forwards.

This then enables a detailed brand strategy to be developed to point you in the right direction, specifying:

  • Your vision (what do you want to be)
  • Your brand promise (what can you offer and deliver to your customers)
  • Your brand personality (how your company should interact with customers)
  • Your market position (where you should sit amongst your competitors)
  • Your proposition (what you offer and how it benefits your customers)
  • Your brand values (how you operate internally and interact externally)

As stated above, you can never please everyone with a new look, and sometimes it just takes a bit of educating those concerned about the strategy and the reasons behind the rebrand.

It is just as important to motivate the internal audience, i.e. those within your business, as well as  your customers with your new branding. So to aid with a launch and repositioning it’s always best to involve those inside and outside your company when carrying out your research.

But all in all, when your visual identity is backed by solid research, your brand has much more substance and meaning and therefore gives you a more complete and consistent overall brand.

Brand analysis is one of our areas of expertise at Hyphen, so if you need some advice, please contact us.

Until next time,
Gemma

Branding Myths

Branding Myths

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One of the reasons that branding is such a minefield for businesses is that there are so many branding myths out there. So we thought it would be good to try to dispel some of these, to help you understand how to build a powerful brand for your business.

Myth #1: A brand is just a logo

This is probably the biggest misconception about branding. A logo is a visual representation of your company, but your brand is everything to do with your company, such as:

  • Who you are
  • What you stand for
  • The products and services you offer
  • The way your staff interacts with customers
  • What your customers think about you
  • Your position in the market
  • Your goals & values
  • Your internal culture
  • Your personality and promise to customers

Everyone and everything associated with your company should work towards the same common goals and all communications between your company and its customers should deliver consistent messages. This is the way that a brand truly becomes memorable and builds brand loyalty.

Myth #2: Branding is just for the big boys.

Many people believe branding is expensive and not worth the time or money for a small business. But they are mistaken for thinking it is not as important…all businesses start out as small entities and a good brand helps them to grow.

The word ‘branding’ is perhaps what confuses people, so based on the above point that covers what branding actually is, small businesses are encouraged to think about reputation and creating a good impression, as that is essentially what branding is.

And you don’t need a big budget to create a brand. Simply spend some time to sit down and think who you are, who your customers are and how you can offer them what them want in a way that suits you both.

Myth #3: “I don’t need a brand”

Branding is not optional. If you think you don’t need a brand, or don’t have a brand, well actually, you already have one.

Again, this comes back to the misconception that your brand is your logo. But even if you have no logo, no website, no business cards…you still have a brand, because your brand is what your customers think about you and your products or services, and what they tell their friends.

Your customers will build an impression of your company by the way you answer the phone, the way you interact in person and even by your company name. All of these things build your brand. You can either just let people think what they want to think, or you can try to control it by creating brand messages that your customers can relate to.

Myth #4: Your brand is determined by you/your company

This statement is only partly a myth, because, yes, you decide what messages to put out to your customers, but a major part of your brand is what your customers think.

Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon once said:

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room

No matter what your brand represents and no matter how much control you have over your brand as a company, you can never predict what people will say or think. And that is why you can only do so much as to define your brand. An individual will always have their own opinion on your brand and perceptions can change all the time.

As a business, you don’t own your brand…you just look after it.

Myth #5: Branding and marketing are the same

This one is simple…branding is who you are, marketing is what you do.

Your brand is who you are, what you do, your personality and your values.

Marketing is what you do to get your messages to your customers.

Your brand should be in place before any marketing is carried out…but it is your brand that will be left in a person’s mind, long after the marketing communication has left.

 

If any of the above myths have left you feeling confused about your brand and you’d like some advice, please contact us to see what we can do to help.

Until next time,
Gemma

We are hiring for a Mid-Weight Graphic Designer

We are hiring for a Mid-Weight Graphic Designer

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Update: This position has now been filled. You can however keep up to date with any future vacancies on our careers page, or you can send us your CV and portfolio and we will keep it on file for future reference.

Mid-Weight Graphic Designer

Hyphen is a lively, creative branding and design agency based in Groby, Leicester. We are looking for a seriously talented, highly experienced graphic designer with strong branding and industry knowledge to join our studio. The role available will be a full time, temporary 12 month contract for maternity cover, however a permanent contract may be offered at the end if the studio continues to grow at it’s current rate.

You will be working within our friendly and passionate team of designers and brand strategists to develop and style brands for a range of clients from a variety of industries. You’ll be an integral part of a talented team of like-minded people, whose main goal is to provide beautiful brands that are commercially savvy, strategically driven, and hand crafted.

We are looking for an exciting, stylistically adaptable and keen artistic eye with the necessary technical competence to bring a clients brief to life. This will require active involvement within creative meetings, both internally and externally with clients, managing clients expectations through the design process, and finally the ability to present your creative designs in a professional manner to clients.

You must have an exceptionally high standard of conceptual thinking, impressive design and typography skills, as well as the ability to deliver work with strong discipline. Speed and experience with managing a variety of projects simultaneously is a must. You must also have extensive knowledge of InDesign and Illustrator and a good knowledge of Photoshop. Experience with designing for online medias would be preferred, and basic HTML, CSS3 and PHP would also be beneficial, although not a necessity.

The ideal candidate will also be technically competent in finalising all designs for both online and offline requirements. Knowledge of the print process would be beneficial.

Starting salary will be up to £24,000 per annum (depending on experience and quality of applicant, at our discretion).  This salary range will not be negotiated and candidates are obligated to be aware of the salary range when applying for the position.

So do you have min 3 years experience working in a creative agency on clients rebrands and creative briefs? Are you looking to move to a small but growing team where your input really makes a difference? If so, we might be just what you’re looking for.

If this sounds like the opportunity for you, please send your CV with covering letter and examples of work to jason@yourhyphen.co.uk. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview and if successful to complete a technical design test.

Position Start Date: March 2015

Position End Date: March 2016 (TBC)