Loughborough University’s Branding Journey

Loughborough University’s Branding Journey

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Loughborough University’s Branding Journey

In April, we posted a blog about the new branding that had been released by Loughborough University. At that time, the new branding had been met with significant opposition by staff, students and alumni, as they felt it had lost the heritage and values of the brand.

The rollout of the branding was paused, so that the concerns could be addressed and today has seen the unveiling of another proposed brand identity for the university.

The new logo uses a simplified version of the university’s coat of arms, which is what was felt was missing from the previous design, as that is what really emphasies the heritage of the university. The symbols used in the logo have been taken from the coat of arms and the marketing team at the university will be expanding on the history and significance of these in further marketing messages.

Following positive feedback, this new logo is due to be rolled out shortly.

Here is a section of our previous blog, which shows the importance of carrying out a brand audit and research prior to developing a new corporate identity…

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)

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

The Importance of Your Printed Materials Matching Your Brand Style

The Importance of Your Printed Materials Matching Your Brand Style

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The Importance of Your Printed Materials Matching Your Brand Style

To create and maintain a strong, professional image in the eyes of customers, all aspects of your branding must reflect your brand style, right down to the type of paper you choose.

I spend a lot of my time working with clients and making sure that their printed material matches their brand. However it does amaze me, when I’m at networking events, trade shows or looking at direct mail, that there are still so many organisations that get this wrong.

It is pretty simple, if you are selling an upmarket and exclusive service or product, your printed items should match this, both in design and materials. Just think of it from your target audience’s perspective; they see that you are selling this great service but the business cards, brochures or folders you are using are low quality and the design is poor. Why would they choose you? If your competitors have professionally designed materials and high quality print that represents a quality product or service, it is likely that they will go with the option that gives the best impression, as customers will believe that that company can deliver.

The same concept applies to the low-end market. If your print looks expensive then you could make the target audience feel that you are selling items at a higher price than they are worth. This doesn’t mean the print has to look poor quality but it shouldn’t look expensive. There is a difference.

Think how your brand values relate to your printed promotional materials. If you are in recycling, then you should be using recycled materials. If you are a creative company that thinks outside of the box, then have a creative design and use non-standard print items to reflect what you do.  You can apply this same principle to any organisation.

Using Hyphen as an example, we promise our customers a handcrafted approach, so our print uses a craft card style to represent our branding.

Golden rule – If you ever catch yourself apologising for your printed items, then you know you have got it wrong and need to go back and look at how you can reflect your branding in your printing choices.

If you would like advice on your printed materials, then please contact me.

Until next time,
Jason

 

What’s Your Story?

What’s Your Story?

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What’s Your Story?

Today we have a guest blog from our Creative Director, Jenni Cabrelli. Jenni is currently on maternity leave but likes to keep in touch with what’s going on in the Hyphen studio and stay up-to-date on branding and design trends.

 

We often tell clients that crafting a brand is like writing a story. Whenever you see a website, product packaging or an advertisement, it’s like going on a date. You look at the brand and decide whether you like it, and want to continue seeing it. If the brand delivers on their promise, you start to make an emotional, lasting connection.

No matter how old your business, every one has a story. The faces behind a company will have had a reason for that business, whether they were fulfilling a market need or simply had passion for the products they sell. Design and branding are important ways for us to communicate those stories to our consumers.

Let’s look at our own story here at Hyphen. Some of you will remember a couple of years back we rebranded from printing.com to Hyphen. Whilst our main service was portrayed as print, our entire team is made up of highly skilled creatives who are passionate about design and we were failing to communicate this strength with the printing.com branding. We wanted to take a new direction for the business and shout about how great we were about helping our clients brand reach their customers.

The name Hyphen was a word that perfectly fit this new direction. A hyphen is a link, or a connection between two things. For us at Hyphen, we are the link between a brand and its consumer. This also gave birth to our strap line, ‘making connections by design’.

So how do you tell your story? To start with you need to get the foundations in place with the right research and strategy. Take a look at who your competitors are, what is your USP, your overall brand vision and what do you want your brand to promise you will deliver for your customers? You can take a look at Gemma’s previous blog on getting your strategy right to learn more on this. Once the foundations are right you can style the brand and create how it looks. In this current age, we have the luxury that there are some incredible mediums available; interactive and digital, print, video, social media, advertising, packaging, you name it, the possibilities are endless. No matter how many of the mediums you use though, all need to tie back to the brand’s original strategy and direction, and communicate your story effectively to the right audience.

So is your brand communicating your story effectively? Give our brand stylists a call, and we would love to hear your brand story and discuss how you could turn that into a lasting connection with your customers.

Until next time,
Jenni

Keeping Your Brand Up-To-Date

Keeping Your Brand Up-To-Date

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Keeping Your Brand Up-To-Date

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 shell suit 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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Brand vs. Logo

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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Developing Your Brand – What‘s in a Name?

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