No matter what industry you’re in, you probably hear about “brands” and “branding” all the time. And it’s true that they’re important to just about every business under the sun. But beyond logos on sneakers and emblems on cars…what is it exactly? Everybody talks brand, but how many of them can tell you what they mean by it?
What is a brand?
A brand is not simply your logo. It’s the sum total of all of the experiences, impressions, and knowledge a person has about your product, service, or company and is as much, or more, about the perceived emotional and functional benefits as the actual benefits or attributes of your product or service.
If you’re in business and have customers, you have a brand, even if you’re not actively defining and shaping it.
What is its value?
Brands help consumers choose you from a bewildering array of options. They reassure customers about the quality of your product or service. They encourage potential customers to identify with you and trust you, and repeat customers to be loyal and believe in your superiority.
Brands make it easier for customers to buy and for your employees to sell or deliver consistent, high quality service; as well as build your reputation, public awareness, and company value over time.
Who creates it?
Actually, you do. Through the value and service you and your employees provide on a daily basis. Even with a great logo, a bad service experience or poor product performance impacts your brand every time.
A good brand strategist and brand identity designer knows they can’t fabricate a great brand. It has to grow from inside a company. What they can do is help the company discover, articulate, and creatively express the brand. And give you the tools to influence and manage it.
What is branding?
Branding is simply the process of being intentional and strategic about shaping the experience people have with your company; about taking every opportunity to express who you are, what makes you unique, and what value you offer. It includes researching and articulating what you stand for, expressing it tangibly (“brand identity,” that’s where logos come in), creating a long term strategy and guidelines, and then managing the daily interactions and touch points that customers have with your company in all their many forms.
When is rebranding advised?
It’s not just about being tired of the old logo. Here are some of the top reasons or events that might prompt a rebrand:
- When the “clothes don’t fit” anymore (your value proposition, offerings and look no longer jive with your function and purpose)
- When introducing a new product or entering a new market
- When changing your name (for any of a number of reasons)
- When you do not present a consistent image to customers
- When you’re not attracting customers
- When you’re attracting the wrong kind of customers
- When you’re not well positioned in relationship to your competitors
- When you’ve grown organically without an overall plan
- When you’ve become irrelevant, old fashioned, or stagnant
- When there is a significant change in management (philosophy, leadership, organizational function) or a new strategic partnership
- When there is a significant change of direction (vision, expansion, merger, globalization, fast-changing environment with fierce competition)
- When your market or category is being redefined around you
- When preparing to introduce a new business plan, raise capital, or position for a sale, merger, or acquisition
- When you are relocating, building a new facility, or introducing a new initiative, website, fleet, signage program, etc.
- When you have reached a major milestone as a company or are celebrating a significant anniversary
- When you need to create a common sense of renewed purpose (your pride and confidence, staff morale and buy-in, attracting great talent, etc.)
- When you’re embarrassed to give out your card or send people to your website
What does it cost to rebrand?
It’s a good question, but a little like asking how much it costs to build a house. The variables of size, quality, materials, location, etc. make a fixed sticker price impractical. Our process and creative product is usually customized to the needs of the company, and the size and type of clients vary, but most would expect to invest $25,000-$50,000 on strategy and brand identity development. Clients with multiple sites or a lot of physical implementations (signs, fleets, print collateral, etc.) could invest much more simply in execution costs, so it’s a good idea to inventory needs ahead of time.
Where do I start?
A Brand Audit is frequently a good place to start, especially if you want to explore the idea and scope of rebranding, but are undecided about your need or timing.
Our Half-Day Brand Lab is also a great way to gain some insight and a hands-on critique of your current branding and communications in a low-key, interactive setting.
Or if you know you’re ready to rebrand, call 503.961.5516 today to discuss your unique needs and to schedule a consultation.