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Struggling to shape a memorable brand? Start with strategy

07/02/18

The world is overflowing with stuff. Insurance, roadways, running shoes, theatre shows. And much of it looks and sounds the same.

That’s because a memorable brand is made of more than a distinct brandmark or colour, even McDonalds yellow or Australia Post red.

Standout brands grow out of great ideas that show on every customer touchpoint. Brand experience, tone of voice, corporate materials, welcome messages, infographics, corporate interiors and even sales closes. The sum of those parts is your brand.

For us, creating a memorable brand starts with thorough immersion to uncover what’s different about this offer. Then we explore ways of expressing that across all the senses – not just the brand’s visual appearance.

The four processes shown below represent long hours of teamwork, so be prepared to invest several weeks before you can launch your infinitely more memorable brand.

Delve deep to find uniqueness

Uncovering what makes your brand different from the rest takes much workshopping and probing. This bit is also fun and inspiring. It includes researching the field, exploring customer personas, talking to scores of people and peppering our studio wall with reference clips.

The goal isn’t to end up with something recklessly different, but to uncover a refreshing way for customers to experience that service category.

You don’t want a wine label that looks like tomato sauce, or a finance firm with a tone so irreverent it undermines trust. Think more the way Optus pitches itself as the enjoyable communications offering (‘Yes’), while competitor Telstra is always coolly authoritative.

Articulate the brand personality

Next, we’ll put our most important thoughts into writing. A tight two-pager with beautiful crisp clear words that express the brand experience.

Look at the world’s most powerful brands and you’ll agree their brand personality emanates from every word, even among competitors. The empowerment angle of Nike against the everyday hero tone of Adidas. The exuberant individualism of Spotify versus the proud ruler characteristic of Apple Music.

Get in the habit of stopping to observe a brand’s language, and you’ll be inspired by what’s out there.

 

Build on the experience

During the ideation stages, we’ll be thinking about where your customers might have a more memorable experience. We’ve already test-driven your vehicles, mystery-shopped your supermarket brand or visited your competitors during our immersion stage. (Or looked at any other ways customers might engage with you). So our creative development will include ways of enhancing that experience at each of those steps.

These early visuals we develop will be very true to your brand. The warm, personable customer experience at Orana Car and Truck Rentals (as opposed to practical and clinical) is what drove our positioning and brand development, because that’s what customers will notice at any point. Without these true characteristics, we wouldn’t have got the friendly wordmark, welcoming interiors, chatty website and other materials we’ve since created.

Match that sentiment with visuals

Finally we can put all those steps together and present a first round of creative.

Some of design elements will be logic-based: deliberately swaying the user through particular colours, proportions, layering or details. It’s not colour-by-numbers, but we can’t ignore classic design principles if we want to steer emotions in specific directions.

Then there are the magical bits – the unexpected design touches that haven’t been done before in that sector. Elements that reflect where society is at, but without being blanket trends (like the sea of crest logos and gradient graphics we’re seeing).

We’ll explore that last bit more in our next post on creating memorable brands, so come check back then.

 


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