Brand Identity …do you really need it?

What is branding and why you really need it

Also read: Branding for Authors in the Self Publishing Industry

First, lets explain what BRANDING is:

A brand is the identity of a specific product, service, or business.  A brand can take many forms, including a name, term, design, sign, symbol, color or any other feature that identifies one seller’s product or service as to distinct from other sellers.

Initially, branding was adopted to differentiate one person’s cattle from another by means of a distinctive symbol burned into the animal’s skin with a hot iron stamp, and was subsequently used in business, marketing and advertising.

A modern example of a brand:

Branding Coca Cola Race Point

Coca-Cola Company

So, why do you need a brand?

In todays rapid growing marketplace, being able to explain and market the specific value of you, your brand, product or service effectively, is an important step in order to achieve success.  So, let’s explore how we can achieve success:

  1. How do you rate success for your business? By being Profitable.
  2. What do you need in order to achieve it? Paying Customers.
  3. How do you reach your customers? By Advertising.
  4. What do you advertise?  Your Product.
  5. What does your product packaging say about you? This is YOUR BRAND.

So, what DOES your brand say about you?  Does it convey YOUR message accurately?

If you can answer yes to both of these questions, you are ready to begin advertising your product.  How and where to advertise your product is determined by who your target audience is.

To determine Your Target Audience, ask yourself  “Who will use this product? Who needs it? Who will buy it?”  Once you have established who Your Target Audience is, you will easily be able to plan your advertising campaign.  If for instance your target audience are golf players.  Think about venues golf players use.  Websites they often visit, places they go to play, shops they frequent to purchase equipment and gear, online forums, clubs and so forth.  In short, hone in on your target audience’s habits, this is where you will find the most reward for your advertising efforts.  However, be sure YOUR BRAND is a true representation of YOU and YOUR business message, before you begin advertising.

Let’s explore branding further

Can you guess which brand this next logo belongs to?

Apple Branding Race-Point Anita B. Carroll

It is called “The Newton Crest,” and it was the first Apple logo (Yes, THE Apple computers. The makers of the top ranking mobile devices such as iPhone, iPad, iPod and not to mention their superior product line in both portable computers and desktops.) The Newton Crest was designed in 1976 by Ronald Wayne, sometimes referred to as the third co-founder of Apple. The logo depicts Isaac Newton sitting under a tree, an apple dangling precipitously above his head.  The phrase on the outside border reads:

Newton… A Mind Forever Voyaging Through Strange Seas of Thought … Alone.

Do you think it conveys Apple’s message effectively and accurately?

Steve Forbes, the editor-in-chief of business magazine Forbes, President and chief executive officer of its publisher, Forbes, Inc. once said:

Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.

So, when Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, commissioned graphic designer Rob Janoff to re-design the Newton Crest logo only a year later to this:

branding apple race-point anita b carroll

Do you think Steve Jobs made an important business investment?

Brand Versatility

When designing your brand identity, it is important to think of its versatility.  In other words think about what the logo will look like on your product, store front, website, promotional items, marketing and ad campaigns.  When Steve Jobs made the decision to change the Newton Crest, the brilliance was not only that he recognized it needed a make-over, but what he changed it to.  Not only can the Apple logo effectively be applied on practically anything for both online and print publications without loosing its identity and quality when re-sized, but also when we go back in history we can see how effectively they have used it to market new products, by simply changing its color.

The Apple logo through history illstration Anita B Carroll Race-Point.com

Fun facts about the Apple logo

According to Janoff, the “bite” in the Apple logo was originally implemented so that people would know that it represented an apple, and not a tomato. It also lent itself to a nerdy play on words (bite/byte), a fitting reference for a tech company. As for the rainbow stripes of the logo, Steve Jobs is rumored to have insisted on using a colorful logo as a means to “humanize” the company.  Janoff has said that there was no rhyme or reason behind the placement of the colors themselves, noting that he wanted to have green at the top “because that’s where the leaf was.”

So, what do you think, do you need a brand?

Please don’t hesitate to contact me at: anita@race-point.com or feel free to fill out the form below to discuss your design needs:

Post written by: Anita B. Carroll, Visual Designer and Founder of Race-Point.com

Sources used:
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brand
Edible Apple: http://www.edibleapple.com/2009/04/20/the-evolution-and-history-of-the-apple-logo/
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