Monday, May 3, 2010

“Clothes” do not make the brand

Your brand is so much more than a logo and visuals-it’s the complete personality of a product or company. So when you’re shaping that personality, you need to bring in your creative team right from the start. Otherwise it’s like asking them to mold the character of a child who’s ready for college. At that point all they can do is dress that teenager in appropriate clothes, send it out on the market, and hope for the best. Bring your creative team in early and they can help inform strategic decisions along the way. It’s vital for a consistent and effective brand strategy.

A Client Case Study:
Case in point is Indigo Identityware—a new brand created around a revolutionary software product that manages user logons and passwords within security-sensitive environments. The main selling point is, in a nutshell, simplicity. Much simpler for the user, and simpler for the organization to implement and maintain—with significant security and cost savings, too.

The new product/brand needed to define its uniqueness in a crowded marketplace. One of the key things the design/writing team can do is to be an advocate for the external audience. It was difficult for the client to step outside the techno-speak and create messages that were easy for their customers to understand—and to address the needs of both IT professionals and the decision-makers who would make the purchase. Not an easy gap to bridge. Simplicity was the essence of their product and simplifying their message was critical. We were able to drive this point home early in the process.

Finding a name was also a significant obstacle—the client needed one that projects both innovation and security. An exciting, memorable name was needed, too. The final choice, Indigo met their goals on a number of levels. The name was easy to remember, yet had multiple layers of meaning. The underlying message is that Indigo’s behind-the-scenes sophistication simply makes life easier—an identity we then developed through all of their collateral to launch their brand.

By tackling this part of the branding process early, Indigo was able to project an image of innovation and stability that was in keeping with who they are as a company, and set the stage for aggressive market penetration. Laying this foundation—this personality—early helps companies jumpstart their entry into the marketplace with their branding solidly in place.
Join in the discussion on brand development at MN AMA’s event on May 11—Design and Creativity in Brand Development: Much More Than a Logo.

Linda Henneman is Creative Principal at ThinkDesign Group, an award-winning strategic design firm in Minneapolis, MN. Without think, it’s just design.

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1 comment:

Sabera said...

This post really resonates with me, Linda. When I worked as a Media Planner in Mumbai, India, I often came across instances where the brand message could be so much more vibrant if Media worked with the creative team to produce meaningful innovations that appealed in just the right way with the audience.

I saw one brand do it really well. Hindustan Times (HT), a leading media company was launching an English newspaper in India and was competing with The Times of India (TOI), which had a huge circulation. HT did something that no other newspaper brand had attempted. They made their message, the medium. Huge outdoor hoardings personified their brand message, expensive print collateral was sent out to individual homes in certain neighborhoods. It was a phenomenal success in terms of building brand awareness and differentiation with TOI. All this because the creative team was made a part of branding discussions right from the beginning.

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