Many companies and designers think that branding and identity begins and ends with a logo, but there is much more to branding than simply creating a pretty logo.
The whole point of building an identity or brand is to build trust with a client and create a connection with current and prospective consumers. You can create a pretty logo all day, but if you don’t make a connection with your audience, then the whole effort is for nothing.
One of the best ways to make a connection is to use the company’s unique selling proposition to help promote themselves. The unique selling proposition is either a service, product, prospect, or an aspect of the company that makes it different than any other company or competitor out there. Does your client provide better customer service than anyone else? Are they cheaper than anyone else on the market? Does your client sell a patented product that makes everyone’s life much easier? Are they dependable, honest, or do they have some other valuable quality that really separates them from the competition?
A good example is to make a list of companies and to do a little word association with their name. When you think of McDonald’s, what is the first word that comes to mind? What about Kentucky Fried Chicken? Walmart? Best Buy? Target? Mercedes? Like it or not, they image that they portray becomes logged into our memory and categorized as either cheap honest, quality, expensive, delicious, etc. Their branding system has given us an impression and when we are looking for something in that category, they want their name to be the first thing that you think of.
Carrying out that message is what we are here to do. We are here to help solidify that impression, or in some cases, if a company has developed a bad image, it is our place to implement a plan and a system in order to gradually change the consumer’s perception about a company.
The first company that comes to mind is BP. Before 2000, BP was always thought of as a petroleum empire. They were thought of as oil titans, and that they were major players in the oil trade. They were rebranded as Beyond Petroleum, still keeping the BP insignia, but they were given a floral, or helios symbol to give the company a more green appeal. They expanded into other areas of energy, such as solar power, and even redid many of their stores in order to become more energy efficient. All of this effort went in to make them out to be a pillar of energy sources, and being green. One thing for all companies to remember is that if you are going to rebrand, you have to back up the image that you are trying to portray in all aspects.
BP ended up causing the Gulf oil spill due to cutting corners where they shouldn’t have. They had spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to make themselves look like an environmentally friendly company, and in one accident has tarnished their name indefinitely. It is going to take a lot of time and money, and they still may never regain the impression of being green that they once had.