Brand before Branding

Why you need to think about your brand before creating your branding

Your brand is the story you tell and the connection you have with your customer. Define this first and powerful branding will follow.

Think your brand and your branding are the same thing, right? Wrong.

This is a mistake that many start-ups and small business make. They go out and get a logo designed before they have thought about the brand that logo needs to represent.

Brand versus Branding

Your ‘brand’ and your ‘branding’ are two very different things.

Your brand isn’t the nice logo and pretty colours that the term is often, incorrectly, associated with. A brand is about creating a personality for your business.

Your brand is the DNA of your business. It should be present in everything you do. From your logo to the way you answer the phone. From the stories you tell on your website, in brochures and social media posts, to how you deal with an inquiry or complaint.

Your branding, on the other hand, is the visual side of creating a brand. This includes the logo, colours, typefaces and imagery your brand uses to tell your story. Branding is everything you do that your customers will see.

Your branding needs to complement your brand. That’s why thinking about your brand first is so important.

Let’s get emotional

People make decisions using the emotional part of the brain. You can give them loads of rational reasons why they should do something, but if you haven’t ‘connected’ with them, they may dismiss these for some unexplainable reason.

But, if you can connect with them emotionally, they will use rational reasoning to validate their decision. Or even ignore rational reasoning altogether. That’s when you know you have really got them.

This isn’t opinion; it is backed up by science. The latest catchphrase in the pursuit of getting ‘buy-in’ from your target audience is ‘neuromarketing’. Over the last decade or so, neuroscience research has shown that emotions play a much more important role in decision making than most people have thought.

Businesses who believe they can build a rational case for getting someone to buy something often fail because they haven’t understood the real factors that are driving the other person to come to a decision. Driven by emotions.

Our brains process much of their sensory input subconsciously. Signals that don’t generate positive or negative emotions are filtered out (seen as unimportant) and never reach our conscious mind. So, for you to get your customer’s attention, you need to trigger some sort of emotion.

So, for you to get your customer’s attention, you need to trigger some sort of emotion. Creating a successful brand is about creating that emotional connection with your customer. This is done by defining what your brand is. The values, personality

Creating a successful brand is about creating that emotional connection with your customer. This is done by defining what your brand is. The values, personality and stories the brand lives by.

Emotional versus Rational

The Independent Practitioners of Advertising (IPA) analysed data from some 1,400 case studies of successful advertising campaigns submitted for the IPA Effectiveness Awards over three decades, to compare the profitability boost of campaigns which relied primarily on emotional appeal versus those which used rational persuasion and information.

Campaigns with purely emotional content performed nearly twice as well (31% vs. 16%) as those with only rational content, and those that were purely emotional also did better (31% vs 26%) than those with a mixture of emotional and rational content.

People buy people. And people love stories.

One of the easiest ways to get your brand across is to tell your story. We have been telling stories since prehistorical people gathered round the fire to share tales.

Everyone’s lives have a journey and that journey is the reason why you have got to where you are now. Tell that story. If people like your story, they will like you, which means they are much more likely to like, and, buy what you are selling.

But, it’s not all about you

It is important to remember that your brand is more than what you say it is. Your brand is also what others think and say it is.

One of the best definitions of a brand is: A brand resides in the hearts and minds of your customers. It is the sum total of their experiences and perceptions. Some of which you can influence and some you can’t.

You can influence how you portray your business. And it is only once your business has a personality, or brand, that customers can decide whether or not they like it. If your business can portray a personality that complements theirs, they might just invest in your brand

So, how do you go about defining your brand?

Your brand is your DNA. It is what makes your business unique – and every business has something unique.

That uniqueness can’t always be described as a USP (Unique Selling Point, or Proposition). You may provide the same products and services as your competitors, but there will always be something different in the way you do it or why you do it. People are more likely to buy into why you are doing something than what you are doing.

Defining your ‘why’ often needs help. Most start-ups are normally engrossed in getting their business started and far too involved with the day-to-day responsibilities of running the business.

Get some help from a brand expert that specialises in start-ups. Someone who has the experience of asking the right questions and extracting the right information from your answers.

They will help you to identify your ‘why’, why it is relevant to your customers and how to communicate it in the most effective way.

Defining your brand will give you focus and confidence as you start and grow your business.

‘On brand’ checklist

Once you have defined you brand, you should create an ‘on brand’ checklist. This is so you can check that everything you do – whether it is copy for your website, a post on social media or an advertisement – is on brand.

If it ticks all the boxes, then you are portraying a consistent brand. If it doesn’t, you should seriously question whether you should be doing it; because if it is not ‘on brand’, your customers will be seriously questioning why you did it.

So, brand first, then branding.

Only once you have defined your brand should you think about getting your logo designed. You can use your brand as the brief to the designer. That way, you are much more likely to get a logo that portrays your brand.

Getting your brand and your branding working together and working consistently has great advantages. Consistency breeds recognition. Recognition breeds familiarity. Familiarity breeds trust. And trust breeds confidence.

If your customers have trust and confidence in your brand, they are much more likely to buy from you. And, more importantly, they are much more likely to become advocates for your brand


The Star Wars films that nearly got made

C3P0 - Star Wars scripts for PersilWith Star Wars: The Force Awakens hitting cinema screens later this week, my mind drifts back to some great Star Wars scripts that nearly got made.

And when I say nearly, George Lucas had personally approved them.

Let me explain. A long time ago in a galaxy very, very near (1996 in London to be more precise) two advertising agency creatives sat in a briefing for a new TV campaign. The client: Persil. The brief: Get a mum to talk to camera about the technological advancements of New Persil Liquid.

As you can imagine, we struggled. Who on earth was ever going to believe this?

Then, inspiration struck. It was a Monday evening at the offices of JWT. We had been working on the brief for a couple of weeks and had, so far, resisted giving in to writing scripts with a mum to talking to camera about the technological advancements of New Persil Liquid.

We found ourselves where we normally found ourselves when creative juices weren’t flowing: on the pool table.

Then those unforgettable words were muttered: What about C3P0? Of course! You can’t get any more mothering than this shiny gold protocol droid designed to serve human beings.

He can talk about technological advancements until the cows come home.

And wait for it… What if we swapped R2D2 for a mischievous washing machine called WA5H? Genius.

We’d cracked it.

If we needed to talk about ‘Grease Releasers’ that removed stains like lipstick, suntan lotion and motor oil, we could set it in a garage, where a mechanic was repairing their crashed spacecraft.

Or, if we needed to talk about low temperature ‘Stain Shifters’ that removed stains like coffee, grass and red wine, we can have a humorous sketch involving WA5H getting a little tipsy after too many red wine tests.

My favourite was the script about the EC Ecolabel the product had been awarded. C3P0 and WA5H were standing on a cliff overlooking the most glorious sunset. WA5H beeped. “Yes,” replied C3P0, “I like this planet too.”

The characters could cover any scenario. We were so confident, we got the Account Director down to our office. He had a reputation for ‘unselling’ an idea, even after the client had bought it (I will spare him the embarrassment of naming him, but anyone working in the agency at the time will know exactly who I am talking about). We gave him a week to find a problem, any problem, with the campaign. Five days later, he came back into our office and said he couldn’t. Great. He was now allowed to sell it.

The campaign was presented to the Brand Manager at Persil. He loved it.

I need to explain something about how marketing mutli-national brands works. There are many levels of client management. Each level’s only real power is to say ‘no’. If they say ‘yes’, then they lose their power and – like us – are hoping the next level says ‘yes’ too.

With this campaign however, there seemed to be nothing to worry about. It sailed through the next two levels of management.

Even research was on our side. The concept was researched with ‘real’ mums and they gave it a big thumbs up.

We were getting excited. We were getting swept away on the wave of enthusiasm for the campaign.

But wait a minute. Screech! We had to get permission from Lucas Films! Bump!

The agency producer managed to get their contact details. The scripts were sent off to Lucas Ranch. We waited. And waited.

While we waited, the concept was getting a resounding ‘yes’ from every level of client management and every round of consumer research.

We eventually heard back from Lucas Films. George loved the scripts! He liked them so much that he agreed at lend us the C3P0 costume to have a word with Anthony Daniels (the voice of C3P0) about doing the voiceover. Result!

So, what went wrong? Why is this article called ‘The Star Wars films that nearly got made’?

Well, remember the original brief? Remember the myriad levels of client management? The man at the very top said “Where is my mum talking to camera about the technological advancements of New Persil Liquid?”

The dark side was strong in him!

Enjoy the film on Friday.

Brand Satellite icon

Communicating the ‘Why’

“People don’t buy what you do: they buy WHY you do it.” (Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action by Simon Sinek).

The Golden Circle (©2013 Simon Sinek Inc)Simon Sinek’s Start With Why theory is encapsulated by his Golden Circle (© 2013 Simon Sinek Inc.).

You know ‘what’ your business does. You know ‘how’ your business does it. Hopefully one of these is different to what anyone else does or how anyone else does it, giving you your USP (Unique Selling Proposition).

But do you know ‘why’ you do it?

Why is the ‘why’ important? Because we are human beings. And what makes human beings unique is that we allow our emotions to dictate our decision-making.

There may be loads of rational reasons for picking one product or service over another, but it is the ones we create some sort of emotional connection with, that get our attention. That get our money.

Branding and marketing experts have been trying to persuade clients for decades that creating successful brands is about creating an emotional connection with your consumer.

Thankfully science is now backing up this theory. The latest catchphrase in the pursuit of getting ‘buy in’ from your target audience comes with a snazzy name; Neuromarketing.

Over the last decade, neuroscience research has shown that affection (emotions, feelings) plays a much more important role in decision-making than most people had thought.

Our brains process much of their sensory input subconsciously, generating affection toward or against objects. Signals that don’t generate positive or negative affection are filtered out (seen as unimportant) and never reach our conscious mind. So, avoid mediocrity.

As much as 95% of our decisions are made by the subconscious mind. As a result, the world’s largest and most sophisticated companies are applying the latest advances in neuroscience to create brands, products, package designs, marketing campaigns, store environments, and much more, that are designed to appeal to the emotional part of our brains.

And research backs up the science. The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising analysed data from the 1,400 case studies of successful advertising campaigns submitted to their IPA Effectiveness Award competition over three decades.

IPA ChartThis particular analysis compared the profitability boost of campaigns which relied primarily on emotional appeal vs. those which used rational persuasion and information. The chart shows the results. Campaigns with purely emotional content performed almost twice as well as those with only rational content, and those that were purely emotional did a little better those that mixed emotional and rational content.

Smaller businesses, with smaller budgets will have to work much harder to create the same emotional approach as the market leaders. Their name recognition is likely to be much lower and consumers may not even associate their company with its product category.

But, by creating a brand and thinking creatively, they should be able to segment the market to find a group of consumers that will respond to a different appeal.

Creating a brand is about giving your company, product or service a personality, which will help you make that emotional connection with your customers. But, branding isn’t about thrusting a personality on your business, it is about extracting one from it. Its DNA. Its ‘Why’.

Once you have discovered the ‘Why’ for your business, you need to communicate it in a way that will attract attention, raise awareness and create familiarity. In turn, this will increase recognition, improve sales and promote customer loyalty.

If you would like help discovering and communicating the ‘Why’ in your business, contact us.

Click-let brand identity

Click-let show off their new window displays

Click-let Shop Windows 3 Click-let Shop Posters 2 Click-let shop posters 1 Click-let shop Posters 4Edinburgh letting agents, Click-let, approached Brand Satellite to jazz up the window displays at their office in Leith Walk.

We created a display that worked with their existing branding, to strengthen their brand recognition.

The final solution is also very versatile. Panels can be moved around and replaced with others to keep the display fresh.

More ambitious plans for extra window vinyls, to make the premises really stand out are currently being considered. Fingers crossed, we’ll have more to show you soon!

Brett Investment - Bettr branding

Brett Investment unveil a bettr branded website

Brett Investment new websiteWe have just created a new website for our client Brett Investment.

The new site continues the ‘Bettr’ branding concept we created for the independent financial planners and investment advisors a few years ago. The Bettr concept comes from a clever rearrange of the letters from Brett and allows the company to talk about its services in a uniquely branded way: BettrPlanning, BettrInvesting, BettrLife and BettrValue.

We work with Brett Investment on a Brand Consultancy relationship. “Working with Brand Satellite on a regular ongoing basis has been hugely beneficial for Brett Investment. As a small company we neither have the resources or the expertise to run a properly co-ordinated marketing and communications campaign.” explains Managing Director, Jeremy Brett. “With Giles at our side we have been able to deliver a far more professional, coherent and consistent message to both prospective and existing clients alike.”