While each of us is unique in our particular combination of beliefs, values, age, physical characteristics, skills, talent, etc., the way we choose to present ourselves can have a big impact on how others see us. Our clothing, hairstyle, posture, facial expression and other choices we make about our appearance combine to form a first impression that may be positive or negative, accurate or inaccurate. And that first impression may have an indelible impact on whether the person we just met will like us or not.
It’s much the same with companies, organizations, products and services. There is always a visual representation (or lack of one) that gives the “audience” a quick idea of what to expect. While as individuals, it may not matter much whether any particular person we meet likes or dislikes us, for a business the effect of that first impression can have a significant bottom-line impact. That’s why at SCN Design we believe that creating an accurate and memorable visual brand representation is a wise investment for any business.
A brand is usually represented by a distinctive type treatment, a “logotype”, or a graphic symbol (logo or mark). Communicating a brand in a unique and particular way that draws attention to it can achieve brand awareness: consistent recognition by customers or other stakeholders. This will support development of your brand image–the way in which customers perceive the brand, as good, bad or indifferent. A brand that is regarded with high awareness and a positive brand image is said to have achieved brand preference. And lastly, a brand can become a category leader, one of the top brands in its field determined by market share or consumer preference.
Contemporary branding began during the industrial revolution when products started being mass produced, and the need to distinguish one product from another became an essential factor due to the increase in competition. Companies could no longer depend on word of mouth to influence customer preference.
One revolutionary brand that made a mark for itself was Kellogg’s. In 1906, Will Keith Kellogg invented corn flakes and ignited an industry that has become one of the most successful in the history of marketing. With his brilliant strategy, he made Kellogg’s a universally recognized brand by developing a marketing campaign that was ahead of its time. At a time when nearly everything was printed in black and white, Kellogg adopted modern, full color printing to stand out from the rest. This differentiated Kellogg’s from other cereal brands and helped them become an enduring leader.
Now we live in a world where tens of thousands of new brands are introduced each year; in fact, the average American sees about 16,000 advertisements, other marketing messages and logos every day through TV, computers, mobile devices, billboards, store fronts, signage, supermarket shelves, etc. It’s not just marketing that’s bombarding us: Reuters Magazine reported in 1997 that “in the last 30 years mankind has produced more information than in the previous 5,000.” For companies to differentiate themselves visually in this amazingly crowded marketplace poses a great challenge.
A successful visual representation can play an important role by giving a favorable first impression and serving as a constant reminder of the benefits and advantages your brand offers.
Why is branding so important? For one example, let’s look at SCN Design’s case study for Bracken Engineering, an established company providing consulting solutions in the areas of design, forensics, construction and disaster support for the insurance, legal, construction and real estate industries. They had earned a solid reputation in the industries they serve, but they needed a much high level of recognition to expand to new markets and compete against the most elite firms.
SCN Design revitalized and unified Bracken’s fragmented brand identity to convey the strengths of its people and the high sense of integrity, which is rare in the forensics space. Since then, hard numbers have documented their elevated presence:
• Their website has a visitor increase of 12%
• Page view increase of 203%
• Pages per visit went up 170%
• Average time on site increased 77% and
• Bounce rate decreased 66%
The company credits those numbers with driving a welcome increase in market share. The Bracken Engineering re-branding project also Received a Marcom Gold Award.
Branding is a critical aspect to the success of any business in today’s world. Brand is the company or organization’s face, personality and character to the world. It is how a company is perceived by its customers through its name, how the name is visually expressed through a logo, and how that name and logo are carried throughout the company’s communication. For small and startup companies early branding can be an essential key for business success, and sometimes overlooked. It is the most effective way to express what a company is, and what it can provide.
So if you are a start-up or an existing company that needs to re-invent itself, take into consideration the importance of your brand image and how essential it is in today’s world. Define who you are, what you stand for, what are your core values, and the visual message you want to communicate. Make your company’s initial perception one that stands out from the crowd.