Did you enjoy my first two blogs (its not too late to comment!)? In today’s blog, I focus on the basic rules of branding, and how to stand out from the crowd.
In its simplest form, branding is a set of associations that a person or group of people have in relation to either a product or service. In the case of Paris Smith, we provide legal advice but our brand is the name of the firm, i.e. Paris Smith.
While you are unable to directly influence external factors, what you can do is be smart with your design, advertising, marketing, service proposition and corporate culture (i.e. values) so that you lift your brand away from merely word or colour association. In different industries, the audiences, competitors and service aspects of branding may be different, but the basic principle of being clear about what you stand for always applies.
You will hear the phrase U.S.P. (unique selling proposition) used a great deal in marketing, and your brand should be regarded as a key U.S.P. to win and develop business by differentiating your offering from your nearest and dearest competitors. Also, a strong brand can add massive value to the product or service you are selling.
In one word, consistency. It’s all about walking the talk so that you have alignment between the inside of the business – vision, values and purpose – and what you need to do externally to keep your customers, add value and win new customers over the long term. If you need a point of reference for the big idea then you could do worse than watch this excellent TED talk by Simon Sinek which deals with the Why of any business – and I don’t mean do you exist to make money but what’s your purpose.
Paris Smith is a service brand, which is built upon the people who do the work day in, day out. To reflect this, it was important to me, when rebranding (a few years ago now), that they bought into the brand so they could walk in the brand’s shoes. In short, there would be no point produicing something that people did not believe in. It had to be strong, clean and simple and work across all the company’s communications, including the website, corporate boards and literature.
The psycology behind the use of colour is one of the most interesting debates in marketing and branding. I came across this infographic which I found very interesting:
We use blue and red in our design and branding. The blue represents the corporate side of our firm which as you will see from the infographic depicts strength and trust; and the red for our private client side of the firm which depicts boldness. We still today very much use the use of colour to differentiate our different services to our clients.
So there you have it. A quick run through of branding and a few insights of the firm. However, it would be great to get your feedback on my blog as to what you think would be helpful from a brand and marketing perspective. I’m still musing on the next post, but I may look at service or client relationship management both key to retaining customers in this Web 2.0 world we all now operate within.