We all love when a brand gets its target audience and uses its image creatively to promote products or services. Great branding can not only create recognition, but it can also showcase a company’s personality which can really help form a relationship with its customers. One of our designers, Adam, shares his thoughts on branding, his favourite examples, as well as some tips on how to succeed.
How important is getting the branding right?
Branding is what any person will see first and will recognise your company from. This could be your logo, a symbol, brand colours or your tagline that reflects the entire business. It’s essentially, your main way of being recognised. So, it’s very important to use it consistently and appropriately across your different channels.
It’s key to get branding right particularly as there are so many channels that your brand can be accessed from. 51% of U.S. consumers are loyal to brands that interact with them through their preferred channels of communication (Accenture). These could be social media, newsletters, invites to VIP in-store events and more. It’s no longer enough to have a nice logo or an advert, it’s more about the whole experience and service that the customer receives.
In the digital age, if your main customer interaction is online, it is even more crucial to make your brand stand out. The competition can be so high, that it’s important to make a difference. Whether you offer personalised services, free collection and delivery, or your social media game is strong, it needs to be completely in sync with the rest of your brand and what it stands for.
What you need to consider when coming up with branding ideas
The main thing a business needs to look at when creating a brand or rebranding is its target audience. A lot of corporate branding might be decided by the stakeholders, however they need to think through whether their choice will appeal to their customers who will ultimately engage with the brand.
It’s also important to review the channels the brand will appear on. The technology is ever-evolving and the brand must follow suit. We have different screen sizes that need different sets of visuals. Some media channels prefer videos, some are more suited to images or audio formats.
Our ways of interacting with certain products or services has changed too. For example, something as conventional as a takeaway. We no longer need to ring or even walk up to a chippy to place an order - it’s possible with just a single click/tap on our phone. Similarly, we don’t have to place a bet at a bookie’s, but can easily do this on our phones and laptops while the match is live.
We have emerging technology, such as VR and voice activated smart devices that will soon be connected to lots of our everyday activities. It’s important to keep up with those to ensure your brand is present and can work across as many channels as possible. It’s also worth noting that these won’t suit every brand, so you need to be selective and follow the channels your audience uses the most.
What are the challenges of creating a brand in gaming?
Gaming is such a competitive market that you really need to stand out to attract customers. One of the challenges is that technology evolves so fast that many brands are slow to keep up.
Gaming attracts different audience types and there are many operators and services to choose from. Gambling is not just for sports fans or poker enthusiasts. There are more emerging niche categories, with separate audiences for bingo, slots and social gaming that may not overlap with the rest of their counterparts. It’s vital that when first creating a brand or rebranding, the company reviews its audiences, how they prefer to engage with the brand and what their demographics are.
Casumo is a great example of targeting social gamers with its vibrant and fun branding. It’s more focused on gamification than gambling itself and doesn’t look like any of the more known operators. It’s also important to consider that there’s still stigma surrounding gambling and that not everyone wants to be sharing their habits publicly. Casumo uses lighter colours, quirky animations and characters, which appeals to many casual players, looking to play simpler games to pass the time.
Having different audience segments offers gaming brands to be more experimental and try out different approaches when it comes to engagement. They can be more targeted, they can try out new branding or new characters that could fit with that audience.
What can go wrong and what can we learn from it?
Adapting your brand in the digital age can be difficult with more variables to consider, especially if it’s already well established. So it’s important that it’s a considered change and appeals to your target audience. For example, something as small as a font change can lead to a national disaster. IKEA changed its font from Futura to a web-friendly system font Verdana. Although this optimised the branding for the web, it instantly changed IKEA’s look and feel, which left many upset. So it really pays off when every little change you’re thinking of implementing reflects your brand’s personality and resonates well with the audience.
Brands are evolving much faster to keep up with the technology and trends and it’s probably better if they keep updating various aspects of their identity, instead of rebranding completely every few years. Maintaining the relevance of a brand today forces brands to be agile in their approach, constantly assessing how well it’s working at every touch point and evolving to sit within new ones as technology and trends develop.
What are your favourite branding examples and why? Which brand gets it right every time?
Co-op’s rebrand has been very effective. They not only rolled it out across physical and digital platforms in a blink of eye (considering they have thousands of shops and branches with all the bespoke signage, it’s amazing!). Co-op managed to stay true to its roots by using its old logo and make it more viable for digital platforms. It’s a great example of rebranding while not overdoing it and adapting to different media.
The Premier League’s new identity is also a great example of adapting the brand to the modern world. It works seamlessly across print, web and TV, and is instantly recognisable around the world. They’ve kept the lion which was the core identity of the league, but changes font and how its branding could be used across many different formats. It particularly comes through in their animations which showcase how their branding can be adapted in video.
What to do when your website is content heavy?
There has to be a bit of a trade off if you have a lot going on on your website but you still want your brand to shine through. You want users to develop loyalty to the brand, but they’re only there for a specific purpose. In that case, the brand needs to take a step back and focus on its services. However, you can still use simple things to make it visible, such as using your logo and colours across the site or incorporating your key services. It’s a balancing task for the designer to showcase the core products and accommodate the brand at the same time.
When should you rebrand?
It’s an interesting time for branding and advertising. Now, print and digital media are coming together and these mediums merge. Lots of professionals that come from print advertising are adapting to digital and vice versa, sharing their experiences to create stronger channels that offer the best of both sides. Businesses need to keep that in mind when reviewing their branding and answer the following questions - does the branding fit with its audience, is it relevant to the channels it appears on, does it work well on different formats and can it be easily adapted. The rebrand doesn’t need to be an obvious one, it can just be a facelift to make sure it’s modern and fits with the latest technology and consumer demands. Big changes aren’t always the right changes, and sometimes a subtle alteration or a tone change might be be the difference in connecting your brand and audiences together.