by Mark Gilman
We have been asked to help companies with re-branding efforts for years and in many cases, they really don’t want our opinion – they just want something that looks pretty and conceptually represents a
company reputation and mission that doesn’t resonate with its customers and clients.
A brand is not just a graphic design, but a reflection of who you are – to your customers. This is a problem with many firms and companies who say they already know who they are because they asked each other in the boardroom. I remember doing a re-brand with a Detroit area law firm which believed the reason their clients love them, is because they’re so reasonably priced. Well, branding 101 (and Marketing 101 for that matter) tells us that you never want to identify or brand yourself based on price. So I called their bluff. I actually went out of the boardroom to ask the people who best understood the company (their clients) what they thought was the differentiation? To humor the firm, I actually asked about the price nonsense. The normal reaction generally hovered around “I don’t care if they charge $5 or $500 an hour. If they’re not doing their job, they’re gone.” As it turns out, the firm was popular with its clients because of their ability to anticipate issues instead of sitting around waiting to be told what to do. That message became the core of the re-brand.
So walking into a company which says – “We know who we are. We just don’t like our logo,” doesn’t work. Ever. Research, research, research. What does the company really stand for? What makes them different? I really don’t care what they want to be, their brand really has to resonate with who they are now and what they mean to their customers/clients. Once that’s determined – then we can build something pretty and talk about colors and fonts, etc.
So before you bring a graphic designer in the room – do your homework. Why are you different? What do you offer than no one else does? Why do your customers keep coming back?
Surveys, personal client audits, feedback, social media responses, etc. should determine who you are much more than what company leadership in the conference room think they are. And the responses from your clients/customers will be much more valid if you let someone else ask the questions. Like us. Then once you’ve determined what that is – reflect it in everything you do. Not just your logo and slogan. Your website, your social media descriptors, your brochures (Yes, some people still use them), your RFP responses and your marketing strategy. A brand is a strategy. A go-to-market proposition…. and a logo.