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BRANDING: Benefit or Buzzword

November 29, 2015
Mary Jane Copps

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The Phone Lady logo always draws attention – gets a big, primarily positive, reaction. And its vibrant colours and friendly, phone-focused attitude has contributed immeasurably to the growth of this company over the past 10 years, leaving me firmly convinced that branding matters – not only as it relates to design, but to everything we do to build and support our businesses.

As I prepare to launch a new brand in 2016, from time to time I’m going to share with you some of what I’ve learned about branding and how my own brand has impacted – and detracted – from my success. I’ll also let you in on the highs and lows of  embracing a new brand – and get your feedback along the way

As a starting point, I want to introduce you to Jay Hiltz, Partner & Creative Director, Kohoot Media. Jay is the creator of The Phone Lady logo, and I wouldn’t think of launching a new brand without him. Here are some of his thoughts on the process of branding: 

There were times when I was afraid to use the words brand, branding and rebrand. Ten years ago ‘rebranding’ was all the rage. So much so that it felt like an overused buzzword to accomplish an agency pitch. I would tread lightly around the topic and find alternate words to describe the process like, refresh! But now, with a new generation of buzzwords in play like retargeting, pay-per-click and SEO, I feel safe bringing branding  back to the table.

Why is branding a big deal?

The truth of the matter is, in today’s consumer market, branding is more important than ever before. Your brand goes beyond a logo and tagline, your packaging or a website; the true mark of a brand is how people perceive you, your product or your service. If their perception of you is different than the message you’re communicating, your brand is not hitting its mark.

We encounter thousands of brands daily, each fighting for our attention and loyalty. The average supermarket contains 40,000+ brands according to the Food Marketing Institute. Internet Live Stats indicates there are over one billion active websites with a new site coming online every second. Is your brand/product able to cut through all that noise and competition?

Our first encounter with many new brands happens online. Web traffic stats and analytics indicate we have about 4 seconds to capture our audience and 50% of those readers won’t make it past 50 words. Talk about needing to make a good first impression!

I’ve heard clients say, “Well, my website should probably be updated but at least I’m online.” Today, a strong website is an important extension of your brand. Think back to the first time you bought something online… how scary was that? (I still think, “I hope they don’t take my money and run!”) Eventually, we all made that purchase and (hopefully) got the product. When it arrived in the mail we all breathed a small sigh of relief. That company/brand established a sense of security and when we are satisfied with the experience, the results, and the value, we trust the brand and are more inclined to use it again. With over one billion websites out there, whether we like it or not, we’re making judgment calls in seconds, deciding if we trust or like the looks of a company.

For example, when you look at the logos below, which one makes the stronger impressions? Why?

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And .. it only took seconds for you to decide! Know that every company has a brand, even when they aren’t intentional with its creation. So, the issue is not whether or not you have a brand, but how well you are managing it.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Peggy says:

    Great article! I hate using the word “brand” too as it gets so misused.

    • The Phone Lady says:

      Thanks, Peggy. It is going to be fun to share the experience of creating a new brand on the blog. It takes me a bit away from phone communication, so I hesitated to write about it, but it is so interesting. And of value to most of my readers I believe.

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