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BRAND: What is it and why do you need one?

Updated: Mar 10, 2020


Like a teenager when they first start secondary school, in those years before they leave to start work, they develop, find their individuality, likes and dislikes work out how they want to look, feel and think and then embark out on their journey into the real world with a set of associations that make them who they are, still learning, developing and growing. This is brand.

Now a brand can be built in a day, contrary to most professionals, but to ‘create’ a brand with a beginning a middle and an end takes time, a lot of creative thinking and experience and with this comes cost.

Many startups do not realise the importance of having a solid brand as a foundation to their ideas. I am telling you it could make or brake your wonderful idea and determine whether it succeeds or ends up being forgotten like yesterdays news.

Brand is perception (other peoples views of your brand) identity (brand), attitude (brand) and language (how your brand speaks to its markets) it has to sell your USPs (unique selling points) and is an intelligent use of design, advertising, marketing, service proposition, corporate culture and the basic principle of being clear about what you stand for always applies.

The Design Council put’s it plainly;

Branding can help you stand out from your competitors, add value to your offer and engage with your customers. Effective branding elevates a product or organisation from being just one commodity amongst many identical commodities, to become something with a unique character and promise. It can create an emotional resonance in the minds of consumers who choose products and services using both emotional and pragmatic judgements.”

It’s true that folk will pay more for a brand, yet the ‘unbranded’ brand has been highly successful over past years in top supermarkets.  These ‘unbranded’ brands are still ‘branded’. Are you following?

Again, The Design Council presents this information well.

“Tesco, for example, began life as an economy supermarket and now sells a wide range of products, from furniture to insurance. But a consistent application of the Tesco brand attributes, such as ease of access and low price, has allowed the business to move into new market sectors without changing its core brand identity.

This obviously adds value to the business, but consumers also see added value in the new services thanks to their existing associations with the Tesco brand. Of course, this can work in reverse too: if consumers don’t like the Tesco brand in one product area, they’re less likely to choose the company’s offer in another product area.”

So – everyone’s a winner. Well, Tesco’s wins!

The questions you need to ask yourself are:

  1. How can you stand out?

  2. What is your offer?

  3. What makes you different?

  4. What is your personality’?

  5. What do consumers want or need?

  6. Is there a gap in the market?

A brand expert will look at the following:

The idea, Vision, Value, Connection, Personality and Stretch (to see how your brand across sectors and give it room to develop) the key elements are as in the following examples:


Colour (example: Orange) Where colour is the main reference point used for a brand.

toilet duck

Shape (example; Toilet Duck) Where shape is used as a main reference point for a brand.


Name ( For example; Egg) Where the name is the main reference point used for a brand.


Touch/materials (For Example; iPhone) Where materials and touch are the main reference points used for a brand.


Sound (For example; Intel) deh deh deh deeeh! – We all know it right?


Illustration (For example; Lloyds TSB) Where illustration is used as the main reference point for a brand.


Typography (For example; BBC) Where typography is the main reference point used for a brand.


Environment (For example; Guinness Storehouse) Where environment is the main reference point used for a brand.

If you are a startup – it would be beneficial to read through The Design Council’s article here. The piece describes how a ‘challenger brand’ (new brand in a start up environment) can operate and it also gives solid examples of such. For example;

gu logo

Gü was launched into the chilled desserts market as a premium product whose name (an invented word) simultaneously hints at a European origin and evokes thoughts of gooey chocolate or treacle.

The name and graphic black and white packaging all broke the ‘rules’ of design and branding in the desserts sector and the product consequently stands out strongly in supermarkets.

The brand has subsequently been extended with the launch of Frü, a range of fruit desserts.” c/o Design Council.

I hope you find this helpful. Please explore these ideas when starting up a business or brand and research the market.

  1. Is your brand a Sainsburys? Would a Jamie Oliver type be your ambassador? Do you present quality? friendliness? environmentally friendly, health? Sainsburys PLC Brand Stats

  2. A Waitrose? Would Heston be your man? Do you look at responsibly sourced produce? care about exceptional quality? and redefine ‘value for money’ to ‘values for money’?  Waitrose Brand Stats

  3. Or are you an Asda? Would we see the folk behind the scenes producing product for the consumer? The peoples brand? Asda Brand Stats

If you are realistic about where you sit, then your goals will be realised and your business will be a success!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me!

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