Starting something new - Part 2: Designing a brand
So you have a name, what next? For us, it was all about getting the company's look and feel right (the brand).
Branding a company is not just a matter of it's logo and colour scheme, it's also about giving careful considerate to it's tone of voice, target audience and a wide variety of other factors.
Defining Your Target Market
There are many techniques on how you should go about defining your target audience but as we are working on a somewhat tight deadline, we decided that it would be best to brainstorm who is likely to buy the products we are selling.
As we have a wide variety of product ranging from cheap Christmas decorations to high-end artificial Christmas trees with built in LED lights; we had to ensure that we would appeal to the widest audience possible.
With a little stereotyping and a few assumptions, we categorised each product type into it's anticipated socioeconomic group/customer demographic to see if the product range was weighted more towards one demographic than another and it wasn't overly (everyone loves Christmas!).
After a little thought, we decided we would go down the route of having a "premium" range of products -akin to Tesco's "Tesco Finest" range and keep the main company brand friendly and generally appealing.
Considering How It Will Be Used
How you intend to use your logo has a bearing on what you can design i.e. if you plan to use your brand on paper then adding animation needs to be considered carefully.
We only plan to sell online so the paperwork that we would be sending out will be minimal. We also decided not to produce much printed media i.e. business cards, letterheads and complement slips as one of the perceived selling points of our artificial trees is the environmental benefits -printing on a lot of paper unnecessarily is a negative in this respect.
Getting the word out about the business is key to the success with this, so to encourage people to refer a friend we decided we will need to package some form of leaflet with the order (similar to how Amazon do). With this in mind, the branding would need to work on printed media.
Putting Pen To Paper - The Design Process
Knowing how we intended to use the resultant brand, the designer got to work. Unlike when designing a website, when designing a brand at The Site Doctor we design a couple of routes to choose from. Each route is designed to have a different look and feel, from these routes we decide which is the preferred route and refine that further.
Design Round 1
Being the client for a chance was an interesting experience as we liked two very different routes and chose to pursue the both as we planned to use one for the premium range.
Design Round 2
Design Round 3 (The Final Thing)
And for the premium branded products
Getting The Tone of Voice Right
Being understood by your target audience may sound like an obvious requirement but it's something that people all too frequently miss the mark with. How you communicate with your customer says a lot about the company you are.
When I was getting started in business, the bigger corporations would go out of their way to remind you (the customer) that they were an enormous company and should not be trifled with. This resulted in very cold, blunt and impersonal content being written, small businesses would aspire to be this large faceless corporation as well. Since the start of the recession however many of the larger corporations have been working on making themselves more like the smaller companies -friendly, approachable and as a result, their tone of voice has been largely softened.
Not being a large company -and not needing to scare/impress our customer base we have made conscious decision to keep the wording plain and simple; where possible avoiding large words (something that is very important considering the global market of the internet) and keeping all interactions fun and friendly.
When engaging on social media (which we will be doing) we plan to maintain a jovial tone -more so than we might with The Site Doctor.
So we're set -keep it friendly, keep it simple and have fun.
What do you think of our logo(s)?