In modern business, the company’s primary task before entering the market is to create a brand. Why is this so important and what steps should be taken to achieve this? Bogdan Terzi, CEO of the advertising company “Amillidius”, answers the questions.
What is a brand?
A brand is a set of recognizable characteristics, a set of impressions that we associate with a company and its product. The brand lives in the minds of consumers, influencing the choice. When we say haute couture, we immediately think of Chanel and Versace. We hear «fast food» and think about McDonald’s. But the brand is not the privilege of only large corporations. Any company needs it. It is the key to consumer recognition and trust. The only exception, perhaps, is the shadow business that uses corruption schemes — there is just no need for extra fame.
How does brand creation start?
From the Brandbook development. It is an official corporate document that marketers often refer to as the «brand bible.» In fact, this is a complete description of the brand: the rules for positioning and interaction with customers, and the corporate identity standards, which should be the basis of all subsequent actions with the brand. Unfortunately, in our country, and in other countries in the post-Soviet space, businessmen often underestimate the importance of this document.
Probably, many simply do not understand why it is needed. How to get out a message about its importance?
Let me draw an analogy with building a house. It starts with a project that includes several sections: architectural, structural, engineering. This fundamental document contains everything from a detailed description of the house’s appearance, laying the foundation, erecting walls and ceilings, to laying electrical wiring, arranging heating, ventilation, water supply, and sewerage systems. All the necessary drawings and plans, types, and quantities of building materials. A good house cannot be built without a project. It’s the same with the brand. The Brandbook underlies its creation and becomes a vector for further development.
What does the Brandbook consist of?
The main Brandbook sections are positioning, design concept and communication strategy. If it is planned to open branches or sell a franchise, the legal part is also added.
Could you tell us more about what each section is?
Positioning forms the brand image, its ideas and values. This part of the Brandbook describes the target audience, advantages and differences from competitors, emotional brand benefits. The design concept contains a naming, slogan, logo, graphic elements and font solutions, a color palette, as well as other elements of the brand’s visual shell — the logic and design of the site, packaging design, labels, etc. The goal of a communication strategy is to build the right brand perception in the minds of consumers. It answers the question of how and through what channels to convey his message to the audience.
And what are these channels?
Until relatively recently, offline channels had a priority in communicating with consumers – these are television, radio, outdoor and print advertising. Today, the lion’s share of a brand’s success depends on its promotion through online channels. These include websites, social media, search engines, instant messengers, bloggers and influencers, etc. Collected together, all these brand elements, with a full description and instructions for use, form the Brandbook.
Can a company develop a Brandbook on its own?
The development of such many components requires a lot of time, sometimes up to six months, and, of course, a competent professional approach. Let’s go back to the analogy with building a house. Trying to develop a project on your own, you are most likely to get a substandard home. For a building to be strong, durable and functional, you need to turn to professionals. Also with the brand. The Brandbook should be created by professionals. Otherwise, there is a risk of doing it wrong, which means it is wrong to carry out all further work with the brand.
How can this be expressed?
For example, the wrong target audience or too vague brand advantages will not allow you to stand out from the crowd of competitors. An ill-conceived color palette can make a brand’s visuals aggressive and repulsive. Logo design that does not fit into the brand concept affects brand awareness and reduces consumer loyalty. And by choosing the wrong communication channels, you will simply waste your advertising budget. In most cases, it is for these reasons that more than half of companies close within five years, and 90% of newcomer companies go bankrupt in the first year of their existence. In order not to be among them, you need to take care of creating a strong brand.
Considering the complexity and scale of the work, the service of creating a Brandbook is expensive, isn’t it?
Yes, Brandbook development cannot be cheap. The West is well aware of this and considers these costs as an investment in brand development. In our country, the high price for professional services pushes many businessmen to look for a way to save money – to abandon the development of the Brandbook altogether or order it at the lowest price, which almost always means a low quality of service.
That is, will the Brandbook be made incorrectly?
You have to understand that a freelance designer will make you a typical logo and a couple of packaging designs for a maximum of 500 dollars. A complete Brandbook is a much more serious document. This is an algorithm for working with a brand, which is used in the training of employees, serves as the foundation for any advertising campaign, will allow you to open an office anywhere in the world or launch a franchise, acting clearly according to the instructions. And it costs a lot to develop such a guide.
I will again give an example of building a house. The project of a small cottage will cost at least $5,000. An individual project of a five-storey house starts at $20,000. And for high-rise buildings the price exceeds $100,000.
And does the Brandbook price also depend on the size of the company?
Of course, the price varies depending on the size of the business. For small companies, fewer positions are involved in positioning and design concepts, fewer channels are used in the communication strategy, and fewer advertising tools are used. This affects the price.
And what is it, approximately?
The price of the Brandbook for small companies starts at $5,000. For medium-sized companies, it will already be from $20,000 or more. For large ones, it goes over $100,000 dollars.
What do the brand creation and the Brandbook development give for a company?
Brands that are widely known today have gained leading positions in the market thanks to competent branding. The Brandbooks of these companies and the experience of their application, marketers use as a model for their work. And the most striking example for today is Apple. Even the eminent brand Samsung, whose technology is sometimes superior in quality to the products of the “apple” company, is difficult to resist Apple in the competition. Moreover, many components Apple buys from Samsung, and, despite this, it is Apple’s gadgets that have been and remain a symbol of quality, luxury and technical innovation. Millions of people are ready to give their last money for them. And all thanks to a strong brand.
«As a marketer, I recommend everyone who starts their own business to follow the lead of the leaders — to create and develop their brand. And first of all, create a Brandbook. And to everyone who has been doing business for several days, but still does not have a Brandbook, I advise you to urgently rebrand. This will give your company an impulse for development, help bring your business to new frontiers,» business expert Bogdan Terzi concluded.