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Brand Development

Denver branding agency’s brand development process answers the questions: Who are you? Who needs to know? How will they find out?Why should they care?What is the why behind the what and how?

5 Myths of Brand Development Debunked

By Brand Development

Push back to adopt brand development from the business owner can sometimes be very frustrating. You’re under fire to deliver quality leads to sales — recent tactics of PR, Ads and SEO just aren’t working. You struggle to find true marketplace differentiation but you are not sure exactly what that is. Your messaging is all over the place and the boss wants results.

Don’t give up! We’ve put together a few things to help you look more seriously at why it’s more important than ever to take the time to develop your brand and to help you start coming up with a pitch to turn things around.

In today’s economy, we have 10 to 20 of everything. People begin their purchases by going to the internet or by asking their friends. They block out nearly all advertising. 70% of the purchase decision is over before a customer even contacts a sales person or purchases something from you. Today, brands must go above and beyond to prove trust and authenticity to their customers. One bad experience —  and it’s all over Facebook. Below are 5 myths debunked to help you answer your critics on the need to engage in brand development.

1. Your brand is your logo
Myth. Your logo is just one piece of your brand. Your brand consists of many things: what a customer thinks, feels, tastes, experiences, hears and sees, the good, bad and the ugly about your brand. A fresh, clean and clever logo is very important as it’s usually the first thing customers’ experience.

2. Brand development is expensive
Not a myth. It’s funny how many companies try to do brand development on their own because they’ve gone down the road of trying to hire a branding agency and have gotten back an estimate that curls their toes. But when trying to conduct it themselves they end up screwing up their brand further and spending more money than they would if they would’ve just hired the branding agency. The brand development process takes a lot of work and is priced accordingly. Many hours are spent on research, competitive analysis, communication audits, customer interviews and plenty of time thinking and thinking and thinking. Brand Development is an exhaustive process. To develop a successful brand, you must have a professional brand strategist to provide fresh perspective, insight and direction.

3. Brand development does not need input from your employees
Not a myth. An employee by definition is: a person working for another person or a business firm for pay. True, but in today’s economy, an employee is more like your brand ambassador. He or she may know more than you (Marketing Director or Owner) about your customer. Ask them questions about what customers think about your brand and nine times out of ten you’ll get ten different answers. Your employees are the people who are typically face to face with the customer every day. If they are not accurately communicating the brand values, then your brand is not working to its full potential.

4. Your brand is not your product
Myth. Your brand is your product! People buy what your brand offers them not what you sell them. Take Apple for example; they sell computers, but what they really sell is ideas and the ability to create and think differently. See this video by Simon Sinek for a further understanding.

5. The process is over at rollout
Myth. We have seen so many companies develop brands, throw a big roll out party for their employees, give them a t-shirt and a mouse pad with a new mission statement and within a month, nothing from a cultural standpoint has changed and customer satisfaction surveys remain stagnant. Why? Because the brand development process doesn’t end at rollout, it begins! Companies must shift their focus to the employer brand to begin drilling into the culture through their recruitment and talent management practices. Every new employee hired, must be what the brand personifies otherwise your brand development process is nothing more than a creative exercise — it must be implemented properly or all that hard work I mentioned above will be nothing in 6 months.

Companies and startups need to invest in brand development to help them understand who they are, how they can better the marketplace and how they are going to attract the talent necessary to grow and remain sustainable.

If you are looking for help in defining who you are, what makes you unique in a cluttered marketplace and how to build a foundation of sustainability, culture and best hiring practices for your brand. Contact us today!



Can Your Brand Become Iconic?

By Brand Development

Can your brand become iconic? This week, I look at two brands that have achieved cult-like status. I will explore their history and attempt to trace their origins and discover what made them iconic. First we’ll start with a little branding 101.

Brands originated as far back as 1100 BC. The first known brand was from India. As man progressed up to the industrial revolution, it became necessary as more companies entered into the marketplace the need to differentiate ones products and services over another. Generic brands found it useful to become a real brand to succeed.

The term “Brand” comes from the old Norse word brandr “to burn.”  And as we all remember, Cowboys used brands to identify their cattle just as companies today use their brands to identify themselves.

Today, the term branding is used in marketing, advertising and sales as a way to build relationships on a social and psychological level. Brand developers seek to create not only the words, shapes, colors, look and feel of a brand but also to connect them to the consumer on an emotional level that then creates a preference over competing brands.

Some brands do this so well, they’ve become iconic. They’ve transcended into something bigger than just a product or service – but rather an attitude and lifestyle. Two examples I am looking at is Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company and Ironman Triathlon.

Harley-DavidsonThe first example is Harley-Davidson. This iconic brand not only defines and differentiates a motorcycle company, but it also defines an entire class of people based on their lifestyle and attitude towards life. Talk to any Harley owner and immediately you’ll get a sense of who they are based on any one response to a trivial question about the weather. You may say: “Nice weather we’re having today isn’t it?” Harley owner: “ Yeah its #$*@ awesome – good day for a ride!” Then you watch them walk off in black leather chaps, vest and boots. Harley has extended its brand into watches, sponsored sub brands on Ford trucks and others. This brand has achieved cult status and is listed on Interbrand’s list of the 100 most influential brands.

Iconic brandThe second example of a company that does this well is Ironman. Ironman’s tagline “Anything is Possible” – defines the attitude of the people who train for and finish a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mike bike and 26.2 mile run – all in one day. Ironman has extended its brand into shoes, watches, headphones, cereal, power bars, sports drinks and clothing. Not only has it’s brand become synonomous with inspiration, but also with accomplishment – which is its main draw for participants. Who would pay a $500+ entry fee, sacrifice 9-12 months of their life to train and then purchase on average $3000-$10000 in equipment to go through 8-17 hours of pain on race day. Although not as widely known as Harley, Ironman has achieved cult-like status, to the people who are called by its brand name.

By tapping into the psychological aspects of the personality, companies can have a greater understanding into their customer’s motivations and triggers.  So to that end it pays to do upfront research on your brand before crafting it.

The question remains, did Harley and Ironman purposely craft their brands in this way? Can you actually go out and create an iconic brand with a cult-like following? Or did these brands happen serendipitously?

In my next post, I’ll look at the history of both companies and seek to discover how these two brands have achieved iconic status.


Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
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How to Design a Great Logo in 7 Steps

By Brand Development, Logo Design

Several times a year I am commissioned to design a logo. Projects run the gamut in subject matter, and  I often find myself biting my lip because I’m not inspired by what the brand, product or service stands for — these projects are priced accordingly or turned down. However in most cases, I’m able to take an idea and run with it, knowing that I can come up with something that meets or exceeds the client’s expectations.

Typically the most difficult projects — the real stumpers — are about subjects that don’t relate to any tangible objects in the real world. It’s much easier to get creative with a person, place or thing than with an idea.  In these cases you have to incorporate related objects to communicate what you are trying to convey. For example lets look at a past project – Noble Plans, a non-profit recruitment agency or RPO.

How do you come up with an icon for Noble? Or Plans? You don’t — it doesn’t exist. The easy way out would be to come up with some typeface and call it good. We solved this problem by using the  “cross meaning” method as a way to communicate the meaning of noble.  ”Cross meaning” is essentially finding something that is similar to the meaning but drawing from another category. So instead of asking what does noble look like — the question becomes, what is noble?

Some examples of Noble may be: A Politician (haha, …no.)? A Knight? A Shield? Perhaps a Lion?

LogoThe answer to the problem was a Lion. It proved to be a good fit to express nobility, integrity and strength.  These were also brand attributes the owners wanted to convey. We then used a strong typeface to reinforce. In the end, not only did the Lion make sense, but it also differientiated the brand in a highly competitive category. We also made sure that within their category, their competitors where not using a Lion.

Really great logo designers typically invoke a high level of cleverness into design. Cleverness is the ability to show inventiveness or originality.

I define creativity as: the capacity and talent of a designer to take shape, color, form, style, imagery and type and transcend those design elements into original, progressive ideas that give the viewer or audience something they have never seen before. Creativity can also influence the purchase decision by causing the viewer to feel enjoyment or satisfaction when encountering a piece of communication. In design, creativity is often restrained to ensure accuracy in communicating with the desired target audience. It can also be repressed by the product or service owner’s idea of how best to present itself. These dynamics determine the level of “punch” of any creative execution.

Remember a logo is much more than just a “logo”  – it’s the number one business asset that allows businesses to compete and differientiate themselves in the marketplace. For small companies, it’s the pivot point that establishes a sense of pride, ownership and foundation.

Below is the process I generally take when designing a logo. Sometimes when I hear the name of the brand, by God’s grace – the idea just pops in my craw, other times — it takes some work and a lot of thought. But the challenge is what keeps me loving what I do – being a designer and a thinker.

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it. – Henry Ford

  1. First things first, start off with word association: Using the Visual Thesaurus tool and Dictionary.com – I will look for words similar to the subject’s name, meaning, industry or any other nouns or adjectives to begin to understand the meaning and potential underlying meanings and how they are percieved.
  2. Begin initial concepts: Based on your initial impressions of the subject, sketch out some rough concepts on paper. I will then look for photographs to bring resolution to the concepts.
  3. Create 3 different categories to design – Abstract, Lettertype and Icon
  4. Textures, Materials and Movement – Can you reinforce your message with any of these elements?
  5. Color & Type – Add the appropriate colors and characters (typeface) based on the directive of the communication.
  6. Presentation – a little trick I use to present logos is to arrange them in a way that builds up to a climax – presenting the weakest designs first and ending with the strongest. Try to also arrange in a professional layout, just don’t throw them at the client all at once. Walk them through your process. This helps create a great presentation and leaves you taking applause at the end.
  7. Recommendation –  Without a solid presentation your best ideas will fall flat. I always give our recommendations on what we’d like to see the client go with and then fight for it. This adds value to the client and helps you to establish more credibility for later projects.
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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.


Ergentus Rollout

Ergentus Rollout Party

By Brand Development

Garrison Everest just completed work on a 10 month brand development project with ESP (Emergency Service Physicians) of Colorado – now named Ergentus. We helped ESP align and brand their 36 year old organization to keep pace with the ever changing health care industry.

Along with a complete brand strategy— the project included a complete redesign of the organization’s corporate identity, website, marketing collateral and scrubs as well as a new name which we designed to more accurately represent who they are as a company.

Ergentus held their official roll out party Friday, April 27th, 2012 in Denver, Colorado where the brand was officially introduced to employees, hospital staff and Exempla leadership.

Ergentus, a group of 65 emergency medicine physicians and physician assistants currently serve at Exempla Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge, Colorado and Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette, Colorado.

Learn more at ergentus.com

Brand Rollout Party

Ergentus Rollout Party