We were sitting together at a table talking about branding.
And covering the same topic that we'd had over and over again. Seriously, it was like the fifth time we'd talked about branding for his company. But it didn't matter because if you don't get the basics right, you'll open yourself up to a lot of hurt.
The first conversation we had focused on the difference between a branded house and a house of brands. It's exactly what it sounds like. A branded house means you push all your energy to branding a single entity (like Apple) and every product and service carries the brand forward. A house of brands is different – the focus is on the product brands rather than the parent. Glad trash bags are from Glad. And Pine-Sol comes from Pine-Sol. Except that both are Clorox brands.
In the case of that first conversation, we just circled the topic forever, because my client had two product lines. And wasn't sure which strategy was best. I can tell you this – never pick a strategy simply because Apple does it. 🙂
Your branding strategy has to be your own.
The second and third conversations had to do with brand personality. You know, things related to the “tone” or “approach” that you take as you express your brand. It answers things like how you write the copy on your website. Do you use sarcasm? Do you boast you're the best? Do you use split infinitives? (Just kidding, that's not a thing you really have to worry about.)
Your brand personality has to be your own.
The fourth and fifth conversation had to do with logos and taglines.
And let me just say this – your logo isn't your brand. In fact, these days, your brand is more the product of what your customers say about you than it is about what you say about yourself.
Five conversations to make sure their company was really clear on branding. And the result was a brand that was embraced by their customers until they sold their company, several years ago.
Here's my question
How many conversations have you had about your branding?
Let's back up. Have you thought much about your branding? Or have you only focused on your logo? Have you thought about your brand's personality?
Have you thought about the various touch points where your brand interacts with prospects and clients?
Are you shaping those experiences so that they reinforce (rather than erode) your overall brand message?
Ok, so maybe that was a lot of questions, rather than just one.
But they're important.
Guess who's been asking brand questions?
If you hadn't been paying attention, James Laws has been working on WP Ninjas (the company behind those two products) to help it produce both their Forms and their Demo products for the WordPress ecosystem.
And recently James decided to spend some time on a re-brand – trying to pull the products closer in an effort to build a cohesive brand (you might recall that initially the demo product had a different name).
So a few months ago, he called up the good folks from Focus Lab – because they do (among other things) brand work.
And today they launch their new brand, along with several product logos, and a brand architecture that's ready for more products (but don't rush James, he just recently became a father!).
How does this help you?
What I've found to be true is that once someone takes the first step, they discover tons of others who have questions about it because they've been thinking about it too.
There's not been a lot of folks who have done brand refreshes in the WordPress ecosystem. I got to be a part of a few, but more often than not, I hear people talk about wanting to do something but not knowing where to start.
So now that you know about James and the WP Ninjas brand refresh, you know who to go to with your questions.
Or maybe you hit up Focus Lab and ask them questions.
And of course, you can also call up my friend Chris, who does a lot of brand work with folks just like you.
Either way, I hope you get a chance this week to reflect on the benefits of a brand refresh to tighten up your image, your messaging, and ultimately, your results.
Even if it takes you five (or six, or seven) conversations about branding to get it right.