Branding / Design Strategy / Rebranding

How and when to rebrand your business

Over time, every business evolves. Maybe that’s simply adding new products to your ecommerce business, or having a wider range of services, exploring new markets or changing your customer niche. When that happens, you might be thinking about changing certain things within the business, in order to attract a new audience, or to express a new image entirely.

Perhaps the rebranding of a business is the most common way to realign your image and ethos – especially if you’ve been established for a long time and your current image just doesn’t fit with where you are right now. If your image is old and tired, you might be considering bringing it more up to date, to give a more contemporary image in order to attract a new generation of client.

Is your branding good enough?

Perhaps the first thing you need to think about is how effective your current branding is, and why you feel that you want to rebrand now. Evaluating your current brand is the first step in the process, and rating the overall brand and then looking at each element can help you to decide the steps you need to take, and what (if anything) already works well.

Ask yourself these questions;

Does your brand have meaning? In other words, when people see your brand, do they immediately know what it is that you do? Does it grab attention, and let your customers know who you are?

Is it different? As well as being in line with your ethos, ask yourself if your branding stands out. If the colours, fonts, voice and tone are generic, you’ll look and sound just like everyone else – people need to be able to recognise you, so stand out!

Is it sustainable? Think about longevity. Just because your branding is on-trend now, that doesn’t mean it will be in ten years’ time. A good brand should be future-proof, and if the brand you have right now looks dated and old-fashioned, that’s a big warning flag, and a sign that you need to update it.

If you’ve answered YES to all of those, then you’re on the right track. But if they’ve thrown light on anything that puts doubt in your mind, you can start to think about which elements of your branding are not working, or even embarking on a whole rebrand throughout.

Elements of design in rebranding

I’ve spoken about this in more depth in my previous article, but I’ll just touch on some of it again. Because I find that many businesses misunderstand what branding actually is. Good branding encapsulates all the elements of your business – it’s far from just having a cool logo.

Yes, it might start with your logo, after all, it is an essential part of your branding and can set the tone for everything else within your business. For example, your logo will appear on almost all of the other elements of your marketing, including your website, email signature, letterhead, business cards, brochures, invoices, and shop front, if you have one.

But this essential element should be used to tie in with everything else, and it all needs to be kept consistent.

Think also about your tone – this is something I often see businesses getting wrong. The voice you use for your web content should be mirrored on your social media and printed material, and should match your overall image. For example, if your brand image is contemporary and youthful, your voice should always reflect that.

Don’t forget the re-launch

After your rebrand is complete, use the opportunity to launch your new brand image – this has a couple of benefits. Firstly, it reminds your customers to acknowledge your fresh presence, and it promotes you to potential new audiences.

Promote your new images on all of your social media channels, and share offline too. If you can use the opportunity to launch a new blog at the same time, then that’s even better – as this will also serve to let your audience know that you are actively making efforts to keep in touch with them on a more personal level.

The Severn Agency can help you in creating your new branding strategy. If you would like to talk to us about how you can refresh your branding, or would like advice on your current branding, please give us a call.

Design: ©Newell & Sorrell
Branding / Graphic Design / Logo Design / Rebranding

Your logo – the face of your brand.

Often, your logo is the first image people see. It’s the one piece of your branding that people make their first judgement on, and can be the difference in attracting customers, or not.

While it is only one element of your overall branding, it’s a really important one to get right. Because aside from the message it sends out to your customers, it also sets the precedent for the rest of your branding, your image, and even your voice.

Your logo, in a way, is the very personality of a business. It’s the image that people will most remember, the one they will expect to see when they visit you, on- and offline.

Creating a logo – a designer’s view

When people approach me and my team at The Severn Agency to create their company logo, they expect it to be a quick process, because ideally, they want something simple and unfussy – but it’s a process that takes more time than they realise to get right.

The process starts with a conversation. I want to get a feel for what the company represents; and that means getting to know the people behind the brand, how they see the business or product range, and the type of audience they want to attract.

From those conversations, we start to collate ideas in the form of a mood board, collecting examples of colours, styles, symbols – and we ask them to do the same. Sometimes the client doesn’t want to do that, they just want us to get on with the job – and that’s ok, but it’s always really useful to have a visual idea of what’s in the client’s mind.

In my opinion, the most effective logos are those with a symbol which includes the name, or the name as text with a treatment added, not just an icon with the name typed next to it – I always try to do them like this but it isn’t always possible.

My five favourite logo creations

It’s always hard to choose favourites. Every project is different, and as a designer, you tend to put a lot of yourself into them. But saying that, there are always the ones that you remember. The ones that bring a smile when you remember working on them, and that you feel proud to have created. And these are the ones that do that for me.

Iron and Rose: The client asked me if I could make it look like a seal or stamp, something to give it a sense authority. The central icon represents the rose but we added the small rivet onto the flower head to suggest it’s made from cast iron. The deep red/purple comes from the colour of the wine…

Glouglou: It’s a strange word which we thought sounded squashy or liquid. We hand drew it so it looked more flexible, and made the letters all individual. Originally it was just going to be the lettering, but at the last minute the client asked for some sort of symbol to be included. It was difficult to get something to fit into the shape, so we played with the sizes to create a gap into which we could add something. The shape doesn’t really stand for anything definite; the viewer can interpret it as whatever they want it to be: a tap, a flower or just a splat or spill of liquid.

Concrete Futures: This was one was at the start of the year for an exhibition stand at Futurebuild. The letter shapes show a cut through representing a rising bar, moving forward, onwards and upwards, etc.

Cafe Concrete: A project for the same client as above – this one was for an event, a series of lectures promoting the use of concrete in architecture. The logo is a strong cast block which is, unusually, used as large as possible every time.

Ashmolean Museum: The three blocks come from the curve of a ridged column at the entrance to the museum – as the column curves towards you, perspective makes the ridge wider as it comes forwards. The type and layout of the logo gives it a Romanesque look to match their building, they didn’t go for it anyway…

All of these logo designs are simple concepts, yet portray the essence and personality of the brand. It’s important when people see the logo, they get a sense of what the company does, who they are, and that then spills out into the rest of their branding.

Branding / Graphic Design / Logo Design / Rebranding

Branding – it’s more than just a logo

Some people think that when they start a business, they just need a simple logo, a half decent website, and customers will come in droves. However, there’s so much more to it than that – these days, competition between businesses is sharp, and in order to stand out, and to succeed, your branding needs to be strong.

Since starting the Severn Agency, I’ve seen my fair share of branding, and in fact, when I’ve had the opportunity to work with new businesses in creating their branding as a whole, that’s when I’ve been able to create some of my best work. I talked about this a bit in my last article, where I told you about how I came to create the branding for a local wine bar.

So, let’s think about this in a slightly wider sense – how, as a small business, or a start-up, do you begin with creating a brand?

What branding isn’t

People often mistake the logo for a brand. They believe that by designing a simple logo, choosing some pretty colours and an image that vaguely represents what they’re about, their work is done, and they can sit back and wait for the customers to come.

Sorry to say, that won’t cut it. Your logo is just one tiny element in the whole branding process – and even that is so easy to get wrong.

I’ve seen so many mistakes made by companies who have put their logo on the top of a website, their social media outlets, and their printed material, and then have failed to recognise that the rest of their image is so shoddy and inconsistent that it just ends up falling flat – and when it does, any potential customers are turned off and take their money elsewhere.

Branding takes thought. It needs to reflect who you are, what you do, and what you stand for. And all of those things need to be apparent to anyone who reads your content online, sees your social media posts, or receives an email or brochure from you. If they visit your premises, they should immediately know where they are, because they recognise your branding.

What branding is

If I had to sum up what branding is in one word: consistency. Your brand should be instantly recognisable, whether you’re seen online, in print, or on the high street.

As a branding agency, I consider the whole business. What do I mean by that? Well, I mean that learning about the personality of the business, who you are, and what you represent, is always my first priority. Because without that, I can’t imagine what your brand will be.

I need to know the essence of what your company is, and only then can I start to put together what your branding should look like.

So, what do I mean by branding? The logo, although it’s an element, is not necessarily where I begin. Branding encapsulates the entire image – and that includes many elements, from the colours that you use, the fonts and image styles, the tone and voice portrayed in all of your content. It’s all of the visual elements, the corporate style, even the materials you use for your printed content.

Branding and design

Design is more than just an image – it’s the ambassador of your brand. As such, your branding should communicate your message, and that’s really where a branding designer comes in.

A good branding agency will be able to establish your brand personality, and pull everything together to make it visually beautiful, appealing, and most importantly, consistent.

And in doing so, no matter what medium your customers choose to find you, it will be immediately obvious by your branding who you are.