SHIP'S LOG

Charted courses and completed missions from the high seas.

Branding 101

A Rose by Any Other… Naming Your Business

November 10th, 2014

A-rose-by-any-other-naming-your-business

In the words of William Shakespeare, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet?”  Many people think that selecting a name for a business should come naturally and without a lot of work, research, or process. However for most, naming can be a very drawn out and even laborious process.

Here’s a quick list to consider when naming your company.

  • Will the name fit who you are as a business?
  • How will your name resonate with your clients or customers? What will it mean to them?
  • Will the name limit your potential and future growth?
  • Are there any negative connotations to the name?

The right name needs to be timeless and memorable. The name should stand for something unique to your business, your values, and your big picture. Selecting the wrong name may hinder your branding efforts and bottomline for a variety of reasons. While it may not make or break your business, it certainly can make your communication efforts an uphill battle.

Click here for some examples of Companies that have struggled with their names. 

Naming requires a creative, disciplined, but more importantly, a deliberate and strategic approach.
We can help. 


5 Principles of Great Branding Pt. 5: Great Visual Design

November 5th, 2014

MailChimp_3
Image Credit – CBS Outdoors

Today we wrap up our five part series on defining what we believe make up the top five principles of crafting a great brand experience.

5. Great Visual Design 

Often times, this is the most neglected and difficult principal, and yet it is possibly the most important one. The assumption by many is that the message and saturation are the most important elements of branding. However, since we are such a visually saturated culture, in just a matter of seconds, someone is sizing up your brand and deciding whether or not to go further. For this reason, you must ask yourself, do you have distinctiveness and differentiation in the quality of your visual design?

You need to stand out and be distinctive in the minds of your clients through providing a great design experience.

When hiring a creative agency or contractor to help you with your branding needs, and we know this sounds counter-intuitive, but don’t just look at their brand or website design as a deciding factor for whether or not you should work with them. Pay attention to their portfolio in the results and design they’ve achieved for their clients. Chances are if you don’t like the agencies’ work, you are not going to like the work that they do for you, regardless of how cool their website or logo looks.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR GREAT VISUAL DESIGN

Pros – Initiates attention, gets your customers interested and pulls them in to the experience. Great design tells a story that beckons your customers to learn more.

Cons – The danger here is when the creative design experience becomes such a dominate force in the work that it over shadows the needs and desires of what the client hoped to achieve by branding in the first place. Sometimes establishing a visual design can be too conceptual or miss the mark completely.

Application – Crafting a creative design experience isn’t just about being innovative for the sake of being innovative. That’s just showing off. Instead, your firm should collaborate with you to plan a strategy and move forward with a process that works to meet your communication goals. You need to design an experience that people will both enjoy and connect with.

Visual Design Example

We often find ourselves amazed and excited to see what the e-mail marketing platform, MailChimp will come up with next. Their brand has a mascot named Freddie who is a friendly mail delivering chimp that has become an extension of their brand’s personality. MailChimp will take part in traditional advertising, but in a very non-traditional way. Their ads, campaigns and ideas make you work to figure out who this friendly little chimp is. Their campaigns generate buzz and excitement by supportors of the brand as well as people with no exposure to it. We could continue to gush about MailChimp, but you get the gist.

READ ADDITIONAL ARTICLES ON PRINCIPLES OF GREAT BRANDING: 

® 2014 All creative content is the copyrighted property of Atlas Branding and may not be duplicated, manipulated or re-produced in any form without Atlas’s pre-approved consent. 


5 Principles of Great Branding Pt. 4: Character

October 16th, 2014

Zappos-Company-Culture
Image Credit – Zappos and Entrepreneur

Today we continue our five part series on defining what we believe make up the top five principles of crafting a great brand experience.

4. Character

Character is the moral and ethical center of your brand. This can include your brand’s values as well as your reputation within the community. Get to know who your business is in the minds of your customers and clients. It may be different then how you and your staff perceive it.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR CHARACTER

Pros – In tandem with connection and relevance, character allows you to humanize your business. This can start a movement among your loyal fans as they grow to believe in your brand, your values and support it. They connect with your company or product because they believe you deliver on your promises.

Cons – One can abuse character when you oversell your character to the point of being viewed as sanctimonious and self-righteous by the public. Or, if you lack follow through, you may be seen as a hypocrite and inauthentic.

Application – Character is challenging as you can’t always control what your customers think of you and how they will talk about you to others. That said, you can be clear and honest about your story communicating it in your actions and follow through in how you conduct your business.

Character Example

One example we come back to regularly is Zappos.com, an online shoe and apparel company that is committed to its  10 core values and working hard to deliver WOW through customer service. In everything Zappos does, it puts the customers and employees first. It creates an amazing customer culture where people desire to work and that comes through in how the employees interact with each and every customer.

READ ADDITIONAL ARTICLES ON PRINCIPLES OF GREAT BRANDING: 

® 2014 All creative content is the copyrighted property of Atlas Branding and may not be duplicated, manipulated or re-produced in any form without Atlas’s pre-approved consent. 


5 Principles of Great Branding Pt. 3: Connection

September 23rd, 2014

High-Five-Coffee-Brand-Connection

Image Credit – High Five Coffee Instagram

Today we continue our five part series on defining what we believe make up the top five principles of having a great brand experience.

3. Connection

Connection is the ability to communicate with your customers and clients on a number of levels. People absorb ideas and meaning in different ways. Some are drawn to the overall experience, some to design, and others to quality of service. Your brand should work to connect with the head and the heart.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR CONNECTION

Pros – 
This helps your brand to define, sustain, and foster a sense of community with your customers and clients. When they connect with your brand, they are more likely to feel like they align with your values and continue to buy from and support you.

Cons – There is always a danger that this could at some point garner a sense of exclusivity or a kind of cliquishness.

Application –  If your brand connection ends up becoming a cliché, you may isolate potential clients, offend people, and end up really hurting your business reputation. When considering this principle, make sure that in connecting with your niché market, you aren’t doing it at the expense of another market.

Connection Example

In 2012 the Dripolator, an Asheville coffee shop owned by Jay Weatherly rebranded to High Five Coffee Bar. The idea for the name came from Jay’s wife Kim in noticing that her friendly husband gave out a lot of high fives through out the course of the day. The overall goal for the rebrand was to connect with their customers by building a tribe or “hive” into their brand and working in characteristics of their existing culture.

READ ADDITIONAL ARTICLES ON PRINCIPLES OF GREAT BRANDING: 

® 2014 All creative content is the copyrighted property of Atlas Branding and may not be duplicated, manipulated or re-produced in any form without Atlas’s pre-approved consent. 


5 Principles of Great Branding Pt. 2: Relevance

September 5th, 2014

CHIPOTLE

Image Credit – A Story About Chipotle’s Non-traditional Marketing Strategy,” by Mike Schoultz

Today we continue our five part series on defining what we believe make up the top five principles of having a great brand experience.

2. Relevance

Is the brand going to be appropriate for your communication goals, customers, and your cultural climate? Will your customers be able to connect with your business because it is pertinent to their needs and values?

CONSIDERATIONS FOR RELEVANCE

 Pros – This enables you to have a brand that is current and relatable to customers within your industry, their culture, interest and values. You can feel when your business is relevant because you hear your customers speak of your services/products like it’s something they’ve discovered, or they tell what value your business brings to their life.

Cons – Relevance is something you have to cultivate and always stay on top of. Since relevance can be limited by time or fashion there is always a danger of the loss of relevance. However, you also can try so hard to be relevant that you end up becoming irrelevant. This happens when the brand is so trendy that it becomes a novelty, which can become dated faster than normal and therefore rendered irrelevant.

Application – If you lose your relevance, you run the risk of losing some of your customers. This is because your brand or services will be perceived as dated or unnecessary, whether they truly are or not. You don’t want to be delivering ice while your competition is delivering refrigerators.

One of the bests things you can do to avoid irrelevance is staying in regular conversation and dialog with your customers. Ask them questions and be willing to hear what they have to say; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Relevant Example

Chipotle is our pick for an example of a company that continually works on their relevance. Within the farm-to-table, buy local movement, this franchise of Mexican Grills works hard to buy meat that is free of antibiotics, locally farmed and responsibly sourced. Their overarching goal is to cultivate a better world.

READ ADDITIONAL ARTICLES ON PRINCIPLES OF GREAT BRANDING: 

® 2014 All creative content is the copyrighted property of Atlas Branding and may not be duplicated, manipulated or re-produced in any form without Atlas’s pre-approved consent.