12 January 2014

Weekender: Corporate Branding Relevancy for Start-ups

I always liked to spend my Sundays to enrich myself. Whether it's through reading, exploring new places, going to museums or galleries, listening to Monocle 24 and just browsing through articles on the net. I found that I enjoyed my weekend best when I am inspired and enriched, therefore I have more excitement to apply my new knowledge and flourishing thoughts to start the week on Monday.

This week, I have been truly absorbed in the subject of corporate branding. Particularly, I have been flicking through the pages of Brand! VOL. 5, published by a Hong Kong publisher ooogo.

(Image courtesy of ooogo)

What intrigued me the most is their insights to Lippincott, a brand strategy and design firm with over 70 years experience. That's quite an amazing record, isn't it. Their clients include 3M, Hyatt, Samsung and Starbucks; brands that not only last but also dwell in people's unconsciousness. It is interesting how they said that one of their competitive advantages would be to holistically combine business-based strategic thinking and design excellence that turns brand possibilities into business results. Something that not every design firm would be able to do, nor business consulting firms. And that to me is a fair competence because in the end, business result is one of the things that we can assess. 

Another point that resonates is that we use brands as shortcuts in our purchasing behavior because they reduce the risk of making the wrong choice when we select the products and services we deem necessary in our lifestyle. It is for this reason that they are so valuable in business, precisely because they help to overcome the commodity status (as quoted from Lippincott). True that. I have always kept a believe at the back of my mind that everything without brand is commodity. Then I kept thinking... Hm... Then Muji has got to be one of the greatest brands of all, because they are a no brand!

A brand has a multitude of touch points, where each of those points needs to resonate with the core of the brand itself. It is everything from  your visual language, your tone of voice, logo, color scheme, imagery, graphics and typography. By doing so, so have created a system for your brand to operate without the worry of who will be operating it. A benefit that would be highly relevant for enterprises. 

When you are starting small, these things need not to be that elaborate, but you have to create a firm base for these points to be further developed. There are a lot of gaps still in applying corporate branding strategy to start-ups or small businesses, but there is nothing wrong in setting up a strong foundation. Always, there are so many things we can learn from the seniors, so let's get our homework done and fill in what's still missing! Big brands were once small too ;)

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