Saturday, March 19, 2011

How to name a Business or a Brand ?

As a Brand Consultant, I meet a lot of people working on their start-ups or products and also re-branding their 'business'. Most often, the way they choose the names for their businesses is anything but logical. It is usually a name suggested by a friend, the name of their first child or even a suggestion from their old grandmother. While trying to make the Business as unique and 'their own', people seem to forget the Science of naming and how this influences their business at large.

The name of a Business or a Brand goes a long way in its perception in various market and social scenarios. Naming, therefore is a strategic exercise than a something you do before running to the printer to get your business cards done. The more thought you give to it, the better. Here are a few things to be kept in mind while choosing a name for a business.

Clarity: If you want your customers to understand the meaning or message of your brand and this is important to your business, then make sure the name and the message is as clear as possible. For instance, if you sell herbal beauty products and your brand is named after the greek goddess of beauty, then try to make this communication as clear as possible in your by-lines, sales literature and the design of the logo itself. Dont try to use too many elements in your design of the logo and the description of the product or business, it is confusing.

Audience: Like I always say, your brand exists in the minds of your customers, employees, distributors, investors and other stakehholders. Your job is to communicate this brand and its image to them. Everything you do in your business contributes to your brand value and the way it is perceived. An understanding of your target audience, in this case all the people in the above list is ideal in working out a great name for a brand. You want to be sure that your name communicates the right message to the right people, and for this reason understanding your audience is important. Think exposure, education, lifestyles, tastes and anything else that will let you understand them better.

Cultural Context: This is of atmost importance when you are trying to target differnt markets and mixed demographics. What does your brand name mean to people in other places, cultures, languages and countries. If your research shows that the name means anything other than what you want it to say, its time to re-think. The 'Cock Flavored' soup from Jamaica featured here is a classic example of lack of research or ignorance.

Remember, your Brand & the image is here to stay. So make sure the name works for you in the long run. If you are planning to expand to another product range or enter a new segment or try different marketing channels in the future, your name should work seemlessly through all these efforts.

More on How to name your Business or Brand later.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Brand Communication through workspace graphics

Space is the brand new medium for the message in corporate interiors, and innovative graphics are showing the way says brand and communication designer Amee Nagraj.

The writing is on the wall…and the floors, the windows, the ceilings, and many other surfaces: interior designers and architects who still think of a space's graphics program as merely providing a basic way finding system are missing the opportunity to connect with end users and spread the brand message.

More and more people are realizing that a workspace can be thought of as a medium of communication. Clients today are very interested in the idea of how their spaces can be actively used to communicate the company’s ethos, values.

While the use of graphics in architecture isn't new - think about the facades of centuries old cathedrals and how their sculptures tell a story - today, the ways in which graphics are being incorporated into interiors and architecture run the gamut from dominant typography or large-scale photographs to interactive installations and digital signage both in the interiors as well as the fa├žade. This is particularly evident today where corporates prefer to occupy entire buildings – here typically, graphics are used to brand the facade. Yet graphics are not just some sort of print on a wall; they also provide information, whether it's way finding, storytelling, navigation, or just a unique aesthetic experience. Even in terms of material and media there is no stone left unturned. From vinyls to films to fabrics… everything is used innovatively as a medium for a message.

Not only are the means of incorporating graphics into projects continually evolving, but also the point at which the graphic designer enters the design process. Today's way finding solutions and graphic elements are anything but generic templates. Graphic designers are not always brought in at the initial planning stage of an interior space; but for certain types of projects they are involved very early, which allows for greater flexibility. Even if the exact imagery or typography may not be finalized at this stage, designers know how they want to use them in the given space. The earlier one starts thinking about the project's individual message and how graphics may interact with the architecture to convey this information, the better. The hardest part is getting the graphics and the architecture to work together; but if one plans it from the beginning, the hardest part is already done. Tightening budgets may see graphics playing an even greater role in projects in the future. It's a lot less expensive to change a space using graphics than it is using bricks and mortar.

Overall graphics in workspaces offer a unique experience. Office areas such as the reception, conference and meeting rooms, lobbies, etc can display appropriate brand messages for visitors, while internal areas such as work and dining spaces can be motivating and energizing for the employees. The experience is unique primarily because the branding integrated with the interior design customizes the space for a specific brand and goes far beyond being just another well-designed space with a classy finish.

Source: Accenture - Vaahini

Friday, January 7, 2011

The New Starbucks Identity

Does the future of striking brand personality lie in 'minimalism'? At least Starbucks thinks so. The worlds largest coffeehouse company has just unleashed their new corporate image. But Starbucks fanatics do not seem to be very impressed. There has been over 150 responses on the company's website asking for the Seattle company name to be reinstated. It is true that the company or brand name plays a significant role in a brand image. I wonder how Starbucks will make its presence felt in the new markets? I'm sure there are people who've heard of Starbucks but are not familiar with their logo. Now, how would they react if Starbucks moved to their town with this new logo which does not have their name in it. Isn't Brand perception lost at some level then? Riding on the assumed brand awareness is a bold move to make when you're targeting new markets. Especially, when every traditional and new media is saturated with brands competing for attention.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Clarity of Visual Design

Clarity should be the prime focus of any design for visual communication.
A Design has to Communicate effectively. It has to convey the message Clearly.

A Signage for example has to break the barriers of culture and language and convey the message clearly, communicate at a level that can be easily understood by people of various backgrounds, cultures and exposure. This realm of interpretation is mostly at a subconscious level, a paradigm that helps people to navigate and communicate in this world. This has perhaps evolved with humanity itself and is remodeled everyday by every single visual input one gets in day-to-day life. Put simply, it tells us what we are looking at.

Visual Design should focus on the 'message' and find ways to develop a solution that would comply to the laws that govern human interpretation in a visual world.

Colors for instance mean different things in different cultures. A Bride in the west is dressed in white, this symbolizes her purity, but in India a lady dressed in 'all white' is the widow. Such is the difference in the symbolism of colors in various cultures. A color scheme of a Design should therefore either surpasses cultural significance or thrive as an independent entity that has no symbolic association whatsoever.

Design therefore has the strength to remodel believes, shape perspectives, to educate, even change how we communicate. If it is designed to communicate, then it has to be 'clear'. If there was no clarity, then there was no communication.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Images & Words

A Series on perpetual calmness in sorrow and wandering nature of the mind