Small organisations, with frequently small budgets, sometimes see branding as a luxury item; something to be considered once the growing pains are out of the way. Important, but not as important as making sure the core services are delivered and the consumers are happy.

 

We think that is shortsighted, and furthermore believe effective branding is particularly important for smaller organisations.

 

(Small) brand design matters. Here is why.

 

    • The moment an organisation is created, a brand is created. The name? Branding. The way you respond to your emails? Branding. The variable isn’t whether a brand exists but the variable quality of the brand. A strategy is necessary to at least unify the way an organisation will come across to the world. The more time spent on it in the first instance, the better. Vague, or mixed, brand design is the result of a lack of direction. No brand guidelines will reveal nothing (beyond the fact no effort has been put into the brand) about the organisation or the values that lie behind it.

 

    • A new organisation normally starts with zero custom and zero credibility. Effective brand design won’t gift customers but it can add credibility. If the organisation takes itself (and its branding) seriously, potential customers are also more likely to.

 

    • Credibility is closely linked to stability. Whether we are giving money to a charity, entrusting a law firm with our affairs or turning up for a first job interview, we crave stability in the organisations we deal with. Branding is a necessary first step toward achieving the appearance of stability.

 

    • Successful brands (of any size organisation) orchestrate their core messages in an attempt to embed in the memory of consumers. Without a brand strategy, messages are mixed and make it harder for the end user to relate an organisation with what it does.

 

    • An organisation can, of course, do a very good job without an overarching brand direction. The product or service can be brilliant and leave a very positive memory even if the brand design is a bit haphazard. But without an effective brand it is harder for the happy consumer to remember the brand and, ultimately to choose it again or recommend it to others.

 

  • Finally, first appearances count. The visual element of branding is so important because we read visual cues long before we get to the blurb. In Brand Romance, Yasushi Kusume and Neil Gridley compare the first sight of a brand with the first time you meet and fall in love with a person: Do you remember the first time you saw them? Before you actually met them? They very probably made some impression on you with their appearance. Perhaps it was their face, or another part of their body, or even what they were wearing that day… We believe that exactly the same idea applies to a brand and a brand proposition. And it explains why a brand should apply design thinking and capability to give it a striking appearance – an appearance that not only makes it irresistible to those who encounter it, but also forces them to engage fully with each and every one of its touchpoints.