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Developing a new brand – Don’t let your heart rule your head

Date Posted: 09/08/2011 10:12:11
Posted By: Geometry PR

Creating a new business or developing a new brand is one of the most exciting and fulfilling exercises you can embark on. Creating something from nothing is always a challenge, but to create something successful in the digital age you need to think less about what appeals to you emotionally, and more about what actually works in the 21st Century internet age.

Prior to the Digital Revolution things were so much easier. You picked a name, worked on the aesthetic and hoped for the best. If the brand suited your company, service or product, and appealed to your market, you will have essentially hit the mark.

That was before the business world became dominated by search engines, URLs and email.

Today, you need to think long and hard about your brand and to research and plan carefully to ensure you don’t get caught out further down the line. Here is a beginners’ guide to some of the key considerations if you are looking to develop a new brand:

THE NAME

It’s no longer good enough to pluck a name out of thin air or settle on a name simply because you are emotionally involved. You need to think about whether the URL is available, whether the name will perform well in search engines, and of course whether you clash with other brands.

As an example, if you were to launch a ‘green’ brand and you liked the name ‘Good Earth’ because it epitomized how you feel, you would be faced with a veritable mountain of obstacles to establishing your brand.

Firstly, the words ‘Good Earth’ together have already been used for a number of businesses, organisations and projects, from a top London restaurant, to a tea company, to an electrical organisation, to a book, and even a 1937 film. The chances of successfully launching your similarly named brand against such an army of similar names is minimal.

Leaving aside the fact that all of the ‘Good Earth’ URLs have already been taken (leaving you to have to pick from poor and difficult to read alternatives such as ‘goodearthproducts’ or ‘goodearthuk’), the words ‘Good’ and ‘Earth’ separately are used so widely that your chances of getting a good Google ranking are also slim. It can be done, but would require an unrealistic effort to achieve - effort which could be avoided if you were smarter with your name choice.

To avoid such frustrations, do your research online. Look for names which are not frequently used or mixtures of words which aren’t often seen together. Test your choices in Google to see what results crop up and where your challenges to good ranking lie. Most importantly, check to see what URLs are available. If you stumble across a range of available, easy-to -remember URLs using a word or words which work well in Google and which space between you and other brands, snap the URLs up quickly.

THE AESTHETIC

This is often where many new brand owners get it wrong and set themselves up for difficulties in distributing the brand identity online.

When developing your logo and aesthetic you need to think about all of the ways in which your logo will need to be used in the digital age. It’s no longer the case that your logo will only need to appear on printed material. You need to ensure that your logo works in a range of sizes for use on websites and in emails.

Remember that designers tend to design from the heart and for themselves and all-too-often don’t consider the likely uses of the logo. OK, so your new logo might look great full screen on their Apple laptop, but how does it look when it is reduced to just 88 x 31 pixels (the minimum official micro banner size as defined by The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) [see www.iab.net]

Instruct your designer to develop a logo which works with all IAB sizes. Also, make sure the designer delivers something which works on a range of coloured backgrounds, from black to white and all colours in between. If your logo only works on black, it is going to look messy and out of place if a news website wants to put your logo into a story.

Finally, think about having an icon which either forms the basis of your logo, or which can be extracted. We’ve all seen the little square Twitter, Facebook and Blog logos which appear all over the Internet. Increasingly, big professional brands are using icons which can also be reduced to small squares to sit alongside the Twitter and Facebook logos. The Nike ‘tick’ icon works in this case. The words ‘John’s Fish Emporium’ doesn’t.

These are just a few of the fundamentals which need to be considered when developing a successful and easy-to-market brand. It’s not impossible, but it does take thought and research. Don’t let your heart rule your head. Fire up Google and do your research.