Two great sources concerning brand managment

Here are two blogs I recommend highly for meaty content on branding. Whether you’re a pro or tyro, you’ll find good info at Branding Strategy Insider and at HBS Working Knowledge

Here are a couple of examples of their articles on brand management:

Brand Management: The Hilfiger Lessons

But then came the new century, and Hilfiger struggled to maintain the momentum. Tommy would learn some of the key lessons of brand management the hard way. First, growth and success are the two biggest enemies of all strong brands. …

Sharpening Your Skills: Brand Management

Questions to be Answered. Does branding work for business-to-business marketing? Can individuals create their own brand? Should I trust my brand to a sports personality? How should I think about brand dilution? …

I’m sure you’ll find yourself returning to both these sites if you’re really serious about branding issues.

Martin Jelsema

Logo design guidelines abet a strong brand

Unless you’re a graphics designer, you may never design a brand’s logo. But it doesn’t hurt to know the “rules” of good logo design. You can use them in evaluating proposed designs, and you might use them when interviewing logo designers for an assignment.

Jeff Fisher’s LogoMotives logoThat’s what today’s entry is about: logo design rules.

Jeff Fisher, Engineer of Creative Identity, at Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, has compiled the thoughts of several logo designers of his acquaintance about the rules or guidelines they will normally apply to designing a logo.

You can see the entire article by clicking logo design.

I derived three rules the designers seemed to agree upon, and strangely enough, so do I. They are:

1) Begin with a creative brief of some sort. Be sure you know the vision, mission, goals and capabilities of the client. Define your major markets. Determine the “tone” you wish the logo to possess. Know the applications the logo might find itself applied to.

2) Start “doodling” designs in pencil and in black and white. The pencil gives you freedom to sketch and refine without the “discipline” of computer design software. Once you’re ready to prepare “comps”, use a vector-based program (Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, Macromedia Freehand or Xara Extreme). But continue to design in black on white. (Adding color(s) can clearly enhance the design, but the logo will also be required in the one-color version first. If it works in black and white, it’ll work in color.)

3) Keep the designs simple. There’s the temptation to use all the features of a full-fledged design program – gradient fills, drop shadows, extrusions and the like. You also want to keep the number of elements and colors to a minimum.

Another “rule” I impose on logo designs: Don’t resort to incorporating a name’s initials. Monograms are fun and visually appealing, but unless your company name is made up of initials only – a bad idea to start with – they direct people to use the “shorthand” instead of the name you so lovingly crafted.

And then the article discusses the need to know when to break the rules.

Incidentally, Jeff Fisher’s blog is filled with good advice about logos and other aspects of branding and graphics. I recommend it.

Martin Jelsema

Differetiating your brand – Own a desirable attribute

I’ve written several blogs about how important differentiating your brand is, and how a differentiation strategy should be included in your strategic brand platform. I offered several approaches, and here’s yet another one.

You can differentiate your brand by owning an attribute.

Here you concentrate on a particular characteristic of your offering, whether that be a product or a service. That’s just what Volvo has done, and the attribute they own is safety. Continue reading Differetiating your brand – Own a desirable attribute

Beware of naming your company with over-used words

There are some words that have been endlessly abused and are no longer fit for human consumption. They’ve become stale and meaningless.

Some words can put you to sleepAnd in that class are words that end up in generic-type company names.

You know those names: they usually consist of three multisyllabic words that attempt to describe the business and at the same time make the company appear to be at the top of their category. These names start with or contain overworked words like “Quality”, Precision”, Performance, “Advanced”. Continue reading Beware of naming your company with over-used words

Differentiate your brand by being first.

One of the most important “ingredients” in your brand platform is a definition of how you will differentiate your brand from competitive brands.

It was first in its timeAnd, according to Trout and Rivkin in the book, Differentiate or Die, one of the most powerful differentiators is being first in your product category or industry.

Now obviously only one brand can legitimately claim to be first. But if you can reposition your product or service into a new category, you can be first.

Here’s an example: Continue reading Differentiate your brand by being first.

Rebranding the Wall Street Journal

The “new” Wall Street Journal debuted last week.

Hawkin’ newspapersIt features a broader editorial policy with increased “focus” on politics and international news, and on weekends, sports and culture.

I’ve blogged before about this transition. I think it a mistake.

Rupert Murdoch, the WSJ owner responsible for the redesign, wanted the Journal to compete with the New York Times rather than focus on its “traditional, pin-striped base,” according to Johnnie L. Roberts, a reporter for Newsweek. Continue reading Rebranding the Wall Street Journal