How To Craft A Brand

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09_24_13_OpinionSeries_BestSellingVodka_1.jpg

A brand used to be a logo, it used to be packaging and heritage built over time. Today this is no longer enough. Today, this is only the foundation of a brand. Today your brand needs to communicate more…

Learn how to craft a brand with Founder of London Studio, Ben Johnston.

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Great brands are stories, they are sets of expectations and they are the reason why one product is chosen over another. Successful brands are crafted, planned, engineered and refined – and guess what? Your product is in competition with great brands. You are the guardian of your brand, you need to protect it, refine it and distill it. To do this you will need to answer a few difficult questions along the way.

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10_03_13_OpinionSeries_BenJohnston_2.jpg

Is your brand trustworthy?

What is the most important thing a consumer needs to know about Coca Cola? Maybe its innovative bottle shape or clever slogan 'Open Happiness'. Is it Coke’s market share, or the value it provides to the caffeine deprived? Probably not. The most important thing is trust. You trust that your bottle of Coke will taste like a Coke. It will quench your thirst and please your palate. You trust that it will deliver on your expectations.

Ask yourself: What aspect of your product can your consumers begin to trust? Are you consistent? In your marketing, your advertisements and your packaging? Are you telling stories your consumers can relate to, stories they want to hear and stories that persuade? Or are you listing specifications? Your products need to feel like they belong in your brand. Have your products earned their place in your brand? Or have they been isolated by inconsistency. Are you making something remarkable? Products that are worth talking about and get talked about? Word of mouth (or mouse) is now what consumers trust. So give them something worth talking about.

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10_03_13_OpinionSeries_BenJohnston_3.jpg

Does your product stand for quality?

If not, why not? Racing to the bottom is not the way to craft a strong brand; it is the way to craft a cheap brand. A brand customers don't value and a brand competitors can easily undercut. Do you value design? Be bold and create remarkable products by using design to craft the smallest of their details. Craft the feel of your product, not just its look; craft its story, don't just list its specifications. Focus groups and product research have a place, but remember a design that tries to please everyone impresses no one. Design something bold, something distinctive, something that will become a brand. How do you stack up? Where is your product positioned compared to its competitors? Does your product stand out in the market? Do something different by innovating carefully to give value to your customers and this will create value in your brand.

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10_03_13_OpinionSeries_BenJohnston_4.jpg

What is your unique value proposition?

What makes your product stand out? Distill these attributes and state them proudly. The first glimpse at your product must captivate the viewer, intrigue them and persuade them to lift your pack off the shelf, to ask a question or to read the back of the pack. This is done with simplicity and focus of message rather than masses of un-inspired content. Do you value your product’s heritage? The equity already developed in your brand? If you have a choice, don't discard heritage in the search of progress. Draw from your past and evolve your brand. Your brand may be intangible, but it is valuable. You will struggle to find a place for it on your balance sheet, but it is an asset. Probably your greatest asset. It needs protection, it needs guidance, it needs your care.

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BenJohnston.jpg

About Ben Johnston

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Ben Johnston is an award-winning graphic designer who specialises in product packaging. Before he founded the design agency London Studio in 2012, he worked in senior roles at New Zealand's most highly awarded pre-press companies and as freelancer for one of London's top five design agencies.