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Brand Development: How to develop a future proof brand

July 24, 2013
branding checklist

branding checklistThe next stages of the brand development process is to ensure you brand is what is termed “future proof” and “sanity checked”. These are the final 3 considerations you’ll need to run through to create your brand properly.

Future proofing is about testing whether you can live with your brand a long time and whether it can evolve and grow along with your business. This is particularly pertinent to small business or startup because naming and presenting a brand based around short shelf life concepts usually create work that simply doesn’t get fixed later on when time, budget or both are tight.

Planning ahead for a brand you can carry through a few stages of growth means you don’t end up with someone that you discover doesn’t work, has no value to consumers or worse still, prematurely dates your business down the track.

Sanity checking is designed to ensure you don’t unwittingly end up cheesing off another company that may already own the brand territory you are trying to stake a claim on. It also serves to ensure you use assets within your brand that don’t accidentally encourage human error such as spelling mistakes or mispronunciation.

And it makes sure you don’t accidentally offend another culture, set yourself up to create something that means something else entirely (remember Susan Boyle and the #susanalbumparty?) to the audience.

What is expected at this point is you’ve got a shortlist of names or even a name and a couple of taglines you’re keen on. Now you have to get away from the creative “do I love this or not” style of thinking and make sure what you have will work with the customers.

Consideration 4: SIMPLE TO UNDERSTAND

  • Is the message clear? How much digging would a customer have to do to understand what you offer? Are you prepared to put in that much effort? How can design help carry that load (if at all)?
  • How simple are the elements of your brand to understand? Is your product or brand name short? Is it easy to pronounce? Does spelling pose an issue? When your pronounce it, will it pose a problem for some consumers?
  • Is it easy or fun to say? Will the mind retain it easily? How easy is it for a busy person to recall?
  • Is the name of the brand tagline friendly? Will the tagline need to bridge the gap in education with your consumers? Is that tagline buzz word free yet SEO friendly?
  • Does it lend itself well to subsequent product lines? Is there room to grow with what you offer?

Consideration 5: WEB READINESS

  • Does the name work as an URL? As a social media link?
  • Is it visually and spelling wise OK to use as an URL? If you have to spell your website address over the telephone, is it going to pose a problem?
  • Is there an URL you can use without losing meaning, damaging SEO or confusing customers?
  • Can you say the same of the social media you wish to use?
  • Is the name, tag, IP or associated assets used in any other territories you would expand to in the future? Have you checked overseas? Usage as .co .me and so on to ensure you don’t have a problem?
  • If there are any similar named companies, will they damage your image if your customers stumble across them instead?

Consideration 6: CULTURALLY OK

  • Is it free of hidden meanings given by translation or other languages?
  • Is it offensive to any groups?
  • Is it Australian proof? So is the nickname OK? Is it sarcasm resistant? If you stick an O on it, does it blow up?

 

You might be tempted to skip a few steps or not to cross a name off the list if there are conflicts but consider this:

The 2004 Australian Idol winner was called Casey Donovan. They set up a site in her name and Telstra began their promotions, accidentally using .com instead of com.au in their marketing. Instead of a teenage singer, they landed on the website of another Casey Donovan- a porn actor. Thousands complained to Channel Ten and Telstra.

And it’s pretty easy to see how many problems may be associated with a website called www.whorepresents.com prior to making it super obvious it’s “Who Represents?”  Or see why an ISP called ViaGrafix (http://www.viagrafix.net/ ) had to change their name due to issues with attracting the wrong customer.

 

Making sure you take the time to get to know your brand and craft it well saves you time, money and hassles in the long run.

The final chapter in this branding series is about arming you with the tools to push a case for branding and going through these processes rather than taking a concept and running with it

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