Having a ‘Brand Strategy’ is just getting a logo done and plonking it on your stuff – right? Er, in a word, no. It’s a constantly evolving process that sees the company or product name and values being placed and mentioned in a multitude of ways, sometimes at the forefront, sometimes in the background – but it is always there and the values should never change – ask John Lewis!

‘Brand’ itself is an interesting word. It derives from an old Germanic verb meaning ‘to burn’ and is still used today as a term that means to ‘mark indelibly’. It is sad therefore, to see more and more ‘fag packet’ branding that simply blends in with the rest and that doesn’t seem to leave a mark at all, let alone an indelible one!

Many people forget that the brand name is not necessarily the company name. Many of our high street brands are owned by much larger parent companies. The Body Shop is owned by Nestle and Cadbury is owned by Kraft foods. Both were bought for the strength of the brand names, I mean, would you buy a bar of Kraft Dairy Milk?

So how important is a strong brand? Good branding has to not only stand out, but also have longevity and work within your chosen target markets. It’s not just a ‘one design wonder’- branding constantly evolves as companies evolve.

It stands to reason that if your business plans change and evolve then so will your marketing plans. Using the branding accurately as part of the marketing plan can help boost reputations and achieve high profile recognition.

This is why we always recommend keeping your branding at the heart of your marketing plans. Make sure it’s current, and reflecting what you want to achieve. Make sure it stands out from your competitors too (how many accountants have blue logos?!) Use your branding to support your marketing messages (there’s a reason why Amazon puts a ‘smile’ on its boxes!)

Of course we would say this, but it is always worth getting professional branding advice. We have seen many companies spend money on expensive things like signage and vehicle livery, only to have to re-spend that capital when they realise that their branding isn’t helping them achieve marketplace recognition. In 2010 Gap made a very expensive mistake when it launched a new logo that frankly, its customers hated. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/oct/12/gap-logo-redesign http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/oct/12/gap-logo-redesign

Think about your favourite brand images. Why do you like them so much? Could you recognise the brand without actually seeing the whole name? This is something most consumer brands aspire to, why shouldnít you want that for your brand too? What indelible mark is your branding leaving? If any?

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