You may have seen the recent re-branding of the Leeds United Football Club crest, which was so universally derided that they had no choice but to go back to the drawing room.
Within an hour of its announcement, 10,000 people had signed an online petition to change the clubs new emblem depicting the ‘Leeds salute’, with the club also receiving a strong reaction on social media.
Whilst sport clubs, especially football teams, have a unique position in their community that makes them niche branding-wise, there are lessons to be learnt to ensure that you have your branding correct to begin with.
Develop a brand strategy
First, you need to have a great logo. From the Apple’s iconic apple to the Nike ‘swoosh’, the biggest companies in the world take an enormous amount of time and money developing a logo that has become instantly recognisable. Not having the same budgets as these international brands shouldn’t affect your ability to create a great brand.
The key to a good logo is simplicity; whilst the likes of Apple have nothing to do with the sale of apples, their brand is so strong that it is identifiable as a technology company. However, do ensure that your branding does not infringe on an existing brand name/logo already registered as a trademark.
If you are starting your business, and it caters for a localised market, reference it in some way in your logo. Also, the logo and brand name should try to signify what your business does to some extent. Additionally, create a tagline alongside your logo which is memorable, concise and should capture the essence of your business to reinforce your brand.
Utilise social media
The use of social media is a powerful tool in spreading brand awareness. Having a Twitter and Instagram presence allows your company to bypass the traditional media formats to engage directly with your intended customer base. It allows you to display your branding and communicate it to the wider world without necessarily the expenditure of conventional methods of advertising. Ensure your branding is consistent across all social media channels that you use, as this helps people to recognise your brand whatever medium they are using.
Your brand’s ‘personality’ should be reflected in your social media posts. It should give more insight on what your company stands for and what makes you unique from your competitors.
Also be authentic to your brand, try to align with your intended audience. There has been many notable social media fails from companies deviating from what their brand is.
Flexibility and adapting quickly to changes
As you are aware, your business and the requirements of your customers is ever-changing, so your brand will need to reflect this. Whilst your brand should be consistent, you should not be afraid of retuning your brand to an evolving customer base. Don’t allow your brand to become stale, and keep an eye on customer trends to stay one step ahead.
So you now have your logo and branding and ready to launch your business. In some circumstances, particularly for start-up business with no existing customer base, it can be beneficial to see how the business performs first and the feedback you obtain from the branding before you look to register it..
As mentioned earlier, make sure you check to see that the trading name and logo aren’t already in existence and registered as a trade mark as you will then encounter opposition to its registration if it’s used in the same business type. Also, don’t make it too descriptive of what you are trading in, for example if it’s a door company, avoid calling it ‘The Door Company’ as it will be refused. Also, don’t assume that registering your business name at Companies House provides you with trade mark protection as it doesn’t.
Carefully consider the goods and services that the trade mark will be registered under, once the trade mark has been registered you can’t change the classifications. s Ensure it is registered for all the purposes you intend to use the trade mark. Additionally, the trade mark must be used in the classification it was registered for so if there is evidence it has not, the mark could be invalidated in that classification. Lastly, do not use the ® symbol until your trade mark has been registered as this is an offence under trade mark law, you are entitled to use the ™ if you so wish.
Word to the wise
Lastly, the strength of any brand will ultimately be the business behind it so it must be trusted to deliver the goods and services in your market place with expertise and confidence.
If you're interested in any of the topics raised in this article, or for further information, please contact Ketan. Alternatively, you can call to speak to one of the team on 0115 9888 777.