Internet DNA Podcast
Making sense of the myriad of related words to do with branding; logo, identity, brand, branded and a bit about hash keys too... but hopefully not making a complete hash of everything.
Dna. Well that was a quick, hello, how are you doing on this sunny morning? Doing very well and yourself?
Yes, I am this week due to some customer feedback and actually a few conversations with clients. We are going to talk about branding.
Yes. So how about a brand? Let's start with that then. There are a few words around brandy
get confused. They are interconnected but they're not the same thing and they are a brand identity and logo. And I think what is probably the main misconception and confusion is a brand is what your customers or anybody that gut reaction to you as a business. So it's how they perceive you. Now they might not be able to vocalize what that is, but when they look at or hear something to do with you as a business, they have, I have an immediate reaction and that is your brand.
Okay. So when you say an immediate reaction that second, there are things like branding agencies. So obviously you can change your brand perception over time
at branding agency would work on your brand identity to influence that brand.
And when we talk about identity, we're talking more than just a logo and the type font and some colors on, we were talking about the tone of voice. We're talking about, well you tell me you're the designer.
I think that's why small businesses get nervous and go, I don't need it because it sounds enormous and it can be enormous. If you're a company where your brand is everything, then you have a whole department. That's job. It is to make sure that everything they do is helping instruments, the perception of their customers and prospective customers when they come across the brand. So you create an identity to build a brand and identity in its smallest form is, yes, it's the style. It's the look and feel. So it is type faces. It is color pallets. It's the style of your images, the tone of your voice, the start of your graphics DemandTec style or if you'd rather call it typographical style. So how your head is our, how your buddy texted. And as part of that you would have a logo or a word mark because that's the other question. Why do I need a logo? Well, you're going to have an identity already, but you want that identity to reflect you. And if you didn't have a logo on top of that or what mom, you'd be writing your name. And again, it would skew your perception in your customers' minds. So to have an identity, you need to have a logo that embodies your brand and is in the style of the identity.
Okay, so one of the things I hear when I talk to marketing agencies is that message is not on brand. What are they talking about in those circumstances? So on or branded
is the equivalent of animals having the brand on them in the past it means to be on brand or brand. It is that whatever that touch point is, if it's Instagram, if it's a website, it's an ad. Has it had the brand identity applied to it?
Okay. That message is not on brand. It doesn't just mean it's not in the right font or it's not. It's got the right logo or, but it doesn't just mean that does. It also means, for instance, let's say apple is there a massive brand and they're very, very careful about the words that they use, how they think different wasn't awesome accidentally incorrect. It was purposefully incorrect because it was about changing a way that you thought about what was crazy. It was about subversion because apple, he was in those days a little bit subversive and so many people have copied us and God, it's so wrong. I am train.
Yes, are we not tired of the innocent style? Hey Dude's type chat now. But at the time it was quite refreshing.
So don't try and be somebody else's brand. Is this the moral of the story here? Be Yourself, be your own brand.
So how do you start with a brand? So let's say I am a company, for example, I am a hosting company. How do I create interest? Because it's quite a crowded marketplace. Difficult to differentiate yourself. And how would I create a brand where it was consistent to everything I said, which seems that it would be something that my company would say rather than another company.
Okay. So if you had already been going for some time, you're not a total startup, then you already have a brand. The question is what is that brand is saying about me? Is it saying the right thing? Are People even aware of it? And so we need to generally find out what people think of your company, what that brand that you're already putting out is saying about you, and then use the creation of the brand identity to hone that to the right message. So you were at this point probably think of implying a designer and they would start with a discovery meeting. So they would want to understand the business, they would want to understand the audience, they would look at brand positioning, brand awareness, brand values. They would want to create a message such as think different to hang everything off perception, personality. They would look at all the aspects in a brainstorming style meeting to understand what the business stands for and then create an identity through concepts and iterations to get a design style, a visual identity that reflected everything that had come out in this meeting. Now you can go into that really deeply as branding companies do or if you're a small business, you could do much less of that and what you're ending up with is an identity style, a visual identity, so that everything you create has the same look and feel that reflects you as a business. Now, the consistency of this across all your media and a logo, a memorable logo at the helm of this is what starts to influence your brand and create the right impression and gut reaction.
First me business, that sounds quite expensive and what about a startup? Do it. You start from a set of ideals, what would I like to be seen as and then move that forward because surely it actually has to be all your touch points, your customer service people have to be a type of person that reflects what you do. Beyond just the pure design stuff, is there a philosophy behind the brand or is that a corporate culture and corporate culture feed into brand as brand feed into corporate culture?
Is there a philosophy behind ramble? If you think of it that the brand is the reaction that people have to your business, then what you are doing from a design perspective, and it doesn't just have to be visual, it could be how you relaxed app sounds. It could be how your sales team talk to people on the phone. It could be what people feel when they get to an event. It could be what the packaging says when I receive it in the post, which is a huge thing these days because of the more online stores receiving a product in the post. It's like Christmas. It's all done nicely and even has sparkles and things coming out. If you're thinking of fashion or beauty products, so the philosophy is very much down to the business and what you're working at at every point of the way is to make sure that that gut reaction is the right one because we all know from apple that you mentioned straightaway that brand loyalty and relationship is by far the best way to sell and creates longevity.
You can do a quick sale with no relationship but it doesn't last and it won't help your business in the future. So yes, there is a set of rules that designer will use to help create your brand. And yes, a large business would have a whole department whose job it is to cap or and hone the growth of this brand. And it's all about that split second perception in front of a person or a customer. See, this is why you have branding agencies and yes, it can be large, but it doesn't have to be enormous for small business. It's not that big. It comes down to a set of stars,
right? We are young, fresh, energetic, friendly, and that would then lead out to the design that would say, whenever we're communicating with our audience in any way, be it customer service or advertising or marketing, those four key words, we need to make sure that they apply to everything that we say. Like if it's not exciting, we're not writing it. If it's not fresh, it's not. Just see what I mean. It does it go that deep or do you start with that's the design and then you and build on it slowly as a startup, I mean that's what I'm talking about now as a small company, not as a large company with a branding agency. I go and talk to a design agency or a designer even and I say, this is what I'm doing. This is how I want to do it. Does the designer then come back and say, well, we've looked at this and done some research. These are the sort of keywords that we're looking at and this is going to influence the design and therefore the design is going to be this type of thing.
Oh yeah, absolutely. The identity, all the styles that they create view from the colors, the typeface is the graphics would be in a fun and fresh way. Now to differentiate yourself from all the other fun fresh companies and that's where your logo needs to help you stand out or fit in. Some companies don't want to stand out. If you think of accountants or lawyers that they look quite samey actually because they are there to work behind the scenes for their client. That may be quite a shouty client, I don't know. Virgin Atlantic or something.
Engender trust aren't they? So you trust that that's what the lawyer looks like. If you see what I mean. Ira Fee fond and it's quite staid and traditional.
Exactly. So from a startup you're right with a designer you would work out these values and the main message and the designer, it's their job to be able to communicate this visually.
Are there any rules around that? I mean we've just talked about Sarah for sound, so are there any things where you'd say right if your fuel, like a modern technology company, you would be this kind of a thing and if you're a lawyer or an accountant you're going to be much more down this kind of avenue or is the designer's job to play around with those rules so to say? Or does that change? Like you play around with the rules in a playful company, but you don't play around with the rules in a non playful company.
So the rules are there to be broken. There is a process, there is a very fixed process in getting to the final identity, corporate identity and therefore using that to build the brand. However, the rules, a designers should know what will work and what, what about for each client they're working with and they should be being creative and trying everything to get that, to embody the brand they are after. Now there's also something important to say here. You can't say we're going to be this brand but not live it because you'll get found out. So if the designer has made you freshen funky and you're actually really corporate, you get found out in the end and it will be a mismatch. And therefore the reaction, the perception to the brand will be well, yeah, exactly. So as a small business designer, in a lot of cases I might get the question or someone might come to me and say, can you design your website? And I go, yes. And I go, have you got an identity wheel loader? No, I didn't know I really needed one. Well, the is when I design your website. I would have to do parts of that branding process to understand what type of business you are, who you are trying to communicate is
yes, to create the identity to create the website. I have to do that as part of the process. Otherwise I've got nothing to work on. You might as well just go and pick yourself a template and it may or may not work for you. Once I have done that again to make sure that you're creating the right relationships with your perspective customers, that same identity needs to be carried across all your other touch points, so all your other media that you may go across and if you're creating this identity, it's a bit like having a body without a head. You need a logo. It doesn't have to be an expensive logo. It could be what's called a word mark, which is your name, written in the identity style, but you then need that, this identity to stem from and to be memorable. So as a designer you have to create this identity before you can do whatever the media is that someone's come
two stories about an ideal client. I'm not pretending. I am. Imagine that I am. You are come to you and I say, I've got this startup, so I'm about to start. I'm a tech dude. I've got no idea about design or branding or any of these sorts of things. What would be the process you would walk me through in order to get to an effective brand?
Yeah, relationships and long term.
Yeah, so the, everything that I produce as a startup looks like it's from me.
Okay. So I would say to you, right, we need to meet and it's going to be a bit like a therapy session. If you were really small business or a woman man, it's probably going to be two hours or so. The couch or a table does lots of drawing and things going on. On my part sketching, showing you things and you get good coffee and I would then have a set of questions that I would ask you. I would unearth everything I needed to feel that I could design from the perspective of the business. So that's where I say that I ask all the questions about the business, that driving force, why are you starting it up and what your values are, how you want to be perceived, how you think you're going to be perceived, how you are going to differentiate. You said it's a competitive market, how you're going to differentiate yourself.
I will go through every element of the business that I can honestly thing you quite intangible questions so that I feel and I'll keep going until I feel I have enough knowledge to create a visual reflection of what you've told me. Right? And then I would start because it's the easiest way to start with designing a logo or a word mark. And I would come back to you with concepts and we would talk through those and we'd get one direction and it wouldn't necessarily be my logo. It would be this is the right look and feel, so you can hear the identity coming in here already. So then I would start to create an identity and a logo for your business, honing in on the actual mark, but also the style, the color and all that aspect of it until we have your brand assets. So the logo, the colors, the typeface, and possibly a brand guidelines. So this is how you use this color and this type. This is what your headings look like. This is what your body copy looks like. So you've got a set,
you've got, this is your power of raw spacing. You never put this logo this close, you never have that sort of thing.
Yeah, and with a small business, I don't like to call it brand guidelines because that is a big old document of don't do this, do, do this. I would rather create new identity style guideline, which is just here are all the assets. Here's what it looks like. Here's how you use them together. And they go, off you go. Then you may say, well, can you now design me a website? I'm selecting this identity and I'd go, yes, of course. And you go, well, now I need a business card and I need
social media. Actually, the website you're saying right now we need to talk about tone of voice because you've said the company is x, Y and zed. So we've got to make sure that the copy reflects that. You can't say we're fun and playful and then do a load of technical boring chat because that's a lot of work.
I would cover this and that initial meeting, and this is the scale of how much do you want to spend on your branding. I would cover your tone of voice and things, but yes, absolutely. Once you start needing a copywriting, garlic blind wordsmith guidelines, all the other elements past the visual, obviously that's getting a bigger branding project.
Can you that you could add those as you go forward. So we can say, well, let's get all our identity and our brand guidelines out. And then next thing is we're going to do a website. So now we're going to have to actually think about how does the copy work? What's the tone of voice, how does that fit in? How do we apply the guidelines to what we're doing? And then I might go forward and say, right now I'm going to do social media. And you say, right, well if we're doing social media on this platform, we need to do it in this way and in this platform we need to do it in that way because that will apply the brand, not the design but the brand.
Yes, exactly. And in some situations or scenarios with clients, I might write up a written understanding of the visual identity. So that would be here are our values, this is the message and this is a written breakdown of what we are updating the business. So this company is, is young but experienced. It's fun but professional. And so they could give that to a copywriter or a photographer or someone else that they may be briefing to carry out work that needs to also follow the same
identity. Sure. Everything has the same ethos effectively. Yes. Coherent baseline. Excellent. Anything else that I would need to be aware of in my branding?
Well, I mean a few other sort of use cases person as I get asked why do I need a logo? And it's a bit like why do I need a brand? You already have a logo if you have written your name down so it might not look like her logo, it's probably just your name written. The question is what does that say about me? Is that correct or do I need it to fit within my identity to help build my brand? And the other question I get asked as well, a copy should speak for itself and the answer is yes it should and actually I wouldn't work with you if it didn't, but in this day and age we don't have the luxury of a perspective client giving up some of their valuable time to read the content before they know whether their values are in line with your values.
So they will make that split second decision of whether they are even going to read your content on the brand. Therefore their gut reaction to coming into contact with your business. And that feeds into needing a logo because then it's got to be memorable. If they felt that their values didn't align with yours, then you need to remind them of that again so they subconsciously remember you and we will know that being remembered gets you already there. We are more likely to choose something that we recognize even if it's not better than something we don't recognize.
Okay, so now we're talking about something a little bit further along the line. So often we get to a company and the rebrand and so how does a company comes to the decision that it needs to rebrand and how do you test how efficient your brand is at doing what it needs to do for you?
So a company may rebrand if they feel that the brand is not saying the right thing about them,
the company's changed or times have changed or combination of both or any number of things.
Any number of things. Times have changed as a good reason. That's a company's direction. May Have Changed the company's ethos may have changed the way they feel entirely about the business may not be reflected externally anymore.
Right? So they started off as young, fresh and Funky, but now they're not quite such a young, fresh and funky. They're a bit more established and now they need to change that brand because,
exactly. So the way they would find that this APP would be market research, they would be talking to their customers, they would be talking to prospective customers, they would be talking to their stakeholders, their stuff, whether that's interviews, focus groups, surveys. There's a lot of data research needed to get us the point of, okay, what is our brand? How is it perceived by everybody out there? And so they get that information back in. They have someone help distill that and if they're like, that's not us, then they would think to rebrand. And of course, rebranding is the nature of creating a new identity to help build the new brand.
We say simple, just simple as apple, removing the colors from their apple logo and now it's white or how's that science?
And a big company will get a lot of negative reaction to any rebrand because if they've done their job well before, they have loyal customers who don't like change. Humans by the nature don't like change. So you need to get the rebrand right because at that stage, if you're rebranding, you could lose customers by doing it in the long run, you'll gain more customers and people will understand, but that change is very unsettling for your customer base.
Oh, this is why we get these stories of, Oh, you know, x y company spent a million quid and all they did was add a serif just because they can't change too much because they're going to disenfranchise all their previous customers talking about phones. Yeah,
I know we're busy today. Exactly. The BBC I think went from Italian to nonmetallic. Some have made major mistakes and some have actually changed back after making major mistakes. Now that is a big step to take. I think Abbey national might have changed back when they went fully rainbow.
Okay. And so if they thought that they want it to be something, they went and they did the testing again after the rebrand and found out that actually what it had done is added no new customers and got rid of a lot of their previous brand loyalists.
Yeah. Now you've got to be pretty off brand to have got it so wrong that you're going to change back, but it does happen. You've got to know the difference between riding the storm of people don't like change and the fact that you have really changed the brand perception in the wrong direction. Rebranding is a sensitive place to be and needs to be handled well by a really good branding designer or agency.
Excellent. Well, I feel I've learned a lot about brandy, but it's not just the logo. Is there anything you'd like to add before we end this discussion? Thanks sweet. We're going to talk about actual design, real interface design
wasn't that wasn't actually let the branding agencies having say,
you know what I mean though? It's functional design,
functional Disapp I have, we seen branding is functional design because you are creating relationships that creates sales
oiling buttons like literally down to the nitty gritty of how do we use the Ui to change user experience because people get those two questions very confused. I find if people talk about Ui and then people talk about Ux and don't seem to understand the differences, one's a reaction to something and one's a conscious decision to try and engender something.
Yes. People say you are a Ux in the same sentence.
You just wondering if of course cause it's cause and effect, isn't it?
Yeah. Yeah. I'm glad that you learned something today because I learned lots every week. Is that talking of learning? I wanted to ask you a question about one of our previous podcasts that someone brought up when we were talking about blockchain and encryption keys. You called them hash numbers or encryption keys. You kept using the word Hash number and I didn't pick you up on it or what do you mean by a hash number?
Okay, so we're going to take a string Abby focus and then we're going to transform it via a key into just a string of what would look to you or I'd like a string of nonsense, a bunch of numbers and punctuation signs and that's cool to have. The thing is about a hash is all you can say with it. Exactly. What you can then say is does this match that hash put through the algorithm and the algorithm realizes and say, yes it does. Well no it doesn't, but what you can't do is say get that Hash and turn it back into a password that won't happen like that. And that's how encrypted passwords work, which is like they broke into our system and they stole all the data out of it, but they haven't got the password if they don't have the key. That's why all systems nowadays ask you to reset your password rather than telling you what it is because they don't know what it is or they can tell you is whether it matches or not. But it has really is just the eventual string that comes out of sending the original string. Abby focus through an algorithm and then it's turned into a mishmash of stuff.
Yeah. You make sure that you can't even do that. So it's literally one way you can encrypt it, but you can't decrypt it. All you say is does it match? It's like you know there's children's things where different things go in different holes and all you can do is does this go through this whole, it won't tell you whether the holes or circle or not. It will just say no, that square does not go through this whole, it's not going to say cause it needs to be a circle. You can't ask it. Well it is. Nowadays we do one way, so it only happens one way, but a hash is is any encrypted string basically no serial number is a string or numbers you could hashtag and then it would become a different series of that. Yeah.
It's basically a way of storing data that you can't read izer without the key or you can't read a tool you can only compare to. Yeah, exactly. Which is a much more obviously strong way because it will go, I don't know what your password really is. All I know is that the past would you provide it didn't match the past. What I have stored, just sort of, there are quite good, really simple explanations of how it really works. I think they use Bob and Jane. It's talking about how they would send messages to each other that couldn't be intercepted by a third party. Do you see what I mean? And then you'll understand what a certificate authority is like verisign and why they're important or let's encrypt and why they make it safer. Because you've now got a trusted person who is going to make sure that neither side has the actual key, who has the real key as the trusted authority and they're the ones that do the encryption for you so you don't get a what's called a man in the middle attack.
It's really interesting to read and it's really simple. Jane says Bob Letter, and then it shows you how that could be intercepted. Then they show you the next level and the next level and it builds up and you got very quickly in about 20 minutes and understanding of how not technically how it works, but conceptually how it works and it's Bob and Jane, not Peter and Jane. I think it's Poppins. It's definitely Jay [inaudible]. Now Jane always used to be telling us how to do complicated. Yeah, exactly. But when you read these things, they lost him. Refer to the original Bob and Jane problem. You. It will become a real obvious thing when you start reading it who they are. Okay. Well, thank you to the listener for putting us up on that as I didn't know the answer either. Thank you've done for explaining it and then adding a whole heap extra on the,
that was good and we got to go. Yes. So next week it's Ux Ui. Enjoy. Bye Bye.
Dan & Abi work, talk & dream in tech. If you would like to discuss any speaking opportunity contact us.