What makes a brand?

To the uninitiated, it’s ‘just’ a logo – a cute little icon that people associate with your company. But a brand is so much more than that…

A brand encompasses everything about your company. Every time someone encounters your company and your people, they’re forming an opinion about your brand and judging whether they want to engage with you. Therefore, you need to ensure that regardless of whether someone finds you on your website, on social media, in a magazine or in person at an event, they have the same experience.

Consistently presented brands are 3.5x more likely to enjoy excellent brand visibility[1].

And what does visibility mean?

Clients! Lots of lovely new clients who see your brand and decide they want to work with you, without you ever needing to pick up the phone or ‘sell’ yourself.

The bottom line is that presenting a brand consistently across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%[2].

So what makes a great brand?

In the world of copywriting we’re taught to ensure our words make an emotional connection with the audience, because if people don’t feel something, nothing happens. The same is true in design. 64% of women and 68% of men say they’ve felt an emotional connection with a brand[1].

One of the best ways to inject your brand with emotion is to drop the corporate façade and just be you. 86% of consumers say authenticity is a key factor when deciding what brands they like and support[3] – so just be the best version of yourself and you won’t go far wrong.

Of course, if you’re looking for a ‘quick win’, colour is proven to increase brand recognition by up to 80%[4] – so feel free to go ahead and paint the world purple!

If you’re worried that your brand isn’t working hard enough to support your sales and marketing efforts, say hello to Bhavini…

A self-confessed colour addict, Bhavini is a freelance graphic designer that purposefully breaks all the rules to create striking and impactful design. Getting your brand right is so important and Bhavini comes with a shedload of passion and the experience to match – you’re very safe in her ridiculously capable hands.

Here I spend 5 minutes talking to her about her business…

What do you do?

I offer 4 main services:

  1. Brand identity
  2. Advertising
  3. Marketing collateral
  4. Stationery

Some businesses forget, or ignore, how important brand identity is. They just think it’s a logo and don’t see how a brand is fundamental to their success, by helping them to attract the right types of clients. When you get your brand right, you don’t actually have to do the hard marketing and selling because the brand does it all for you.

The thing I enjoy most about my job is helping people to understand how important brand is to their business. I love seeing the moment it dawns on them when a brand is more than just a logo – the realisation that having a brand can make a big difference, whether that’s because they see business pick up, or perhaps someone they’ve followed online reaches out to them. It’s a really special moment.

Who do you help?

I target B2B clients because I love that I can bring unexpectedness into the world of corporate business.

People think of corporate as stuffy and boring, but it’s not. I love talking to people who work in traditional corporate environments and exploring how we can have some fun by injecting their personality into their brand.

Also, it’s interesting when you talk to people who believe that design has to be done within certain confines. It doesn’t. I show them how you can break the mould and end up with something that’s visually striking and yet still professional by reflecting their personality.

Working with B2B clients, they know the value of good design and how it can elevate their business, thinking longer term about how the brand sits behind everything to help them achieve their goals. Also, these people tend to be time poor and often frustrated that they have a vision in their heads that they’re struggling to get down on paper. They know design isn’t their core strength so they’re more likely to outsource to someone who can make that vision a reality.

If a company ever came to me saying, “I just want a logo” or “Could you do it cheaper”, I’d say no. Years of experience has taught me that these aren’t going to be good relationships because they don’t see the value in design. In these circumstances I try to educate people on what needs to be considered within their brand identity, like colours, fonts and supporting materials – I share a lot of this content online to try and help businesses make informed choices about their brands.

What do your clients value most about your service?

I should probably say my amazing design skills, but the thing they value most is my honesty.

I’m not a yes person. If a client comes to me with an idea and I don’t think it’s going to work, I’ll tell them. I want my clients to have the best so I’ll tell them why I don’t think their idea is quite right and explain some other options for them to think about. I can even work up a few different examples so they can compare their initial idea next to the other options and see how we might be better off trying a different route.

Equally, my clients feel like they can be honest with me. Design is subjective so if I create something they don’t like, they don’t feel like they have to soften the blow by saying something like, “Please don’t take any offence…”. They tell me straight. Constructive feedback is good because then we can explore what we need to do to get the design to a place where they’re 100% happy.

And if things go wrong, which let’s face it happens to us all, I’ll own it – not everyone has the confidence to do that. I had one project where I proofed a piece from the printer, correcting what I thought was a tiny spelling error. It wasn’t and I held my hands up and explained to the client what had happened. Yes, I then sat in fear awaiting their wraith, but the client was absolutely fine about it, saying they’d need to re-think their working process when we created the brochure the following year.

Also, I work with people who want ‘stress-free solutions’. They come to me saying “this is what I want and this is my deadline”, and they know that they’re going to get something back by that deadline, which meets the brief and without having to constantly chase me. It sounds really simple but you’d be surprised how many bad experiences people have had with other designers.

When is the right time for someone to contact you?

As early as possible.

What I always tell people is don’t assume that the designer you want to work with is free. Most good designers are booked up weeks or months in advance, so if you find someone you really want to work with, get your project booked in asap.

Regardless of whether a client comes to me with a branding project or needs help with some marketing collateral, it’s always good if they know what the end goal is and have done some initial research before I come on board. I’ll always go away and do my own research, but if they’ve done some thinking ahead of time it gives us a good place to start.

By involving me in the conversation early on, often I’ll see something in the project that the client doesn’t, or say something that sparks a new idea – the last thing I want is to get half way through a project and for the client to change their mind.

Also, design is a creative process that takes time. Getting me onboard asap means I’m not rushed to finish the project and the client doesn’t feel rushed either.

What is it like to work with you?

I want to work with a client that I’ve spoken to. Email is good but it’s easy for things to get lost in translation or interpreted in the wrong way.

When I receive an enquiry, the first thing I do is direct them to the packages on my website. It’s a really quick and simple way to identify whether the person feel like I’m right for them.

We’ll then have a chat over coffee. Pre-COVID this was always in person, but more recently it’s been over Zoom. Not only is this conversation about determining what they need help with, I need to know that I can challenge the client if I think their ideas aren’t going to work without upsetting them. Also, that the client feels that they can tell me if they don’t like my designs. If we can’t be honest then the relationship isn’t going to work.

The next step is for the client to sign my terms of business and put down a 50% deposit. Only then do I send over my briefing document with the stipulation that they aren’t allowed to return it that same day. It’s really important that the client carefully thinks through their responses rather than rushing through with 1-word answers.

Once I’ve received their response, we’ll then have a call to talk through their answers. Often this is when we discover the really juicy bits they’ve not mentioned before and these are usually the quirks that make their brand really personal.

What’s the best way for someone to contact you?

In the first instance, email is always best: hello@b81designs.com

This helps me to keep track so I don’t miss an enquiry lost in a DM, and I’ll come back to schedule that initial call.

Alternatively, you can follow me online:

  • [1] Source: https://www.smallbizgenius.net/by-the-numbers/branding-statistics/#gref
  • [2] Source: https://www.lucidpress.com/pages/resources/report/the-impact-of-brand-consistency
  • [3] Source: https://stackla.com/resources/reports/the-consumer-content-report-influence-in-the-digital-age/
  • [4] Source: https://www.rebootonline.com/blog/what-importance-colour-brand-recognition/