19 April 2012

Author Laura Robertson

Simon Rhodes, Managing & Creative Director at Liverpool-based design agency Smiling Wolf takes the stage. We get a sneak-peek inside their studio, based at Elevator Studios on Upper Parliament Street, which looks lovely.

What is Branding? Your values, personality, tone of voice and what you stand for. Branding is not just a logo!

- Invest in branding.

- Take a stance. Let people know what youre about. Simon gives us an example of the company Howies, who use an understated brand. Also Ben & Jerry's, who use themselves and their personal stories in their marketing.

- Understand your audience. Understand your customers, talk to them. Check out Futurelab, see what they say about consumers. If using workshops to do market research, you do need to lead the session and have a firm idea to begin with.

- Don't DIY. Let go. Brands are subjective and difficult to get right. Trust the experts. Let full-time professionals take the time to look at your problems for you.

- Get your naming strategy right. Consignia versus The Royal Mail. No competition, right?

- Bring everyone on the journey. Smiling Wolf hold workshop sessions with clients to chat informally about the organisation, its ideas and to problem-solve.

- And now for a memorable visual identity. Not just a logo (and remember a logo is shorthand for your company!). The logo is the money-shot. Tate & Lyles Golden Syrup logo is discussed. Unusual, as it is a dead lion covered in flies, advertising something that we eat! Enduring brand relating to a biblical story, and now a family favourite.

- Consistency. Branding is a toolkit that is vital for the longevitiy of your brand.

- Sell the experience not the product. "Sell the sizzle and not the sausage". Example of US tools company Best Made; they use their personal story of working on a farm and reconnecting with basic craft. Use psychology to sell their service or product.

Smiling Wolf are working on the branding for new arts/food/music/hotel space Camp and Furnace. Animals, smoking wheat for home-brewed beer, caravans, picnic tables. Telling an authentic story to complete the brand and make connections with others, that's what its all about.

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