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Branding is for life, not just for Christmas

As Spark launches one of the country’s biggest branding exercises ever, Jill Brinsdon argues if living your brand is too hard, don’t invest in one.

“Oh I see they’ve changed their logo. I now feel so much warmer towards them and am more inclined to purchase.” Said nobody, ever.

The image a business portrays is important, don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for a beautiful new design identity; it’s one of the ways I make my living.

But it’s the Max Factor for a brand, not the X factor.

You can have the prettiest brand in the world blowing kisses to the target audience, but if your staff or your product can’t live up to the promise, the investment in its external design is nothing more than window dressing.

When Tim, Dan and Chris Alpe, owners of third-tier car/camper rental company Ezy, came to Radiation, they were looking for a new name and an identity that could take the company beyond cars and camper vans.

By calling them JUCY, we gave them a whole lot more than that. As well as the name, the logo and the new brand story, we authored a ‘JUCY’ new attitude for them to bring to the business. So much more than a new way to look, living ‘JUCY’  began to permeate everything – from the way staff treat customers to the way they design their campers.

(There’s the “Penthouse”campa, for example, where you sleep on the roof, and those signature lines on the side of the vans, like “The glass is half full and the other half was delicious”.)

Getting a brand strategy right involves the strategy being ‘livable’ in the first place. A powerful brand can’t be invented; it should represent very best of you, the deepest unmet desire of your customers and the achilles heel of your competitors.

Jucy staff were already bright and energetic, their bosses were prepared to go the extra mile. But even the company’s visionary leaders hadn’t forseen how much their business had to transform. Implementing a brand strategy is relentless.

Living the brand’s attitude and values every day isn’t automatically easy. It can involve dismantling internal silos, making marketing, sales and HR play nicely, and rearranging more than a few deckchairs.

It can involve reinventing staff induction programmes, retraining teams, even moving people on. It can change the way you answer the phone, how you speak to your customers, how your offices or outlets are designed.

It’s a unremitting pursuit.

But if you don’t plan to live your brand from the inside out, don’t call it a brand. Call it a pretty new logo.

Jill Brinsdon is the founder of global branding agency Radiation

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