A brand image isn’t something we see. It’s how something is seen, and we all see things a little differently from one another.
Jeff Bezos once said, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” However, we’re not all having the same conversation, and that’s because we all carry around our very own personal brand images. A brand image is a person’s beliefs, impressions, and ideas about a brand: I’d summarize it as the gut feeling we all have when we encounter a specific brand. That contact can come in numerous forms, including a name, a logo, an advertisement, a website, a news story, a song, a sound, a product, a company, and even a person.
Each brand image is unique to every person’s experience with a brand, and while their opinion may be shared with multitudes of people, it is entirely personal for every one of us. Republicans, Democrats, Atheists, Christians, Microsoft, Apple, the Yankees, and the Red Sox all have their own brand images. Everyone familiar with those organizations has their personal feelings about them, negative and positive. Those feelings constitute the brand images unique to each of us.
Branding and Advertising
Branding and Advertising are, in some ways, two sides of the same coin. Branding is the process of shaping the image of a product, and advertising is the process of getting that image in front of people.
Branding is used to define the value of something, and advertising is used to sell that value. And together, they are used to get people to part with their money, and they are so effective at this that in 2019, more than 240 billion U.S. dollars were spent on advertising and branding in the United States alone.
Branding is about shaping those opinions and controlling the conversation, and the tools we use to do that for our clients are the same tools that virtually every branding agency and consultant has at their disposal. Those tools are words, images, and imagination.
One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to control a conversation is to create a scripted narrative that people can identify with. One of the most useful and cost-effective ways is through a website. This is because the internet is usually where people turn first to learn about a company, a product, a person, or an organization. Much like a resume, our websites are one of the few places where we have complete control over the story we choose to tell. The effectiveness of that story plays a significant role in developing our credibility, authenticity, and the influence our brand story will have over people’s opinions about us.
We all have our own brand identity, which is projected by the brands we choose for ourselves, such as in the clothes we wear, the car we drive, the neighborhood we live in, the college we attend, our choice of careers, the sports teams we root for, or the ones we root against. These things convey our own personal brand identity, and to a degree, it is an image we often unknowingly curate and nurture. It is the image we choose for ourselves, and the brand image we hope to instill in the people whose opinions of us matter most.
The best thing about working with ImageCo is that Tim, immediately grasps all the subtleties of a company’s brand identity…he gets it, and that makes working with him a pleasure.
Tim created the perfect brand identity design for us and I feel fortunate that we found him. Not only is he an honest, ethical and a straight-arrow businessman, he was also a total pleasure to work with.
The result is a design and writing that possess clarity, simplicity, and beauty. Tim’s assets are many, but his work embodies a rare combination of technical ability and artistic sensibility.
I have worked with Tim on multiple projects, primarily because he possesses a great sense of which concepts will work and the tact to explain why others won’t.
Questions not Answers
We don’t claim to have all the answers for our clients, but we know who does…they do!
When telling our story, the challenge we all face is a lack of perspective. We may think we know what our story is or should be, but we usually don’t. It is almost impossible to be subjective about something that is such a big part of us. The businesses we own, the services we provide, and the skills we have developed define who we are.
Speaking from Experience
In 2001, the year imageCo opened for business. Our primary offering was logo design and small business websites. Logos tended to be pretty straightforward, but websites proved to be much more challenging, and that was usually due to a lack of content to work with, and that has never changed.
Every person that starts a new business knows they need a website, but when it comes down to filling that website with quality content, most new business owners have no idea where to start. Even when they know what they want to say and what they hope to accomplish, they struggle to find the words. Most people, in general, aren’t skilled writers, to begin with, and even when they are good writers, they can still struggle because they lack perspective and objectivity. As a result, it is tough to see the forest through the trees when it comes to telling our own story, making it much more challenging to connect with potential customers.
New business owners often think their logo is their brand and usually have a poor understanding of branding. To effectively brand a business, we need a sense of brand stories, messaging, voice, personas, value, and equity. These things are part of the branding process and will come into play when effectively branding a business.
ImageCo Branding and Design
Since opening shop, we have worked with close to 800 startups, entrepreneurs, and businesses of all types and sizes. Our services have grown to include much more than logos and websites, and whom we serve and how we serve them varies from project to project, so we adapt our services to the needs of each client.