At Damask Media we spend a lot of time thinking about branding and talking to our clients about why it matters. And it does matter – a lot. As Islamic graphic designers we’re constantly aware of the visual effect of information and the power that attaches to beliefs, values and choices.
So what is brand, anyway?
One way to define brand is that your brand is what people feel and think about you. In other words, it’s the territory in your customer’s heads that has your name on it. Either you manage and control your brand or it manages and controls you.
Every business has a brand, even if it doesn’t think it has. Even if you’ve never undertaken a single branding activity and you’ve worked only with the same clients for the past thirty years, whatever it is they think when they hear your company name – that’s your brand!
Do I need a brand identity?
Well, do you? A lot of businesses confuse brand and brand identity – they have an identity but they don’t have a brand. They’ve spent money on a logo and a website but they haven’t done the underlying work that allows them to know what the brand is that they are trying to identify in the minds of their customers. As brand consultants we help our clients discover what their brand truly is.
There are three questions to ask yourself to identify what your brand might be:
1. What do we have/make/sell/offer that’s really special?
Sometimes it doesn’t seem as if a client has anything unique to offer, so at Damask Media we have learned to work with our clients to establish exactly what makes them special.
2. Does the market care?
Often our clients do something they’re really proud of – offering excellent customer service, providing a stellar product, creating a simpler way of doing something – and they feel the world hasn’t noticed. Part of our job is to ensure the market knows and cares about that exceptional thing … because until the market knew flatter screens, greener cars, Greek(er) yoghurt or halal logistics were available, it didn’t know it wanted them – but now it both knows about, and wants, those products.
3. Do all my competitors have that special something?
We work with our clients to identify what is specific, relevant and useful to their market and to communicate that through brand marketing that is completed infused with Islamic values.
Brand and Brand Identity
Branding is an exercise, it helps you know who you are, why you exist and what you want to appear in other people’s minds when they think of you. Brand identity is the mechanism that allows you to get into other people’s minds in the first place, and stay there through increasing your sales and protecting the unique nature of your brand.
Brand identity helps you find new clients and keep your current ones. It is the thought that appears in the bubble above your customer’s heads. You can make it very simple and specific (Noor Islamic Bank’s Noor Gets Things Done) or broad and aspirational (Nike’s Just Do It) or appealing to appetite (Subway’s Eat Fresh) and while it’s often encapsulated in a slogan like these, it doesn’t have to be. Apple has a clear brand identity but over the years it’s had many slogans from Think Different, to Switch to Get A Mac … and it doesn’t matter, because Apple has successfully created a clear brand identity. Our clients rely on us to give them a brand design that works in print marketing, online and face to face.
The Value of Design
Design ties your brand, your brand identity and your vision of your organisation together. The impact of good design is unmistakable – it builds trust, gives your organisation credibility and allows everybody in your enterprise to unite behind your brand and deliver what your customers want. Islamic design, in particular, has specific criteria that must be applied if your brand is to be successful in terms of Muslim branding, both for internet and print graphic design. And that’s where we come in!