Brand Guidelines in a Nutshell
We sat down with Don Taylor, owner of Don Taylor Designs, to chat with him about branding and what makes companies stand out from their competitors.
Why is a great-looking brand so important for a business in this day and age?
It isn’t so much how a brand looks, but how it integrates with your audience. You could have a beautiful and shiny brand, but if it doesn’t connect with your audience then it won’t work. Your brand should be well-crafted and you should put significant thought into who your audience is and who you’re trying to connect with and attract.
How do you think a great logo/brand helps a company stand out from their competitors?
A great brand is all encompassing. It’s the experience, the voice, how they interact with their audience. A great local example is Cotopaxi. Their logo is fun, but what people are really drawn to is their mission to “Do Good.” The fact that they’re helping other countries and putting their money where their heart is makes them stand out. They aren’t BS-ing people, and that’s what a great brand does.
What are the elements of an impactful brand?
Connecting with your audience, transparency, and being genuine. You need to be able to back your brand up. A consumer is going to look behind the veneer – so be upfront and honest. Don’t say that you stand for something, and do something else behind the scenes. Branding is not just a logo, but a personality. Is this brand someone you would associate with? Would you hang out with this brand? If the answer is yes – you’re doing a good job.
What are the “must-haves” for a small business?
It really depends on what you’re trying to do. First – you need to define what type of business you are. Are you online? Brick and mortar? Both? From there you can develop the elements of a brand – logo, design, colors, font, style guide. Once you have the look and feel – you need to think about the experience. If you own a shop, what does your packaging look like? What about your store front? Is it a virtual store front? You need to present your brand all at once, fully clothed – you don’t want your brand going out there naked.
What is the first step you take when re-creating a company’s brand?
One of the first things I do is find the company’s target audience and see if the brand works for them. After you figure out the audience, you find True North. I help a brand figure out their personality and if the audience will respond to their brand or not. Essentially the brand is the guide to the audience’s experience. The brand should take the audience along for the journey. They’re not trying to get the audience’s attention, but instead they’re bringing them along for their adventure.
If there’s one piece of advice you would give when it comes to building a brand, what would it be?
You need to separate yourself from your brand. You are not your brand. You are a part of the brand, but you are not the brand. For example: if a 50-year-old male comes up with a product to sell to 20-year-old females, he isn’t the brand. He may have come up with the idea, but he doesn’t represent the brand. People change, but a brand should stay consistent.
When you’re out and about, what is one element you notice first when you see a good or bad brand?
Simplicity and consistency. For example, when I see a billboard – it should be seven words or less. If you can bring your whole billboard down to an image then that’s successful. An iconic logo helps as well. I also notice consistency. If I visit a restaurant or a small shop, and there isn’t consistency with their look and feel, how will I know their product will be consistent too? Your customer is supposed to have an experience from the minute they see the door until they leave. It should transport them.
What services do you offer businesses?
I give brands confidence. I help them find their target audience and get the audience to respond to their brand. That response is going to be built on their logo, packaging, stationery, voice, and how they interact with their audience through social.
Don Taylor can be found at https://thedonaldtaylor.com.