Branding plays a key part in the publishing industry today. As a young professional, you have to stand out from the crowd in order to get jobs, so a part of doing this is branding yourself. If you decide to do freelance work, you are essentially setting yourself up as a branded company that contracts work. And obviously for publishing companies, having a distinctive brand that sets you apart will help you to sell books.
During the MSc Publishing course, we had a short exercise from Susan Kemp (@susanroslynkemp), a freelance corporate and publishing service provider, which means she is a freelance editor, proof-reader and project manager. Therefore, she has had experience in branding herself as a company. During her workshop, we each had fifteen minutes to create a brand name for ourselves, which would present us as our professional selves. We also had to create a logo to go along with this brand, presenting an image which would extend us as a brand into a physical image. Although a short exercise, it was incredibly beneficial to use our gut instinct to realise what was personally important to present as a professional.
As part of my placement at Connect Communications, I was tasked with creating and branding a mobile application targeted at University-affiliated Dance Societies/Sports Clubs. It essentially would replace a digital magazine, with multi-media and instant content. I had to produce the concept for the app, who the audience was, and what it was aiming to do. Here are a few things to consider when branding a company that I have learned throughout my placement.
The name of your company is the most important aspect of branding. The wrong name will cause issues with your brand being seen and understood. It is the first impression that a customer will have of what you are, and what you’re about, and it needs to say that. It needs to be broad, to allow for change within the company, but also unique, so as to stand out from the crowd. Too broad, and it will get lost. Too unique, and it will become difficult to find. It also needs to relate to the core aims of the company. For the app, I came up with the name of Turnout. This is a core dancing technique found in almost every form of dance. It also relates to one of the aims of the app, which is to advertise Dance Societies’ events, to help increase the turnout. It has a versatility that can be applied in a variety of situations, and still be appropriate. For the name, I took inspiration from my placement company’s work with award-winning publications like InDepth (Rolls Royce), Unfiltered (Scottish Malt Whisky Society) and The Journal (Law Society of Scotland).
The logo is where you can have a little fun, and show you really understand your audience. It should be eye-catching and engaging, while allowing for the name of the company to stand out to make it obvious who the company is aimed at. For research on ideas for logos, I looked at Dance Societies’ logos, as well as dance companies and schools. I also had a look here at some award-winning logos to get an idea on what makes a good logo. As Connect has an account with Shutterstock, I was able to look at images there for dancers that I could manipulate to be part of my logo, without any copyright issues, as I do not have the Adobe Illustrator abilities to create one myself.
For some instances, a tag-line is not needed. However, most start-ups or niche businesses are not well known enough to not need a tag-line, like Adidas (whose tagline actually is Impossible is Nothing). So creating a tag-line is a necessary evil. You have to discover the core of your business and represent it in the tag-line. But it must be very short. The one I produced is not very innovative, but it does the job in only four words: ‘Bringing Dance Societies Together’. It had originally been ‘Bringing Dancers Together’ (so as to remain more ambiguous for the potential physical magazine) but after market research on the app specifically, it was mentioned that the tag-line should be more particular to the audience of the app. So the word ‘Societies’ was added.
Branding is a developing and on-going process, so this is not necessarily where the brand of Turnout will end up. But it has been an incredibly useful task to consider, within this short amount of time at my placement (only 5 weeks), the kinds of issues that start-ups, and existing companies, face when considering their branding. Nobody ever likes to remember the time that Coca Cola re-branded to ‘New Coke’ in 1985, which is why branding is such a powerful tool today.