In the sixth episode of our I’ve Heard That podcast on the Hurrdat Media Network, host Meghan Trapp chats with Content Director Bailey Hemphill and Creative Director Max Riffner about the importance of creating a brand for your business, how to leave an impression with your brand, and which national brands are doing cool things and which are missing the mark.
What’s the difference between brand and branding?
Hemphill: I feel it’s important to differentiate between “brand” and “branding.” A brand is the outside face you’re presenting to people, whereas branding is the actual strategy of putting together that brand.
Where does a business start when it comes to branding?
Riffner: The first thing you have to do is research. We start by interviewing the business. Find out why they want to change their branding. It could be something negative from their past, or maybe they just need a refresh. It could be that they don’t need a change at all. Our process is to do some research and investigation and find out what it is they feel their current brand is lacking and why they want to change it. We also research what competitors are doing in that space and how we can help visually separate them. Also, how do we talk about this brand moving forward? I think that’s one of the more critical factors in a brand that gets lost. The visuals take precedence in a lot of people’s minds, but a lot of it is how you talk about it. We want to make sure we’re representing the brand as best as possible.
What are the elements of a brand?
Hemphill: First, we have to identify who they are and what they do. If we don’t know that, we can’t build anything. Then, who’s your audience? Who’s your target demographic? You have to know what they like and respond to in order to develop something they want to engage with. Then, there’s all kinds of theory behind what we’re doing as well. We talk a lot about color theory when it comes to designing logos and coming up with an entire brand guide. For example, Hurrdat has this kind of orange, salmon-y color that’s very youthful and energetic. We’ve had a brand in the past that used blue, which was more of a trustworthy, stable, fixed color.
Riffner: I really think about the color and the typography. I spend a lot of time researching typography and why it may fit with a certain brand. I look at the historical context of how the brand was developed and if that’s appropriate and leads into the brand more. We’ve had to rename brands, too. That’s the most difficult part, because that’s the most abstract and subjective piece. What’s in a name?
Hemphill: With names, you’re thinking about URLs and search engine optimization at that point, too. The name has to work for so many different things.
What brands are missing the mark for you?
Riffner: There’s the recent Petco rebrand, and it’s like “What were they thinking?” Maybe the old logo wasn’t the best, but it at least had some personality to it. It’s just become the equivalent of a 2006 Hyundai Elantra.
Hemphill: For people who don’t know what we’re talking about, Petco’s original logo was a red color, and they had a dog and a cat in the logo itself, and the font was pretty cute. They updated it recently. They dropped the dog and cat and made their logo this blah navy color. It would make so much sense for an insurance company, but you’re Petco! You work with pets! That’s such a fun, cute business. Why flatten it to be boring? I don’t get it.
Riffner: I think that’s an example of being scared to update their look in any meaningful fashion and not wanting to alienate anyone, which is silly because it’s a pet store.
Hemphill: There’s this whole trend of modernizing everything. We’ve seen it with apartment buildings and logos and everything, where everything is getting really flattened and has no color whatsoever. It’s so weird to me that they’re doing this across the board. Why? Why wouldn’t you want to stand out and get people’s attention?