Interview with Inkbot Design: What Does It Take To Start a Brand?
Creating a brand is an exciting endeavor that demands a whole array of different skills. To really enjoy this process, it is essential that you understand what a brand really is and that is not an easy question to answer. That’s why we asked the expert – Stuart L. Crawford, Creative Director and founder of the Inkbot Design specializing in company logo design and branding who has been creating brands for over ten years, to share his experience and thoughts on what it takes to start a brand.
Nowadays, establishing a brand seems to be everyone’s goal, but what does being a brand actually mean?
There is no standard interpretation of a brand. It’s everything that surrounds a business, and its products, making it stand out. This means that a brand comprises a name, logo, and more difficult things to perceive, like emotional influence and values.
Is there a written or unwritten rule about how much time it takes to become a brand, or does it depend on factors other than time?
In my experience, five years.
The first couple is about building internally – market research, creating messaging and tone of voice, and marketing materials that adhere to the brand guidelines.
The next three, to begin with, are all about showcasing what you’ve built and getting your solutions into people’s minds as THE one to choose.
You must have clients of very different profiles. Has anyone ever wanted you to create their brand identity while you knew that was impossible in that specific case? In other words, can you make a brand out of anything?
Yes, we have had clients from all over the world in many industries. Everything from a charity in the Philippines that needed a logo with no budget to a local Accountancy firm looking for a rebrand to celebrate their 50th anniversary.
Ultimately, you can create a brand for anything; we have only turned down clients with whom we disagree – i.e. their beliefs or reason for existing going against our morals.
Logo design is something that you also do. How important is a logo in terms of branding?
50% of your Brand success depends on your logo design. It’s essential.
Most people realize that a logo is an essential part of branding. However, only a few know how to make the logo recognizable.
Is a website an absolute necessity for starting any type of business considering the times we’re living in?
I’d still say yes, even though social media influencers, for example, have achieved success without one.
What I always say is, what if that social media channel you put 1000% of your effort into goes bust. Or its algorithm stops your revenue potential. What do you do then?
Having your own, personally controlled, website means that no matter what, as long as you keep it up, you have a landing page that can allow some brand influence.
How does one brand stand out from others?
The thing about managing a company is that the work never stops. And that includes your brand.
To keep up with the times, you have to be ready to develop – whether that’s by adapting your values, advancing your service, changing your visual identity to something more contemporary, or doing a whole re-haul.
Every brand wants loyal consumers. What does every brand need to inspire loyalty?
By investing in your brand image, customer engagement, understanding what makes your audience tick, you become more than a seller to them.
Let’s imagine you need a chair, a modest one, fast. Where would you get it? Almost positively, there is IKEA on your list.
Even if you have never shopped there, somehow, you know that their products are valuable and feel you can trust them. That is called the IKEA effect, and it helps the group spread its brand loyalty all over the world.
What do you enjoy most in the process of creating a brand?
Having a brief ready and learning what makes this new brand tick – then sitting down with a pen and paper doing a brain dump. Frequently, this is when the solution appears, when a simple visual doodle jumps out and shows its potential.
That is the best feeling. Only closely followed when you get onto the computer and recreate it digitally. It’s like your baby has been born on screen, and it’s beautiful.
You just hope the client agrees!
What’s your piece of advice for those starting a new business?
Prepare yourself for 10 hours a day, seven days a week. Unless you have a massive team and capital from day one, most startup businesses are between 1 and 5 people in a team, so the workload can be heavy when your job is what big organizations have teams for.
In simpler thoughts…
Get a website and domain secured, along with social media handles. You may not need them right now, but you will be disappointed if someone else has taken them in a year.
What is Inkbot Design?
Inkbot Design is a Creative Branding Agency based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. We help clients globally with everything from a logo to a complete brand identity that helps them grow.
Be sure to check out our work and design blog!