Imagine this scenario. You want to treat a special someone to a homemade meal and you would like to make him/her one of their favorite dishes. You ask them what is their heart’s desire and the answer is “I’m not sure but I’ll know it when I taste it.”
What would you do? Make 10 dishes and hope that one of them hits the spot? Well that would not be an efficient use of your time and would create a lot of waste — even from 10 dishes you can’t be sure if you will come close.
This is why a person who is trying to bake your brand should ask you a lot of questions up front. These questions would be about the audience you are trying to feed. What are the demographics? Are their taste buds classic, contemporary, foreign or fusion. Are there any allergies or bad associations with a certain type of cuisine or key ingredient?
Whenever I start a project I ask as many questions that come to mind. Why do I do this? Because I want to serve up a bunch of your favorites so you are delighted by the choice versus being left hungry for other options. And, like any great chef, I may throw in something with a twist for you to taste that you have never considered trying before. Together, we might just come up with your new favorite.
When I was a kid I always loved the strange words my mom would say like "whatchamacallit" and "thingamajig". Later on she taught me the beauty of creating two words in one play during Scrabble.
Then in my professional life, when I was in my first briefing for Microsoft, I heard the most wonderful sounding word "wysiwyg". I couldn't wait to find out what that meant. Shortly after, naming a company, Zip2.com and seeing it sell so quickly was a thrill!
At Ogilvy I was fortunate to have copy writing partners that would allow me during our conception phase to throw out a headline such as "CROSS BORDERS, NOT FINGERS." for DHL's international delivery service, and actually letting it get to presentation stage.
Words are powerful, that is for sure. I'm a graphic designer and art director by training and love playing with typography. But when it comes to words, playing with them, it's just down right fun.
So here it is and it is official. (drum roll here please).
My first word:
Have you heard about the next big thing? There’s a buzz around it. Companies are trying to embrace it. Experts are being hired. Laggards are getting fired. Departments are being reorganized. New companies are emerging daily claiming to be experts on it. Digital marketing.
But… here’s some news. It’s not new. In fact, the whole strategy behind digital marketing has been around for a long time. CTA (call to action), CRM (customer relationship management), conversion, testing — all of this has been around for years. What was it called? "Direct Marketing."
What's new? The platform.
“The Internet is really about highly specialized information highly specialized targeting.”
— Eric Schmidt
With the advent of the World Wide Web came social networking platforms provides new funnesl for messaging — Social Media and eMarketing. It is new in that it’s a new vehicle for brands to reach out to customers and build brand awareness, loyalty and even create brand zealots. But the best practices are not new.
From a Direct Marketing vet… yes, I dare admit it, the more I read, the more I smile, as the principles I’ve learned throughout my career still hold true for social media:
Apparently, according to Logo Thief, $24.99 gets you someone else's logo! Something to consider when you are looking to hire talent to create your brand identity. Design firms in other countries are not held to the same copyright laws as in the US. Might be okay if you are opening up a brick and mortar in Tristan De Cunha. However, most businesses need a website to confirm their legitimacy and to go for a broader reach… don't forget what the first 2 Ws stand for in www. Be sure to invest in a logo you know for sure you can call your own.
One of my favorite books is "A Giacometti Portrait" by James Lord. It put my mind to rest of my constant desire to make my work perfect and knowing it will always feel like "it's the beginning of what it could be."
You finally determined your domain name AND it's available! So you jump on it and buy it. A couple of months later your receive a notice in the mail that you need to renew or lose your domain name. What do you do? IGNOR IT.
When the legitimate time comes, just renew with who registered your domain with in the first place or shop around. You are allowed to transfer to any registrar of your choice.
NOTE: If you go with the big Daddy of them all, expect constant upsells. Again, you have options. Do your research and ask around.
One of the first projects I did for IBM I was called into a senior executive's office at Ogilvy. My offense? I changed the color of the register mark after IBM so that it matched the logo -- IBM blue.
My instincts were right by my application was wrong.
Register marks, copyright marks, and the rest… they are important and do serve a purpose. However, they don't need to take over your message.
Some good go-bys from font.com
For ®s, TMs and SMs:
In "March of the Doohickeys" an article by Paul Rapp, a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property law, you can read about the purpose of all of these extra doodads.
Bottom line: the marks need to be legible but not overbearing and not a design element of your logo. So if you are designing a bill board, be sure to scale down the size of the register mark accordingly … it doesn't have to be the size of a stop sign. And if you are creating a logo for an LLC my recommendation is to make it look like a "mark" versus part of the name. And always always follow the brand guidelines.
Taking all of my experiences