Does your branding bring value to your business? On October 14th, the IPBN hosted a Master Class entitled “Branding that Converts Sales” with IPBN member Shane Moran, who began by giving an overview of his background, saying "timelines don’t follow a straight line in that it’s generally...two steps forward and one step back.” He began his career at an ad agency from which he went on to re-brand a cocktail bar in Cardiff, and further dove into the industry as a graphic designer and later into freelance branding where he now works full-time for himself. It's clear that he subscribed to the belief system that he further applies to all his clients: “The power of knowing the targets and objectives,” as Moran said, “is paramount.”
But what is a brand exactly, when you look past the obvious definition? According to Moran, “The brand is an impression- it’s what people say about your product or service. Branding is the intentional effort you make about your business: How it’s heard, how it’s understood, the qualities that people connect with…and communication is not just about putting stuff out there and magically expecting people to comprehend what it is you’re doing…the inherent function of communication is to make a change happen.”
He went on to discuss the purpose of design as a formal response to a strategic question and lumped communication, branding, and design together to equal the idea of a brand strategy. “Having a set of clear objectives solves a lot of problems,” he says. These brand guidelines are a playbook to communicating what you do and ensuring consistency, not leaving important things to chance as the strategy and guidelines cover positioning, the message, brand personality, identity, presence, and core offers.
Finding out who your core customer is the best way to begin standing out in the marketplace, and there’s a lot of involved thinking that businesses must do to get started. Moving on to logos, wireframes, and creating strategies can only happen when you know who you’re talking to. That then translates to problem-solving, imagery, videos, blogs, and further on to more intricate areas of customer support, distribution channels, scaling, and beyond.
Moran did three case studies, the first with IPBN member company Saltwater Consulting and the CEO Allan Boyle, who led the previous IPBN Master Class on "How to Scale Your Business Efficiently." Moran helped Boyle build the Saltwater brand from logo to website, and Boyle was able to call on his wealth of experience to build it out from there, very much working hand in hand with Moran throughout the entire process.
The second case study was on the company Notice, a software company embedded in universities all over the UK. The tech platform enables you to be aware of tech opportunities that can keep you in the know, and they wanted to talk to people in the finance industry in order to branch out from their current positioning. Moran mocked up the logo, apps, event banners and press release mock-ups, and more. The client was able to secure funding, gain clarity on who the business serves, and move forward toward ultimate success.
The last case study was done on an ethical jewelry company, formerly called Green Moss Designs, that wanted to redefine luxury. Moran delivered clarity to the two founders on who their customer base was, articulating their message, rebranding their logo, and changing their business name to Zor Couture— a nod to the first names of the founders and the inspiration behind the project’s inception.
Lastly, Moran ran a mini-brand audit with the company SharpSheets, one of the services he offers clients as they get started. Rémi Gonçalves represented the brand and introduced the business, which is a web app whereby entrepreneurs can get information on how to raise finances from public sources and to also invest. Moran led him through constructive criticisms of his brand: the positioning, the brand message, and the brand identity. Moran gave tips on how to communicate the message of the brand simply, or as he put it, “picking a lane and sticking to it…and looking like an authority on the tools you can sell to make people’s lives easier.”