Thinking of branding? Think beans on toast

Beans on toast

A great British lunch time staple – but how do you have yours? The classic – as it comes, or do you like a little bit of something else with it, perhaps melted cheese on top or a smidgen of marmite on the toast? The choice is yours.  

Famously the H. J. Heinz Company offered 57 varieties. What does your business offer and how can you get your clients to understand clearly what it is you can offer them? Your branding determines your identity and defines how you appear to those customers and clients. And again the choice is yours but you might need a bit of help getting it just right. 

What is identity?

Identity is normally associated to an individual person rather than an impersonal entity. It’s what makes us different. In business that entity is your company and the identity needs to be recognisable. In the same way that you would want to check or verify the identity of someone appearing at your front door to read a meter, think about how your customers see you when they arrive at your virtual “front door” – be it your business card, facebook page, or website.

A recognisable logo can work wonders for your branding and identity. You may not be able to name the colours in the Microsoft Windows logo, but your eyes will recognise it immediately and identify with it. That recognition will trigger emotions and responses. Do you trust it? Do you admire it? Does it promote value? Or perhaps it’s just not cool.

These may be the questions in the minds of your customers when they see your branding or hear about your business. It all comes back to identity. How many shades of red can the Post Office be? Only one.

Your identity should also project your vision for your business or company. Do you want to appear modern and dynamic, or traditional and safe? Your business objectives and vision should make those things clear for your customers. How do you want them to perceive you? How do they regard you now?

When you plan your offering or service to customers, are they able to choose from a catalogue – or is each deal different? To what extent are you able to offer variety – and at what cost?

As your business begins to grow, will your branding stay the same and be relevant? You should plan to review your materials and “shop front” at regular intervals. In September 2015 Google spent a considerable amount of money (and time) tweaking their image. Why? What was their rationale?

google identity

People claimed the new logo is simpler, younger, friendlier, and more visually in line with Alphabet, Google’s new holding company. If the change had not been announced, would you have noticed? Google’s reasons included a response to new hardware in the market such as smartphones and tablets. Have you visited your own website on a range of devices to ensure it works?

Thinking back to Heinz, it turns out the random attribution of a number to their brandname was based on a journey. While riding a train in New York City in 1896, founder Henry J Heinz saw a sign advertising 21 styles of shoes, which he thought was clever. Although Heinz was making more than 60 products at the time, Henry thought 57 was a lucky number. So, he began using the slogan “57 Varieties” in all his advertising. Today the company has more than 5,700 products around the globe, but still uses the magic number of “57”.

What would Heinz be without the “57”? Would we miss it?