This is a guest post from Murah Mukundu of the upcoming clothing brand Oneiroi Apparel. He put together some really nice insight on some questions you should ask yourself when launching or running a clothing line.
Branding: My story so far
I had a dream I took over the world one night. I woke up the following morning and set about laying intricate plans on how to dominate the global market. I promptly compiled a list of what to avoid when plotting world domination (Wikileaks, Armageddon, and the Illuminati, just to name a few). Poor branding was by far the biggest pitfall to avoid and this is what I have learned so far.
Branding is the most important aspect of business and is critical for continued growth and longevity. A good name, catchy slogan and consistent imagery are integral to building a strong brand, but I have learned these are merely the prerequisites. A common misconception about branding is that it pertains to the aesthetics of a website and a quality logo, which is true but is only part of the story. A strong brand foundation also depends on a cohesive brand message and sound positioning.
Branding in Theory
Branding is about differentiating one company from another, Company ‘A’ from Competitors ‘B’ and ‘C’. Trusty Wikipedia describes a brand as the ‘identity of a specific product, service or business that can take many forms including a name, logo, colour combination or slogan’. An eye catching corporate identity will stand out on a market stall. But will it stand out, in a potential customer’s mind, from all the other corporate identities on the Interweb, in publications, and on TV?
Broadly speaking, branding is about the factors that build a company’s image and how consumers perceive it in relation to everything else on the market. In addition to quality and consistent imagery, the makings of a successful brand rely on two fundamentals:
1. Brand Message: A brand message describes what makes a brand unique, what makes it different from other brands available on the market. A strong brand message is a good way to differentiate from the myriad of other messages that clutter consumers’ minds. In order to ensure a brand message is noticed and remembered amidst this melee for attention, it has stand for something specific that resonates with its target audience.
Several questions should be considered and incorporated into a brand message. What is it about? What does it stand for? What are its values and beliefs? Can it deliver everything it promises? The ever-dependable Google sent me in the direction of this article about how to write a ‘Great Mission Statement’.
2. Brand Positioning: Positioning is all about how the consumer perceives a brand. A quick Google search on the topic pointed me in the direction of this cohesive and informative article about positioning (Side note: plagiarism and unoriginality are bad for business). In short brand positioning is about what the consumer thinks about a brand in relation to all the other brands on the market. Is it fast fashion or is it designer fashion? Is it cheap or is it value for money?
Branding in Practice
Oneiroi Apparel is my brand, the first of my many plans to take over the world. I have I have applied about branding and will hopefully avoid the pitfalls of poor branding.
‘Oneiroi’ is a term from ancient Greek mythology that describes the spirits of dreams, three genii who were responsible for conveying messages from the Gods in the guise of dreams. I opted for a mantra. ‘No Tax on Dreams’ isn’t a catchphrase or tagline, it is a philosophy I remind myself of everyday.
This mantra embodies my brand message, dream big dreams. Nothing worth having comes easy but if you’re willing to put the work in to achieve something, the sky is the limit and the possibilities are infinite. I dream about world domination. Okay, I have to admit there is a tiny chance it may never happen. Nonetheless my reasoning is simple; I’ll aim for the moon, and even if I miss I’ll still be among the stars. The best thing of all – the inspiration (a dream) to work hard(er) is free.
In case your missed it the central theme of Oneiroi Apparel is dreams; the hopes and aspirations that resonate within society. Some are good, others not so good but all are dreams nonetheless.
In addition to a professional logo and website good branding is also about not only explaining why one brand is different, or indeed better, than another. But also about positioning a company in a specific space within the consumers’ mind.
The moral of this tutorial is dream big dreams (and why not wear an Oneiroi Apparel t-shirt when you go about achieving that dream?). Oneiroi Apparel is about more than concepts and cotton; think of it as a fashionable lifestyle-coach on the journey to achieving your hopes and aspirations.
Oneiroi Apparel is launching mid-January 2011. Subscribe to my mailing list at www.oneiroiapparel.com for access before the launch and an exclusive discount.
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Footnote: If you’re dreaming about world domination too, dream another dream. That one is taken!