When it comes to starting up a business (or maintaining one), having a well thought out brand is key to making sure people remember you for the right reasons. When there are often so many competitors in the same sector as you, it’s your brand and what you stand for that sets you apart. Deciding what these brand values are, and how to go about showing them, can be quite challenging. So, to get you inspired, here is a list of 5 companies – from start-ups to multinationals – who have nailed their branding strategy.
1. Pantone – Living up to their creative image
Pantone is a paint company which has been innovative since 1963, when founder Lawrence Herbert created the Pantone Matching System, which is now used to identify and match colours across projects. As a company whose paint is used worldwide for graphic arts to fashion, plastics to architecture, they’ve created a brand that sells itself on being forward thinking and creative.
The reason they’re nailing their strategy: Pantone have created brilliant campaigns to make sure they live up to their creative image, and one of the best examples has to be their ‘Project Monsoon’ – it is both visually stunning and remarkably creative.
Using paint that changes colour when mixed with rain, Pantone worked with designers to create beautiful, aquatic-themed walkways that bring bursts of life and colour during the otherwise gloomy rainy reason in South Korea. Yoonshin Kim, one of the creative minds behind the project, explained that it was ‘inspired by South Korea’s culture of emphasising the importance of the flow of rivers’.
2. Harry’s – they’ve found their niche
You may have heard of the Dollar Shave Club – especially after the big news that they are being bought by Unilever – but another start-up shaving company that has been doing well for itself is Harry’s. They’re nothing to sniff at – since founding in 2013, they have served 2 million customers.
The reason they’re nailing their strategy: DSC has successfully framed their brand around being a no-nonsense, authentic and humorous alternative to the big names like Gillette (who owns 70% of market share). However, Harry’s has found another way to differentiate (distinguish?) themselves in a busy market: by making their brand about quality and sophistication at an affordable price. You can see this just by taking a look at their clean, elegant website: https://www.harrys.com/
They have also been very clever in launching targeted campaigns. In 2013 they launched National Shave Day, cleverly designed to take place immediately after ‘Movember’. On National Shave Day there was ‘a 360% lift in traffic to the website’, so this strategy has evidently paid off!
3. Soap and Glory – they make themselves unforgettable
If you have ever popped into Boots or Superdrug, you will probably find this brand familiar. Since 2006 they have been known for their great smelling scrubs, moisturisers, and makeup.
The reason they’re nailing their brand strategy: although there are many brands on offer in drug stores, Soap and Glory is one of the most well-known, thanks to their distinct packaging. Their use of quirky vintage-style pictures, pink packaging, and humorous puns completes their image as a fun, playful brand, and make it easy to recognise them anywhere.
4. Hungryroot – they tested their brand first
A recent start-up you may not have heard of, Hungryroot is nevertheless making waves on the other side of the pond. As their name suggests, they began by selling healthy, tasty, and easy to prepare meals made of root vegetables, but have now branched out into other healthy versions of otherwise indulgent foods (cookie dough, for example). In their first month, they sold 10,000 meals, and are only getting bigger – they are expanding to Whole Foods to go nation-wide in the US.
The reason they’re nailing their brand strategy: Hungryroot were clever on two counts: one was that they clearly identified their market. Founder Ben McKean has explicitly stated that they are not targeting meal-kit companies but convenience food, and this has given them a way to set themselves apart. By using modified atmosphere packaging, they provide an alternative, healthier convenient meal that can match the shelf-life of their microwaveable counterparts, making their brand stand out in the area they chose.
The second reason they’ve nailed their branding strategy is because they’ve tested it. McKean told the Business Insider that although “99%” of other food companies launched directly through supermarkets like Whole Foods, they decided to resist, and began with a ‘direct-to-consumer strategy which has allowed the team to collect detailed data and debut 40 products’, of which Whole Foods will now stock the four most popular. This provided them a smaller platform on which to hone their brand before they invested heavily (tense consistency). Now that they have gotten it right, they can go forward with their strongest foot – in this case, their four strongest products.
5. Axe – with effort, you can rebrand yourself
The final brand on this list has been known in the past for its ‘comical, hyperbolic ads about how Axe would turn [bros] into chick magnets’. While the messaging was certainly memorable, it wasn’t necessarily favourable – with accusations of sexism – and having grown unimpressive in today’s increasingly progressive society. So why is it on this list?
The reason they’re nailing their brand strategy: Axe has taken a welcome step away from its former brand image in its campaign Find Your Magic. This is a video that not only acknowledges, but celebrates men of different races and orientations, whether they are in a wheelchair or dancing in heels, and portrays Axe as a far more inclusive brand than they were before. This bid to move away from ‘outdated views of masculinity’ has also been highly successful – Find Your Magic has already been viewed over 10 million times on YouTube, and Purchase Consideration has gone up since the campaign has launched. This only goes to show that even bigger companies whose brand image seem cemented can change for the better if they go about it the right way.
If you want to find out more about how and why you should set up your own business brand, be sure to book a space at CareerCentral’s event ‘Why Every Start-Up Needs a Brand’, through MyCareerCentral.
Want to learn more about social enterprise, entrepreneurship and launching your own business? Check out Global Entrepreneurship Week here.