… if you don’t like your own brand identity!
“But I don’t like green. Can we try it in another colour?”
This was what a client said to us, a couple of years ago, when we presented our concept for his new brand identity.
It seems like an understandable response and a reasonable request, right?
Now, this particular client was in financial services, and was setting up a new business. When he came to us he had nothing – no logo, no printed collateral, no website, not even a name – and, of course, he wanted to give his venture the best chance of being a success.
He’d made the decision to increase these chances by investing what was (for him) quite a bit of money in the development of his brand identity.
For those not familiar with colour theory, green is associated with – amongst other things – money, wealth and stability. It’s no coincidence that several banks use it in their colour palette. Our Creative Director Mike hadn’t just picked the colour because he was feeling in a particularly verdant mood; there was logic behind the decision.
So, back to our meeting…
There was a pause. Mike and I looked at each other, and then I blurted out “It doesn’t really matter whether YOU like it though, does it? The important thing is, does it work for your customers?”
I realise I probably could have phrased this in a more kindly manner.
But our client maintained the reasons for his dislike and clearly wasn’t going to be happy with what we’d suggested.
In the end, after we’d made some changes, he settled on orange as the main colour, and was happy. We rolled out the brand on his printed materials and his new website and we were 95% happy too.
About six months later, I happened to bump into him at a networking event. We’d both been so busy we hadn’t seen much of each other since the project was finished, and I asked him how things we going.
He said things were going great, business was really good, he was going to easily exceed all the targets he’d set for himself etc., but then he looked at me a bit sheepishly and said,
“I think you were right about the green though.”
It turned out that although his brand identity, his business cards, and his website had all done a great job of getting him the sort of customers he wanted, several people had commented negatively on the brand colour; “not sure about the orange though, why did you go for that?”, that sort of thing.
He realised not everyone thought orange was great, and he’d let his own preferences get in the way of what was best for his business, and was obviously feeling uncomfortable about it.
I felt I couldn’t be too hard on him, because I know from personal experience just how difficult it can be to not let these things affect your judgement.
Those that know me well know I have a childish, football-team-related dislike of the colour red. I don’t wear red, I wouldn’t drive a car that was red, I objected when one of my children said it was their favourite colour. It’s pathetic really.
You can imagine my face then, when Mike first presented his ideas for the new Tomango brand.
However, in what turned out to be one of my more grown-up moments, I was able to see beyond my own petty preferences and trusted Mike that red was the right colour to use. He was right, of course. Loads of clients and contacts have commented over the years how much it suits us, and it’s definitely helped us win business.
A good design team challenges its client, and understands that the most important person is the one identified in the brief. We see a big part of our role as challenging your ideas, to get the best for you and your business.
So, harsh though it might seem, I’m sorry to say that when it comes to your brand identity, it’s not all about YOU. If it works for your target customers, your brand is doing its job.
Tomango is a brand, web design and digital marketing agency based just outside Ringmer.
If you think your brand identity’s not doing a very good job of getting your message across, give Managing Director Mark Vaesen a call on 01273 814019 or get in touch via our website for a chat and to find out how we can help.