Yet another jump in topics, but brand identity is a good one and something that every startup always seems to be thinking about. The world is very competitive and you want to stand out whether that means product features, price or a new idea. This can seem like a daunting task when you’re small and new.
I have three things that might help, at least they do for me: details, great packaging examples and standing out. All related, all different.
While reading The Monocle Guide to Better Living by Andrew Tuck and Santiago Rodriguez Tarditi I stumbled upon the following quote in a spread entitled HOW TO: start the perfect business by Sophie Grove. In her unassuming second paragraph Sophie writes:
“The identity of a brand is built into the fabric of a project: where you produce, who you employ and how you conduct business are all critical factors. So treasure that spontaneous eureka moment, of course, but do remember that it’s the logistical, behind-the-scenes decisions that will define your enterprise. Starting from scratch, every detail is a move towards identity.“
This immediately struck a chord with me as I have used the term “starting from scratch” many times when speaking about Raum Furniture. Everything you do has a mark on your identity. This is especially true in the interconnected world that we live in today. Every post, tag, like, view and decision is public and reflects upon your brand. As a small business, your brand is you – it’s your identity. When you are mad at a global corporation you don’t have a clue who is in charge that should be the receiver of your anger. When someone is mad at Raum Furniture, they are mad at me. Be careful with this identity and make good decisions.
As we’ve been moving through a series on product design, one that that is often put aside until it’s too late is your presentation. For me, as someone that won’t often interact with customers, my presentation is my website and my product when it first gets into the consumer’s hands. We all have heard and know that good packaging and a great out of box experience are necessary. That’s hard to do and does add cost to a product. For me, that cost is often 20% of the final price – and that’s a staggering figure that I struggle with. However, it does make for a nice product, especially when you are already dreading putting together furniture when you don’t have time as it is.
Fortunately, Joe Freedman nailed the balance perfectly with his Cycloid Drawing Machine. He displays his product beautifully and has it looking less like a box of intimidating parts and more like a 10 piece kid’s jigsaw puzzle. Check out Wayne Schmidt’s video review highlighting how great of a job Joe did in packaging the machine.
Pride of construction is a key takeaway for me. Joe did a great job enhancing his brand identity by paying attention to the details. I’m still struggling to find a cost effective yet functional packaging vendor for my products. It would be great to order 10,000 boxes at a time to cut the prices in half but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
I’m not 100% convinced that you have to be 100% unique in order to be successful. Why not, you ask? I frequent a street market that primarily sells two things: fresh produce and fabric. For some reason, I don’t buy too much Turkish lace or faux leather, but I do like to browse for fresh (and cheap) produce. Browse is the key word here. There are usually about 80 stalls, most of which sell the exact same thing at the exact same prices. How is that possible?
My belief is that there is a lot of need and just a few differences in personality that make you choose where to shop. Sometimes it’s easier if one guy has the basil, carrots and asparagus that you are looking for, making it a one stop shop. Sometimes you like the sing-song chanting of the guy hawking his red strawberries. My point is, there is room for everyone out there. By paying attention to the details, working hard and making subtle changes to the status-quo, you can carve out a piece of the proverbial pie for yourself and your products.
What are your ideas and inspiration for creating your brand identity?