Blog : Brand Development

Does Branding Matter?

Does Branding Matter?

In short, Yes, of course brands matter.

But here’s why,

Brands are important to those who produce goods and services and to those who consume them. In this new age of mass production and economic development, society is pushing commoditization of goods and services. This makes it so goods and services become more and more similar in form and function, as quality climbs to relatively high levels, then the selection can be determined largely on the basis of price.


Branding is the bulwark against commoditization. Take razors for example. What is it, really, but metal blades attached to a handle? Yet gross margins on branded razors are very large. Branding supports these margins as it works to differentiate one razor from another and to create some meaningful distinction in the mind of the consumer.

On top of that, brands have proven to be really well-suited as platforms for communication. Well-crafted and professionally designed, brands (with language, logo, messaging, colors, and other brand guidelines) can amplify and focus marketing communications. This means more bang for the metaphorical buck.

There is also research to suggest that brands are a very efficient way for consumers to organize information and remember it.  Just think of the easy associations you make with well known brands like McDonalds, Disney and Starbucks.

Why are people willing to pay more for branded products than for unbranded products?


Ever wonder why people are seem to be willing to pay more for a branded product, when they can get the exact same product as a generic brand? The answer to this has to do with consumer tastes and perceived quality. Consumers tend to feel that a brand name product is of higher quality than a product that does not have a brand. If consumers believe that the good is of high quality, they will pay more for it than if they think it is of low quality. This is where branding comes in. Creating and publicizing a brand tends to create the perception of quality among consumers. When they perceive this, they will pay more for the good.

In conclusion.

Yes, of course brands matter.

The Power of Colors in Branding

The Power of Colors in Branding

Colors are vital to the success of your brand.

color wheel, branding

Often times the importance of colors are overlooked when branding. The color palette for your brand should be determined only after research of your target audience and once the personality of your brand is defined. How easy would it be for a new business owner to simply pick their favorite colors for their brand? Super easy, but it shouldn’t work that way!

Step One:

The colors chosen for your brand should tie along with the purpose and the personality you want to convey to your customers.

Let’s imagine a few scenarios really quick:
Imagine if the whole world was blue. Trees were blue, grass was blue, your skin was blue, everything blue.
How would you feel? Which emotions would you feel most?
Again, imagine if the whole world was red? How about black?

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@amd5555″ suffix=””]Our emotions change with the colors we see. Every color has a purpose and a personality attached to it.[/inlinetweet]

Allow me  to help you get an idea of the type of colors best for your brand. You probably have an idea, but it’s usually not as apparent as it may seem.
You have a baby clothing brand, your colors should reflect pastels and should be gender neutral-yellow, green.
You have a Hawaiian restaurant. Your colors should reflect the Hawaiian community. Bright pinks, bright greens.

In regards to making your colors reflect your purpose, here at STANCE, our colors are red and tangaroa. Red is a bold, strong color associated with motivation and a desire to take action. Tangaroa (sample here) is a deep blue color. Dark blues instill trust and authority while still maintaining stability. We are trustworthy, highly motivated and action oriented, yet still stable and strong. Our colors reflect how we have positioned ourselves and our promise to our customers.

Choose the colors that will reflect your brand’s personality best-how you want the customer’s to perceive your brand. We are visual people. We get an idea of a person by what they’re wearing and the colors they use when presenting themselves. Your brand colors should do the same.

Color creates, enhances, changes, reveals, and establishes the mood of the painting. –Kiff Holland

Step Two:

These colors should relate to the brand’s target audience and still be visually appealing. During research, it should be determined the demographic of your primary audience and the colors that most influence them.

menvswomen colors when branding


Step Three:

A brand’s colors will also create consistency.  These colors will be everywhere in your business-logo design, collateral, websites, social media, packaging, etc. If it turns out the colors are not depicting what you had in mind, you’ll have to start over and that can be costly.

color branding collateral


Once step three is accomplished, the colors chosen for the brand should relate all of the personality the brand has to its target audience. The colors should also be used in all forms of business material to create consistency throughout the brand. Let your colors prove to the world your purpose.

McDonald’s Brand Persona: Case Study

McDonald’s Brand Persona: Case Study

Created in France around 2009, McDonald’s claims the anthropomorphized box “brings fun and excitement to kids’ meals, while also serving as a persona for balanced and wholesome eating. ” Despite the purportedly noble aspirations of promoting healthier eating among children, Happy is entering the country bruised and beleaguered.




When U.S. McDonald’s shared a preview of the character on Twitter, you might imagine, the people of the United States said more than hello to Happy. Just reading the first handful of responses on Twitter:

“That! Is Scary!”, “Oh, this was a mistake, McDonald’s”; “Why is he in pain?”,  “Do you eat it? Or does it eat you?” ; “A McStake”;  “This looks so scary”; ”


brand-persona-twitter brand-persona-twitter2

A recent poll by Mashable shows a vast majority of viewers think the mascot is terrifying






Kids react to new mascot (NY magazine)


In lieu of these events and PR, A spokeswoman for McDonald’s  responded in a statement with dry confidence: “Not all comments reflect the broader view.” Accurately translated, haters gonna hate.


Perception vs Reality in Brand Development

While we appreciate the effort, there is one detail McDonald’s Happy Meal marketing strategists just aren’t getting when it comes down to changing their brand. The reason big brands become big brands is because of an early well-established mission for the company, which in this case was to provide fast greasy meals for people on the go. When it comes to branding, perception always wins over reality. So, even though McDonald’s reality is they are trying hard to make healthier, more up-scale food, the direct opposite perception about the brand is ingrained in the mind of the consumers. The brand has practically become synonymous with unhealthy food, and changing that fact in peoples mind is going to take a lot more than a happy meal mascot.



From a broader approach, the standard bystander will see happy’s treatment and view on social media as a complete failure and horrible brand persona. Now while it’s true Happy’s career as an “ambassador” to kids and healthy eating is practically over. His role as a viral campaign however, is booming. Ever since the twitter release everyone seems to be partaking in the so called “roast” and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Generating loads of traffic and sparking numerous discussions and memes, is a great campaign focus in today’s digital age. Recently, online marketplace DesignCrowd challenged its graphic design community to a Photoshop contest that would drop the much-maligned mascot into horror movie posters. Creating a whole community that spreads the word and creates viral images.


With all this exposure and popularity online who knows, maybe adults will order happy meals just to see this so called “terrifying” mascot


Read More on:

How to Successfully Build a Brand Persona


The Importance of Brand Positioning

The Importance of Brand Positioning

Some of the best brands go out of their way to own a word or phrase as well as a related space in consumers’ minds, which becomes each brand’s position in the marketplace. In simple terms, a successful brand positioning strategy allows a brand image and identity to quickly and effectivly give meaning for consumers and differentiate it from competitor brands.

Consumers build brands, not companies.

In the end it’s consumers who experience a brand, develop expectations for it, and believe the brand promise. Because of this we believe, your brand’s position must not only be believable and unique but also meaningful. Consumers in this day and age, are gravitating more towards brands that offer meaningful differentiation because they want to be part of something bigger than themselves.



Brand positioning is also important in focusing a brand. A focused brand is a powerful brand. A brand position needs to be highly focused for best results. Vans for example, is a brand that focuses on appealing to a certain demographic. That being Skaters, identifying their brand shoe with the cool lifestyle of someone who skates. Their efforts have been drawing traffic to customers who don’t even skate but want to be apart of something.


The traditional consumer is bombarded with messages every day, making it harder for consumers to keep track of everything. There is no time to sort through weak messages and find one’s way out of a jumble of confusing messages. Focus is key to brand success.



Exhibit 1


Brand Positioning at STANCE

At STANCE, we’ve chosen to focus on Brand Positioning. We could have easily tried to be another cookie cutter “full-service” branding agency. However, we made a conscious decision not to. By doing so, it allows us to focus our efforts and therefore be able to be really great at one thing. Providing value to our customers through strong brand positioning.

What is Branding?

What is Branding?

What is Branding?

Branding is one of the most misunderstood terms. In my humble opinion this is what I believe branding is.

Branding is…

It is a carefully researched & planned initiative to articulate and clearly communicate what a company, product, or service stands for, who it caters to and it’s meaningful difference as opposed to other similar companies/products/services.

Research and Brand Strategy lay the foundation of a brand, then brand systems (logos, websites, color schemes, visual hammer, images, videos etc) communicate a brand’s value and it’s difference in a way that creates both an emotional and logical connection.

This is normally achieved through marketing, advertising, endorsements, community engagement and other forms of promotions.

Branding is a long term initiative that takes time.

For branding to be successful, you need to be clear, consistent & credible!

With today’s overcrowded marketplace, branding is becoming more and more valuable.

So next time someone asks you, “What is Branding?” have the understand what a brand is first, that then makes it much easier to communicate what branding.

See the infographic below;


4 Key Marketing Principles

4 Key Marketing Principles

The Principles of Marketing through the eyes of a marketing student.

As a student studying marketing and advertising at West Career & Technical Academy, we learn a lot about the “fundamentals of advertising” AKA, vocab words and charts. But one thing that really stood out to me, were the 4 principles of marketing and just how universal they were to every business.


Most businesses get too caught up with the day to day aspects of running their business that when asked, “what makes them different?”, they are unable to answer, or give a generic answer such as “quality service”. These simple principles are most often overlooked and not applied, but can be used to find and focus on a companies, meaningful difference.

My purpose here is to simplify and present them in a way that any business can quickly apply them on a daily basis, and by no means is a class level lecture on the aspects of marketing.


So here they are, the 4 key marketing principles :


Specialization is determining where you are going to specialize in your product or service. It’s the product, service, customer, market, or area of technology that you focus all your efforts in.


Differentiation is really key to business. It’s competitive advantage, how it is that you are different and better than your competitor. Because people in the marketplace always want to know, “why should I buy from you, rather than from someone else?”. It’s also your area of excellence or superiority it’s something that you do better than anybody else.
These are the truly some of the most important items to communicate/convey to your customers and audience.
Mere differentiation is not enough, it needs to be meaningful. Consumers are gravitating more towards brands that offer meaningful differentiation because they want to be part of something bigger than themselves.


Segmentation is looking at your market and researching specific customers in the market who value your area of differentiation. This normally results to loyal customers who in most cases are willing to pay more for your area of specialization than anybody else because you understand them so well and your product/service is able to make a deeper emotional connection with them.


Concentration is where you focus your time, money and resources. Increase the efficiency of your advertising. By focusing your message with greater clarity, you can get 5 and even 10 times the response per dollar of advertising than you were getting before. Without focus, you try to be everything to everyone. You stretch yourself too thin and your message never sticks.


I really felt that these principles encompasses a great deal of market psychology and will help business owners home in on what to focus their efforts on. Through the use of strategic marketing and a meaningful STANCE, businesses can benefit greatly, and come out on top.

The One Persona

The One Persona

Soft blue eyes, a killer smile, six foot minimum, no children, a degree, preferably in a sustainable field, close to family, isn’t too stable in his career but there is room to grow, honest, funny…

Finding the person you will spend the rest of your life with is not an easy task. Some people spend their whole lives finding that one special person.

During the time leading up to finding the prize, we create a persona of a person we would like to attract. We create a profile for them. Whether it be if he has a dog or if he has money in the bank, we know him. They wake up at 7am, take the dog out, then make themselves a bowl of cereal with a banana on the side. This fantasy world goes on for the rest of their day.

The point is that we develop a persona for our target audience, the people we want to attract. The same needs to happen with your brand. A persona needs to be created for the exact target audience. You need to visualize what your customer does throughout their day and how your brand will be intertwined. You are going to spend the rest of your brand’s life with its persona. Therefore, you need to make sure you can commit and be serious about your new relationship.

The only real way of knowing a persona is to know its ins and outs, its secrets, and how you both can have a meaningful relationship.


What is A Brand?

What is A Brand?


You either stand for something, or brand for nothing.

It’s true strong brands stand for something. Brands that commit to a meaningful STANCE —and those who experience them—win. But what is a brand? Is it a clean logo design? A stylish and functional website? Quite a bit of confusion, right? I think the word “brand” is one of those words that is widely used but unevenly understood.

Dictionary’s definition of the term brand

The first dictionary definition of the word “Brand” is, “A type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name.” Used in this sense the term Brand could very well be replaced by the term product or trademark. Here at STANCE we feel a brand is about much more than simply the product or service the company is offering.

A brand is really the relationship between the consumer and the company. It’s important to add that sense of humanity into a business if you want to create a good and lasting relationship with your customers. A brand needs to have life to it. A brand must also be purpose driven; having a purpose is a key factor in building a strong and meaningful brand.It helps show your customers what you do and why you’re doing it, and this leads to a much deeper connection.

On a base level you could say it’s about community, tradition, and values. Now were not saying it’s easy getting these ideals across to the public or consumer. It’s a purposeful task that utilizes disciplined, strategic thinking and creativity.

The result is a brand strategy, story and experience that are elegantly simple and ultimately an asset that drives your business ahead.

Find Your Tribe

Find Your Tribe

Society is moving in a new and meaningful trend.

Until recently, consumers sought benefits and features of a product.  Marketers and companies tried to push their products onto the consumer by displaying how it could fulfill an immediate need.

Today, things are a bit different.  This new trend was voiced by Marty Neumeier in his book, “ZAG” Neumeier states, “In a marketplace of me-too offerings, people choose on the basis of tribal identity. ‘If I buy this product, what will it make me?'”

Enter Tribal Identity

Society is growing far more concerned with how they will be perceived by others and how they can change their behavior to emulate what they believe is right. As we develop our behavior, we try to group ourselves with like behavior of others. This is what Neumeier calls tribal identity. Fortunately for marketers and growing companies, news spreads rather quickly in a tribe giving a brand extra traction. Instead of pushing products onto consumers, Neumeier suggests pulling people into tribal groups. By doing so, a product can;

  1. Grow faster
  2. Display how the use of the product or service can create a positive image for the tribe

In a growing world of companies trying to earn one more dollar, be a company that stands for something meaningful, one that is driven by purpose rather than just mere profits. Strive to do what you feel is right and beneficial to the world around you.

Here at STANCE,  we seek to contribute to the growth of brands that are driven by purpose. Our tribal identity displays how we try to benefit the community and the world around us. Keeping with the new and meaningful trend, STANCE markets brands to tribes seeking value and meaning, while upholding the consumer’s positive societal image.

Since everyone is now seeking to  buy products and services that will uphold their societal image, this will make the process of pulling tribal groups that much easier.



Building a Brand Based on Emotion: Love

Building a Brand Based on Emotion: Love

One of my favorite articles on Building Brands is this one by Susan Gunelius of KeySplash Creative “Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Love and Belonging“. Love is a universal language that everybody understands & that’s why it turns out to be one of the most powerful Brand Building Strategies.

Unfortunately, most brands that are dedicated to impacting humanity tend NOT to use this powerful strategy. That is why although this brand featured below doesn’t fall directly into the category of brands we work with, we felt the need to feature their new Super Bowl ad as an illustration of a job well done with hopes that other brands can learn something from this spot and apply it in their brand development initiatives.

Budweiser Super Bowl XLVIII Commercial — “Puppy Love”

This spot connects with the audience in such a deep emotional level. Read the comments on the video page and you will see what I mean.