Be bold or blend in.
Those are the two options every entrepreneur faces when building a new brand, or refreshing an existing one. And many fall into the trap of creating a brand that follows the conventions of its industry in an attempt to create something that “feels” right.
However, in the real world, that will leave the new brand as nothing more than white noise, in what is likely to be an already noisy industry.
To demonstrate this point, assuming you have never heard of any of the following energy companies, which do you think you are most likely to remember?
If you were asked to contact one of these brands tomorrow, we’re willing to bet that Bulb is the only brand you would be able to recall.
The trick is to use logos, typefaces, colour palettes and brand assets that differentiate your brand from everyone else in your industry. More than that; what your brand does, how it does it and why it does it, should also articulate a clear difference between your brand and the rest of the competition.
In order to achieve that, you must identify your brand’s core values, including what it believes to be true, and then bring these values to life in ways that are both relevant and meaningful to the intended audience.
If your brand identity is built around generic characteristics such as being dedicated, passionate, trusted, or authentic, then the chances are you don’t have a brand.
Using the energy example above, Bulb’s three core values are to make energy simpler, cheaper and greener. Those values are apparent in everything the company does.
Embedding these values into the actions your business takes, and the decisions it makes is crucial. As Amazon founder Jeff Bezos once said: “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”
Another important thing to mention is that your brand’s message needs to be as simple as possible. Words matter, and taking a complex idea and reducing it down to its simplest form is a key piece to the branding puzzle.
Bulb’s core messaging could have been: “We leverage technology to provide all of our customers with 100% renewable energy, while making it easy to track usage and keep bills low, with one, single tariff for electricity and gas.”
This says exactly what Bulb does. But their real core message of ‘making energy simpler, cheaper, greener’ is much more effective, while articulating the same important points.
So, is this all branding theory or do brands that dare to go against the grain of their industry really stand out and win more customers?
The proof is in the pudding: In 2019 Bulb was named the UK’s fastest growing startup for the second year running, now supplying energy to over one million households in the UK. Just four years after being founded, the company has passed £1.3 billion in revenue.
Be bold or blend in.