Ideas + Insights

4 branding rules to break. Right now.

Tess Robinson

Branding can be a labyrinth to figure out, especially when you’re fairly green in the game. Logos, taglines, marketing plans, strategies, social media — there’s a tonne of stuff to navigate, and a set of rules that typically apply to go along with it. Rules are a general given in life; Don’t cross until the little green man is showing. Wear a helmet when you’re riding a bike. Always swim between the red and yellow flags. I, personally, the stickler for rules that I am, follow all these rules. But I am well aware I am the exception. For most people, rules are made to be broken. And so for all you rebels out there, this one’s for you.

    One of the biggest lies in branding (especially for start-ups) is that you can fall in the trap of wanting to please everyone. To follow in the footsteps of Apple/Nike/insert-cult-brand-here. To win over every single person to buy your product and love your brand. Sure, wide reach and appeal is a great goal, and for some products and services, a large and varied target audience exists. But, if you’re trying too hard to accommodate both the tween girl, and her 40 year old father, also her older 25 year old sister and the sister’s boyfriend’s cat, you’re going to get yourself into a mess. It’s ok to pick one style, or one person and run 100% in that direction. Most likely you’ll end up with a much clearer end brand that way.
    It’s a classic. We all scroll through Instagram and Pinterest and lust over that latest brand that’s come out and is so. cool. It’s the colour of the season and it’s in all the right fonts. The model of the moment is Insta storying the bejeebus it and all of a sudden we really, really want our brand to be just like that one! The people will love it! It’s so now! There’s the trap right there. If your brand is cool now, probably means in 12 months, it will not be. There’s a fine line between trendy and dated, and you wanna get as far away from the line as possible. Your brand has to be your brand, timeless, speaking to your target audience. It’s more than likely that what’s currently trendy might not actually align with your brand values.
    Pretend your logo is like the leading lady in a film. It’s beautiful, it’s well crafted and it’s the absolute hero of the story. But imagine the movie without the dorky-but-kinda-cute boy next door, the fun-loving best friend and the overbearing mother? Every hero needs their supports, and this goes for your logo, too. A big rule of branding is that the logo is the feature, and hear us right, we are all about a beautiful logo being centre stage. However, we’re just as into your brand fonts, icons and patterns to really make that brand sing. We all love getting mail, especially a package. Imagine opening the mailbag to a beautiful box, with a logo all over it. Inside the box is a printed tissue paper (logo on repeat) sealed with a sticker of the logo. Once you rip this open, there’s a thank you card with a big logo on the front and you get to the product and there it is again, the logo! You get our point right? The logo is important, but it’s not the be all and end all.
    It’s a beautiful notion isnt it? You find your perfect designer at the perfect time when you have the perfect budget and boom! Brand for life. As fairytale as it is, we have found that a large part of what we do are brand-refreshes. Sometimes you need to let go of parts of your branding to further your brand. Maybe a new logo, maybe just cleaning up your elements and making everything consistent. Whatever it is, your loyalty should lie in making your brand it’s best, not to holding onto it’s logo just ‘cause.

Related articles


Can someone please just make me feel something?

If you’re a brand builder of any kind, it is your job to redefine the laws of.


7 things great brands do.

If I had a dollar for every time a new client of ours submitted ‘Apple’ as their.


Why building a business in your 20’s is the best idea ever

Building a business in your 20's is the best idea ever. Hear from Tess as she lays.