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June 18, 2020 | Courtesy of Vents Magazine

Written by Rick Caballo exclusively for Vents Magazine

It can get complicated building and designing for a brand; I attack both in daily situations and most times it can get confusing to anyone. Not only does a brand need to speak for itself, it needs its own identity. All the pieces that breath life and personality to push a message of individuality make a well-rounded brand. It’s a detail involved in designing that makes brands go from good to great. As the Art Director and Co-Founder of Dead Horse Branding, I have seen many brands miss this simple step in their creative process. Without the foundation of creating your brand’s voice and designing to your market, you are likely to get washed up in the sea of all the other lackluster talent. Through a few simple but essential steps, you can work towards having your brand speak for itself, rather than you speaking for it. 1. Establishing identity If you want your brand to be easily recognizable to anyone, you need to know exactly who you are and what you stand for. If you don’t know, how do you expect the world to latch on and stay hooked? No matter if your brand is a product, a band, or an influencer, you need to pull together whatever assets you already have from your mission statement, to your product, to photography, to why you started. These are the building blocks for what your brand will eventually become. Whatever your brand is, make it visually striking and easily recognizable, choose the colors and style that represent you best. Once you have all that juice, then squeeze it down even further until it’s that concentrated, ensuring your message is crystal clear. This becomes a great road map to steer creativity into strategy. Get to know how businesses work, understand the human psyche because information is knowledge and knowledge is power! 2. Understanding your demographic and how you can best serve it Knowing who you are and what you want to achieve is great, but here’s the flip side. What if your message doesn’t align with your demographic? If you are already a semi-established brand, you are likely to have a following that is invested in you for a reason. What is that reason? Find that out because this is your core demographic. The last thing you want to do is alienate them. This is where you can start to adjust your brand, it’ll become you, them and then us. We had a very successful client with a massive following who wanted to start a new offshoot brand connected to their fame. The new product brand contained high end, pricey, fashionable items that they personally loved and wore. Only one problem, there was no chance in hell their demographic would wear the gear unless it was sold at Walmart at a fraction of the cost. If your brand is yourself and you want to start another brand that is a  product, it has to represent you. You don’t see Gwen Stefani, selling $10 dresses at Target. She’s a known high-end fashionable icon with her label LAMB. Her demographic loves quality, luxury, edge, and statement pieces. Her brand is a great example of 100% fluidity. Middle line brands know their place in this dynamic and can use this to their advantage. They know who they are, who they’re selling to and with a little compromise and adjustments, they can straddle two demographics with a better chance of the consumer dropping their cash. 3. Drive the message home Like James N. Watkins said, “A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” It’s so important to be consistent throughout your brand message, as consumers lose interest in brands that they don’t understand,  identify with, or are confused by. If your messaging is solid, you shouldn’t need to veer from not being consistent. Imagine going into a McDonald’s and noticing the logo was different, the colors were blue and orange instead of the iconic red and yellow. Even though these are subtle changes, branding plays to our psyche and may result in not getting that happy meal and chocolate sundae you were craving. Personally, I have always found that my best work comes from what makes me happy. If I had to spend my days working on designs for pencil cases and lunchboxes, I would go nuts!!! I love working and collaborating with clients, particularly musicians, who have a fire and understanding for their craft. This is what keeps me inspired to be at the top of my game and continue creating my best work for my clients. When you have this energy, the work becomes play and thus allows you a better chance of success. Written by Rick Caballo exclusively for Vents Magazine Social / website: Instagram:


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