John Anderson, Chairman of the North East Business and Innovation Centre
John Anderson CBE

Member Article

Brand advocates Power

In the 1980s if you overheard someone mention ‘the colour purple’ it would be safe to assume that they were discussing the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Alice Walker.

However over the past few years it has become synonymous with chocolate rather than literature as Cadbury and Nestle have battled it out in court over the rights to this famous colour. For four long years these two confectionary giants fought over that creamy colour purple, or Pantone 2685C to be exact (the one you associate with Dairy Milk) and now Cadbury have emerged triumphant as they were granted permission to trademark it.

This case highlights just how important branding is to a business and whilst many of us take colours for granted it does much to illustrate how valuable individual brands are. Regardless of the size of the company we all have brands, and it is fact that consumers select brands they believe will serve them best. A brand is the visual, emotional, rational and cultural image that you associate with a company or a product. The brand is the sum of everything your business is, says and does. If you own a business ask yourself are you in control of your brand? Think about how your business could go from strength to strength through branding alone.

Here at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) we recognised the need for businesses, from an early age, to get to a good understanding of the importance of branding and even created a separate division, known as Pulse Creative Marketing to help clients do just that. Yes the team offer a range of services which includes everything from designing a logo to developing a web site, but it is by working with the businesses to determine what their objectives are that they are able to develop a brand identity to suit the organisational needs and goals.

If you look at the dairy milk web site you will see the famous purple colour throughout it. Why, because continuity is vital to reinforce the brand identity. Cadburys went all the way to court to protect their brand, how far are you willing to push your businesses identity?

It is important to make everything come together and become something which your customers, clients and even new partnerships begin to recognise. So once the visuals are taken care of, then you can sit on your laurels and just wait for the experiences of others to add to your brand right? Nope the hard work is just beginning, for the message also needs to be pitched correctly, which leads me to social media.

This topic can conjure fear into businesses, new and established but being frightened of something is no reason to ignore it. Like it or lump it what you say can impact on your brand. Fortunately there are a number of people who are helping to keep businesses in check.

People like Donna Petch who is helping businesses to protect and promote their brands through the effective use of social media. A BIC business start up client, it is fantastic to see this fledging business help so many diverse firms do just this, and I am sure it gives them reassurance that the messages they put out will be beneficial and not damaging to their identities.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by John Anderson CBE .

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