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  • An introduction to branding and marketing from Make It Clear

    Branding and marketing your idea, where to begin? 

    When creating a business or launching a new product, one of the first things to consider is branding and marketing.

      Branding is who you are and what you look like

      Marketing is how you increase people’s awareness of who you are and how you sell to your target audience.

    Branding and marketing have to work together so your product looks and talks to its audience in the same way and sells well!

    What is branding?

    To begin creating your brand, you must first ask yourself and your team a few questions to understand what your brand is. The questions below are a great place to begin:

    • Why did you create your product?
    • What makes your product different?
    • What do you want people to think of when they hear your product name?
    • What feelings/reactions do you want people to have when they think about your product?

    The typical parts of a brand are:

    • The brand identity: This includes things like your logo, colours and how you use things like photography or illustrations
    • Brand values: The things you really care about, take a look at the Make it Clear brand values on this video we created here
    • Brand positioning: This shows why your product is different and better than the others
    • The brand tone of voice: How you talk to the people that will buy your product

    Your branding will establish what people will expect from your product. Knowing what you want to represent in your brand, can guide your marketing.

    What is marketing?

    Marketing refers to methods used to increase awareness of your product among your target audience, through messaging and visuals. Marketing can become complicated so start by focusing on the following:

      What you want to say and how you want to say it

      How you can reach the people who will want to buy your product

    (For example, what social media platforms do your target audience use, or would it be better to just drop a leaflet through a door?)

    Chicken or the egg, branding or marketing – which comes first?

    Because branding is who you are, it must come first. Before creating your marketing messaging and visuals, you must first decide who your brand is so that you know what you are communicating.


    When it comes to building a great brand and marketing plan, it’s all about creating something that works best for your unique product. Sometimes things may not go as planned but the important thing is to try new ideas. So be brave and good luck with branding and marketing your product for the Design Ventura competition!

  • What’s in a (brand) name?

    Picking a good brand name is an important part of developing your product’s brand. A good name will help your customers identify and differentiate your product from others. Your products name should be easy to notice and recognise, with a clear and obvious meaning. You should not need to explain what the name means or why it has been chose. It should be selected very carefully as it captures the key theme of a product in an efficient and economical manner.

    Brand names are not necessarily associated with the product. For instance, brand names can be based on places (Air France, British Airways), animals or birds (Red Bull, Dove soap, Puma) or even people (Victoria Beckham, Alessi).

    A check list for a good brand name
    Is your brand name:

    1. Unique and distinctive?
    2. Easy to pronounce, identify and remember?
    3. Representative of your product’s qualities and benefits?
    4. Suggestive of what the product does?

    If you have time
    You could conduct consumer research to see what your target market thinks of your brand name. It is important that when they see or hear your brand name, they are able to identify what the product is and does and they should be able to pick up on any key messages you wanted to convey. It would be helpful for you to give them an idea of the price and to show them the product, so that they understand the purpose of the brand name and the context in which it will be used.

    You may also want to consider if your brand name is easily convertible into foreign languages, and whether it would portray negative or wrong meanings in other categories. For instance NOVA is a bad name for a car, in Spain, because in Spanish it means “doesn’t go”.

  • How to make your product stand out

    What is a product?

    A product is a thing or a service that is sold to customers or other businesses. Customers usually buy a product to meet a need, as a result when a product is designed it is important that the requirements of the customer (the target audience) are carefully considered.

    What is product differentiation?

    Product differentiation determines how a product is made to stand out from other similar products, and it uses that difference to drive customer interest and sell the product. Product differentiation can be as simple as packaging the goods in a creative way, or as elaborate as incorporating additional features.

    Throughout the design process, the function, appearance and cost of the product need to be considered in relation to the target audience to ensure that it will appeal to the target market.

    How product differentiation is created:

    • Establishing a strong brand image(through packaging and logos)
    • Emphasising the unique selling point (USP), this can be done through the use of a product tag line
    • Offering better, features, functions, design, appearance or selling price than rival products.
  • Thinking about product packaging

    Packaging makes up an important part of your product. It does the following things:

    • contains and holds the product
    • protects the product from damage
    • informs the customer about the product
    • helps to create a brand identity to promote and sell the product
    • makes it easier to carry, use and store the product

    Cardboard containers are the most common type of packaging. The process involved in manufacturing a cardboard container is:

    1. Print the design onto card
    2. Cut out the shape of the carton, with tabs for gluing
    3. Fold the net into the container shape
    4. Glue the container together along the tabs

    Other types of packaging to consider:

    • Bottles and jars made from glass or plastic are used for liquids, granules and powders.
    • Plastic bags are used for food products and small loose items, e.g. snack foods and sweets.
    • Cans are used for food products. Drinks cans are made from aluminium and food cans are made from tin-coated steel (tinplate).
    • Bubble packs consisting of a stiff plastic bubble made by vacuum-forming fixed to a card backing – are used for small products, e.g. stationery items, toys and screws.
    • Shrink-wrapping– soft plastic vacuum formed onto card backing – is used for some small products, e.g. DIY products and toys.

    Packaging regulation
    The information given on packaging is regulated by laws and standards. Some of the most important principles are that:

    • the name of the company that made the product should be visible on the packaging. This is required by law.
    • the contents of the product (and its packaging) should be listed. This is required by law.
    • health and safety information about using the product should be given. This is required by law.
    • information about safely disposing of the packaging or container after use should be given.
    • bar code should be displayed for stock control and pricing purposes.
    • instructions for recycling the product and/or its packaging after use.
  • What makes a good idea great?

    Enterprising ideas: Simple ideas with big appeal – what makes a good idea great?

    Explaining what makes a good idea great is tricky, first it’s understanding what makes a an idea ‘great’ in the first place.

    Personally, I think it’s an idea which makes you smile, it captures your full attention, you immediately ‘get it’, you value it’s cleverness, usefulness or sheer beauty.

    You don’t have to be an experienced designer to hit upon a great idea, the process gets easier with experience, years of brain training! But with applied dedication, curiosity, perseverance and imagination anyone can come up with that winning idea. It’s all about having an open, enquiring mind. And, the time to properly consider and develop your thinking into strong concepts.

    Remember, everything’s been done before, it’s about learning from what’s been done and making things even better. A completely innovative, fresh new idea will always stand out, that’s what you should strive for.

    To be really ‘great’ the idea really has to answer the brief in the most succinct way, the simpler the better.