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Why Branding is for everyone

Have you ever watched one of those TV shows on day time TV like Pickers or Salvage Hunters where they hunt out old stuff in peoples barns and lofts to resell?

I have just watched an episode of Pickers, the guys were in an old barn and they found a box containing the tops of old petrol pumps, the globes. They pulled them out of the packaging and started bidding on the different versions. The remarkable thing I noted and what prompted me to write this was actually two things.  As the globe came out the picker checked the quality and condition of each one then made a bid, the first second and third ones out were in fairly good condition with different US oil company brands on, the globes themselves were in good condition but the graphics were worn and far from perfect, the picker bid $600 for each one which was accepted, the next out was a plain but perfect globe, it looked brand new! The picker looked slightly disappointed and only bid $450, the last one out was a Shell globe which was in the shape of a sea shell but not in the best shape. Instantly the seller said that this one was not for sale.

What happened here was a perfect example of branding and why it is so powerful. We all view brands in different ways, for the seller in this episode his link to the Shell globe was so strong, that brand emotionally linked him to experiences and memories of his grandfather, for him his brand experience was like a rope that went all the way back to his childhood, the globe wasn’t the most valueable to the picker due to its condition but to the seller it was priceless. You can guess where he goes to get his fuel. So what about the perfect but un-branded globe, it was sold for only $450 even though it was the best condition by far? Why do the poorer quality but branded globes fetch so much more? This too is about emotional links, most of the people that buy a fuel pump globe from the pickers store do not NEED a fuel pump globe, what they want and value is what the item does to their emotions, how it makes them feel, what it reminds them of, that right there is worth more of their hard earned cash. Again, that is the power of the brand.

So how does this translate into real life, how can we take the lessons learnt from the above example and make it work for us?

Let’s look at two collectable brands, Matchbox and Hotwheels, on the surface both the brands make toy cars, they do the same thing for the same amount of money but they are both really different, car toy collectors tend to either collect one or the other. This happens across every business sector at every finacial value. We make choices like this every minute of every day:

Mac or PC?

Waitrose or Tescos?

Dairy Milk or Galaxy?

Tag Heuer or Omega?

Matchbox cars first came into being when “Lesney co-owner Jack Odell created a toy that paved the way for the company’s future success which was designed for his daughter. Her school only allowed children to bring toys that could fit inside a matchbox, so Odell crafted a scaled-down version of the Lesney green and red road roller. This toy ultimately became the first of the 1-75 miniature range. A dump truck and a cement mixer completed the original three-model release that marked the starting point for the mass-market success of the Matchbox series. The company decided to sell the models in replica matchboxes, thus yielding the name of the series.” The cars were small pockets size toy versions of real vehicles that you could see on the streets at that time

“Hot Wheels were made by Elliot Handler. Hot Wheels were conceived to be more like “hot rod” (i.e.customized/modified or even caricaturized or fantasy cars, often with big rear tires, superchargers, flame paint-jobs, outlandish proportions, etc.) cars. In addition to the cars themselves, Mattel who owned Hotwheels produced a racing track set (sold separately). Though it would be updated throughout the years, the original track consisted of a series of brightly colored orange road sections (pieced together to form an oblong, circular race track), with one (or sometimes two) “super chargers” (faux service stations through which cars passed on the tracks, featuring battery-powered spinning wheels, which would propel the cars along the tracks).”



Hot Wheels cars were fast! They looked fast and were designed to roll easily and at high speeds, which was a great innovation at the time as compared to Matchbox cars which were generally small-scale, realistic models of production cars.

The logos communicated the values of the brands that were embodied by the cars, the Matchbox logo was details and conservative where as the Hot Rod style Hot Wheels logo shouted speed and action.Each toy car brand was designed to be attractive to different types of buyers, both were similar toys but their brands were miles apart.


There were many other brands of toy cars but they were not as sucessful, I think partly because they were harder to understand and so got lost in the noise of a competitive market, both Matchbox and Hotwheels became the two market leaders for years.


To sell your product (any product from eggs to houses) you need to be able to communicate your product features in a way that people connect with it on an emotional level, that’s where brand building comes in. Branding is the story of your product, the story of the people that make it and what makes it different, better or just cooler.


Once developed your brand not only helps you sell your product but it can help guide all of your business decisions too, like a road map, when you know where you are going and where you are from it is a lot easier to make the journey sucessfully.In the everyday business world knowing your brand can help with simple things like answering the dreaded “so what do you do?” question with something more than “we make model cars”.


Knowing your brand can help with deciding what to put on your next Facebook or Instagram post and how to say it, even which picture to use. Having the branding roadmap can even help with employing staff, which job to do next and even the colour of your staff uniforms.


As a graphic designer, for me to do the best job for my client I need to understand everything about them, their business and their potential customers and so branding has become more and more important, designing a companies logo and materials simply cannot be done well without this knowledge.


A good few years ago I learnt that the more I found out all these things the more effective the marketing materials were, flyers generated more calls, social media posts got more engagement, magazines sold more and my clients kept coming back for more. Over these years I have developed a powerful set of tools that I can use as a branding workshop to help prospective client communicate their story, their brand which in turn has helped me design super effective materials and logo and has helped them build their business and increase their sales AND the value of each sale.

Online branding workshop

If you want to gain more clients, increase footfall and increase your profit you need to first understand what makes your brand unique and how you can meet your customers needs and pain points. This unique online branding workshop will show you how.


Whether you’re a new start up business that is looking to define their unique identity or a long established company that needs to overhaul their image, participating in our branding workshop will allow you to redefine your business objectives and position yourself towards success. By defining your brand’s story and unique selling points we can help you develop a powerful marketing strategy that can fast track decision making.


Brand workshops are an invaluable tool for helping people re-energise their company at any stage of your journey. This can apply if you are a new venture or an existing established business that has either seen sales plateau or are dealing with new challenges. We recommend a brand exploration every four years to keep the sales coming in.


Our brand workshop could be the key to identifying what steps need to be taken to create a new identity which better reflects your unique vision and essentially core values.


During our bespoke branding workshop the four following key areas will be covered:

What do you do (an excercise to help you find out what makes what you do different to your competitors and how to describe it to your customers so they really "get" you)

Why you do it (discover your brand values as the customer see it)

How does it feel (how do  you compare and contrast to existing profitable house hold brands)

Your brand mission ( the cornerstone of everything you do, your mission is the guiding light in the good times and the bad)



By exploring your brand’s core identity in this setting we can cut through all of the clutter, pull you from being overwhelmed with the scope of possibilities and create a list of actionable ideas and insights which address the key business objective for the next quarter and beyond.


Interested in taking part in a brand workshop?


Contact our team today to see how we can help you write the next chapter of your business story.

Here is an interview with the branding guru Marty Neumeier whe he share his take on - What is branding? A brand is not a logo. A brand is not a product. A brand is not a promise. A brand is not the sum of all the impressions it makes on an audience. A brand is a result–it's a person's gut feeling about a product, service or company. It's in their heads and in their hearts. A brand is your reputation.