Starting a brand new business is difficult, and one of the hardest parts is branding the new company. One client came to us wanting to start a self defense training company. The new client had been running his own martial arts business but it was named after himself, the branding was fragmented, and it looked like Mortal Combat from the 90s. He was hoping to pivot his business away from martial arts and teach self defense classes in person and online.
Why it’s Important to Work with a Brand Identity Agency
Branding is extremely important for lots of reasons. For this particular client, there were two main reasons this business owner knew he needed professional help from a brand identity agency.
The first was he knew that in order to attract the right customer the branding had to be clean, professional, and provoke a certain emotion immediately when the logo and name were seen. He wanted to attract people who were serious about improving their self defense skills. The ideal customer would also be someone who understands the value in paying top dollar to learn from a trained special forces soldier with decades of real-world knowledge and application of techniques.
The second reason this skilled business owner wanted help from a brand strategy agency was less obvious to him – but it is one of the most overlooked reasons a company’s branding is vital to its success. Good branding can make up for small marketing budgets.
If a brand is iconic and one that resonates with people as soon as they see it, it is much more memorable and enticing. Having a small marketing budget with a really strong brand can provide a much stronger ROI on the money spent than a weak brand that was thrown together with a large marketing budget. Getting in front of your clients or customers is only 10% of the battle. The other 90% is convincing them that they need to use your services or products to help them solve their problem. Great branding can convince a lot of people right away.
The Process of Building a Brand Identity
When the Dedicated Designs team starts a new branding or web design project we always set aside at least two to four hours of discovery meeting time so that we can get to know the business owners, the business concept, the target market, the history of the company and/or why it is being started. During this time our team also helps in creating the value and mission statement if there is not one present.
Finding the Right Name
When we first started meeting with this client he thought he already knew what the name of the business was going to be. But after going through the discovery process with us he realized it was not very memorable and was open to suggestions on what to call his business. While we had picked up on a possible name pretty early in the process, we did not say anything right away because we wanted to take everything in and then respond thoughtfully.
The name we recommended to our client was Swamp Fox Tactics. Not only does it sound really cool, it is incredibly memorable and it has a great story – which is key to any brand. Humans love a story, and tying a story to your brand is very important to ensuring your business’ success.
A Swamp Fox is what an elite group of soldiers was called in a group that our client trained with when he was in active duty with the military. We added “Tactics” at the end because that is what our client was teaching. Swamp Fox Self Defense sounded too soft and did not match with the personality of our client. He literally is a precise weapon himself and the knowledge he shares are various tactics to handle different situations.
Logo and Brand Colors
Next, the Dedicated Designs team discussed the logo and color scheme. Another strong suit of the name was that it visually lent itself well to a logo. Not every company name needs to lend itself well to a logo, but the more that can overlap the more memorable a brand becomes. We had a strong name, a strong story and now a strong logo. We just had to create it. The logo had to include imagery of a fox, but what would the fox look like? How could we incorporate “Swamp” into the logo since foxes are not found in swamps?
We ran through various iterations of the fox and we decided that the color should include a swampy military green as the main color to suggest military and toughness, but that also gave the context of a swamp in a subtle way. We knew the fox had to look cunning and smart, because that is what the word “tactics” evokes, but it could not look like a cartoon or hand drawn illustration. It needed to have clean lines to again pair with the idea of “tactics,” which elicits the feeling of crisp and minimal when it is ready.
Lastly, we wanted to have a color in the palette that was a sharp contrast to the rest of the palette so that it could give the brand an even edgier, energetic feel. That is how our team and the client decided upon the orange that you see in the early mockups and final drafts. The lines used to create the fox are a nod to the exactness it takes to learn the tactics, and also a nod to laser sights found on most tactical rifles. The whole logo screams tactical badass and that is exactly the emotion we wanted to elicit.
Not only should a logo communicate the identity of the company but it should also allow the target audience to embody the brand themselves. Swamp Fox Tactic’s logo speaks to you and makes you believe that if you join you will be a swamp fox and be fully capable to defend yourself, should you need to.
A Branded Website to Match
The client loved the logo, and once that was finalized it drove the design for the website we built for them along with all of their marketing collateral. This was a favorite project of ours because the client really trusted us and allowed us to provide options based on our expertise, creativity, and what we were hearing from the client.
It all turned out incredibly well, and a few years later we are pleased to say that Swamp Fox Tactics is a thriving business. The owner credits a lot of the business’ success to the incredible brand that he has behind him as he continues to grow year over year.
Looking to Partner with a Brand Identity Agency?
If you’re looking to start a business, or your brand needs a refresh, work with the best brand identity agency near you. Contact Dedicated Designs today to see how our team can help you build a brand strategy that you are proud of, an identity that resonates with your clients.