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We are discussing branding, corporate identity and design in business with Alexey Maximov

Not so long ago we talked with our friend, talented designer and art director Alexei Maksimov about style in general.
2020.02.22
Design
Any, any brand experience at all, all the senses we humans have, all of those senses can be used and are points of contact.
A.M.
We talked with our friend, talented designer and art director Alexei Maksimov about style in general - and corporate identity in particular, brand books and the specifics of working with clients when creating creative solutions.

V.V. Sometimes a company comes to us and says: «We're just starting up, make us like everyone else. You professionals!» . Where does work on corporate identity begin for you? And what does this work look like in general?

Aleksey: Often, in fact, this option occurs. The company comes and asks for some set right to start, some simple standard things.Leaves, lives with them, grows in. While growing, they get some additional media, some presentations, commercial offers, brochures - designed by them independently or with the help of some other designers. And this, and that, and awry. A year and a half passes, and you can go back to them and say: “let us comb it all for you.” This option will be more useful for such a company, because she doesn't know herself well yet.
When they lived with it, they already understood what they need, what they don't need, how and what works, which of these media is used how, in which programs are run by their employees. It's great to comb those carriers that crystallized in the process of their work.
This way is longer, but it is, in fact, often even more effective than giving them this huge brand book that they don't know how to use now. They will start to distort it, they will get crooked / oblique commercial offers or something else that was not in this brand book, because some medium was overlooked and not developed initially. Or they themselves did not yet know that they would have it.

V.V. In IT, this approach is called Agile. Flexible methodologies.

Aleksey : Maybe.

V.V. We usually research and study the client's business, and look at what he what he does, how he communicates with his audience.But I still ask: what, in your opinion, is the minimum and maximum composition of a brand book or corporate identity?

Aleksey: Everything here is individual and depends on the specifics of the client we are doing this for, on his type of activity and needs.I probably would not want to work with a minimum team because it often happens that guys write in advertising: “We will develop three variants of a logo for you, a business card, a letterhead and, for example, an envelope.”

But now there is a huge number of businesses that do not need such media at all. For example, companies that sell online or people who promote themselves personally on Instagram. In this case, their main medium with which they go to the audience - this is the social network in which they either sell or promote. They do not need a business card at all and do not need an envelope, as you understand. What they need is an avatar and the principle of designing and posting photos in the feed.

Or, for example, for a person who works as a presenter. He only needs a business card. In this case, you need to kill yourself and make 15 versions of this business card, but it must be cool, and everything else doesn’t matter to him. He doesn’t even really need a logo, he can make it very, very simple based on the first and last name in a certain font, and this will already be his identity.But here's how the business card will look, this is where you can and should get confused.

Therefore, there is simply no standard things.

There are cases, of course, when a client comes and does not know what he will need and what not. You can try to swing this, but if it doesn’t swing: well, it happens that he doesn’t know what and how he will be in business - he needs a website and “I want a logo!”, And that’s it. There are some standard, typical stories for such clients.

For example, you can take a list that is average, or even close to the maximum in terms of the composition of the brand book.

If you throw out all the media that they ask for, then it will already be such an average composition .

The minimum composition is, as a rule, a logo, rules, how it should not be used, how it is possible, a font pair, a color combination, one or two design examples, add a couple of media of some kind, maybe a business card this unfortunate one and something else. This one will be the very minimum-minimum.

Required bindings to media.For example, we know that the company has a lot of printing: we develop grids for different booklets, and so on .

I would divide it like this: «Lite» package 3 media of your choice, «Medium»- 5 media, «Pro» - from 7 to 10 media, etc. This is already for large companies that Well, everything is right there: there are packages, and coasters for glasses, and navigation, and a whole bunch of different layouts are needed.

Some companies can go this way, when the minimum composition of the brand book is fixed: logo, prohibited forms, security field, font pairs, color combinations and several media: business card, envelopes and some kind of letterhead. But this is such a very inflexible approach. Template.

В.В.: Maybe there is a universal composition of the corporate identity? Some kind of standard , which is a must have for any company or brand, and which can be supplemented based on business needs?

Aleksey: You actually answer this question yourself, saying that it is right to discuss the composition of corporate identity from the point of view of the brand touching the target audience of the client.First of all, the composition determines the study and definition of touchpoints, and then it is necessary to develop a corporate identity based on them.

This approach always shows professionalism.When a specialist comes and does not run and make a standard business card or logo.

Often tacos That is, customers do not need a logo. This is possible when it makes sense to develop a corporate identity without a logo. The logo is not the cornerstone at all. A bunch of corporate styles exist when a logo is something dynamic, some kind of thing, not a constant at all, but something constantly changing.

Sometimes it doesn't exist at all. If you look at the corporate identity of Vlad Ermolaev, which he designed for the Cheburashkin Brothers, with which they won the Cannes Lions. There is no logo of these Cheburashkin Brothers, because they had litigation with the dude who drew this Cheburashka.

Although the Cheburashkins are their real surname, they did not have the right to use this word «Cheburashkin» in the logo. Then they sued this right to use their surname, but from «Because of these legal things, they never made it. Yes, they didn't need it. They had a very cool packaging, which was the corporate identity. Because the packaging was the only point of contact with the client. They went, of course, to meetings and handed out business cards, but they sold the product that was packaged. In fact, they could just as well bring three jars of their sour cream to the meeting and show how it looks. sleigh phone. That is, the logo was a completely unimportant story.

Therefore, there is also the same thing here, that here is your expertise and your professionalism exactly in what you say: «dudes, we can study the points of contact of your client with your brand and select the composition of the brand book exactly We're not going to sell you some standard bullshit that you won't use half of.»

It can take a long time to design a paper bag for the dudes who do parts, but they won't use a paper bag There are many such examples on the market, so it’s really better to first understand the target audience and understand what they will take into their hands, what they will interact with, how, where, and this will be the composition of the corporate identity for this particular business.

V.V. From your point of view, there are differences in the development of corporate identity for different businesses, different companies, in different life cycles ?Different B2B from B2C?Different industries - each with its own requirements?< /p>

Aleksey: Let's start with B2B and B2C, here I know for sure, because I worked in both areas. It's all about the target audience. Actually, and by industry, the same story will be - the basis is the knowledge of the target audience for which this particular company works. This is the main feature, because a B2B company is a business for business, when a company does something for other companies that already, in turn, they make some kind of product for their client.

As a rule, such a business differs from B2C in that in B2C you have a shorter sales chain, shorter decision-making time.In B2B, dudes all think for a long time, take a long time are discussing.

A person came to B2C, he liked it, he bought (it doesn’t matter what, in fact). Well, it’s clear that he won’t buy a car in one day. In this case, he will come and see leaves - looks at the characteristics, reviews on the Internet, returns - buys.Yes, in this case, too, there may be a long decision-making time.But he makes the decision he says it himself, and it is often emotional, like he liked it or didn't like it.

And in B2B, the main feature is that it makes decisions, as a rule, if it is a medium or large company, not the owner of the business. In large companies, holdings, corporations, the decision is made by dudes who are not owners business. There are many such situations with them when they choose a solution not the best, not cool, but the cheapest, because they have an estimate. They want to curry favor with the management, by saving the budget. When they were given so much money, and they can say: “And I bought you three times cheaper.”

It's always about the target audience and it seems to me to say exactly what is the difference, specifically, some postulates, between B2B and B2C , is impossible. Because there are many gradations only within the businesses themselves: there are medium, small and large businesses. Even on this basis alone, we will now talk for an hour. And the same story across industries.

I think that this paragraph is the key idea that corporate identity should be developed directly for your target audience, and before the corporate identity is created, it needs to be studied. This is the work of marketing. This means that you need to do some analysis, conduct interviews with the owner of the business, with customers, partners, clients.After that, draw up a portrait of this client and find the key differences: what would you like to stand out for this target audience.

I would probably answer this question this way: what matters here is not the differences between industries or types of business, but rather expertise in studying the target audience.Marketing.

В.В. In our work we often come across the fact that the material in production matters.Can a corporate identity, brand book, identity be not only visual, but any other: tactile, musical, sound?For example, we websites on the buttons instead of "Ok" we write "OK" Is this also an identity?

Aleksey: Yes, of course. In fact, the identity and corporate identity are just a set of brand features. These brand features can be anything. The smell in the Massimo Dutti store is also part of the corporate identity; «tam taram pum pum pam»McDonald's is also a corporate identity. This is a simple brand feature, something that customers remember, something that will be constantly repeated everywhere: from store to store, from carrier to carrier and serve recognition.

Corporate identity can include anything, including paper requirements.Some people don't really care when the brand is democratic.For example, «Tele 2» plays this into a kind of democracy, accessibility Like «We're cheap, we have some stencil fonts, black and white pictures: we're all close to the people, cheap, simple.» It's such a Fix Price, you know. And it's style.

And there are companies that work for a different audience.It is important for them that the client took a business card and it is not just some kind, but on a certain paper, and this paper and maybe not exclusively developed for this brand, but always just like that.

This is all corporate identity. Any, in general, any sensations from the brand, everything that we humans have senses, all these senses can be involved and are points of contact. Somewhere not all may be turned off, somewhere on the contrary, everything is on. There may be non-standard combinations, when, for example, the visual identity is not strong.

Look at the musicians. Some of them have repetitions in the covers and some design principles covers, some have a logo, some don't. But they have a signature musical style. It's their trademark. If they sell, they'll write what it should be. Or they'll make a franchise. I'm kidding, of course , but if “Tender May”, for example, allowed themselves to be stamped in millions of copies, then they would have a guide about what “Tender May” should be like, “such and such a sound, such an arrangement”, etc.

V.V. We often get the following question: what about me, a client who wants to order a brand book or corporate identity from you , to understand the adequacy of its cost? What affects it? What, in the end, makes up the price?

Aleksey: I would dance from the number of media. In principle, everyone needs something like a logo one way or another and how it can be used, as it should be, then the colors, the font pair.

I would divide by the number of media, because the study of these media and how the target audience interacts with them is directly the main work brand book. Because all these font pairs and everything else, it all comes out of there, of course. When you have already developed 3-4 media, you already understand how the corporate identity will continue to live, and you can already write a code about colors and fonts .

But if you wrote only about fonts and colors, then figs you write where and how it will be placed. Therefore, I would use the number of media as the main one in order to graduate these packages.

V.V. We often focus on the client, but very often it is quite expensive. We are generally quite an expensive company for the market, and our client it is not mass, but we are for an individual approach.We were recently told by one potential client "I am ready to pay dearly, but I want to enjoy the process" How do you sell? How do you set the price?

Aleksey: For me, the most difficult. I have never been a salesperson. For me, sales are so not mine, it’s very far from me and it’s not clear. I don’t like and don’t know how to sell people anything if they don’t need it. And I always know when I need it. -something unnecessary vtyuhivayut.

I've had moments like this a couple of times in my life, when a dude was so cool to drink, that I really liked it and I bought it.

We once bought a kitchen. Mostly sellers suck , you know, but somehow randomly, pointlessly, you can see where their motivation is “here, take automated door opening”, which I don’t need, because I live in Khrushchev and I have a 5-square kitchen.What automated doors?

And one of them offered me things that I really needed. Since there is a small area in the kitchen, our kitchen itself is corner and I really wanted it to look symmetrical anyway. And he said: «OK, we can do it. It will be more expensive and it will be an individual design. Just made to your size. 20% more expensive for upper cabinets. It will look like this »- and showed: painted symmetrically, as I needed.

And I'm like, «Yes, great! I'm willing to pay 20% more for this.» I'm not willing to pay for some bullshit that I don't understand. But I'm willing to pay for this. This is what I need, what I want.

This, just, will be the answer to this question.

< span>В.В. Yes, it happens with us.Recently we were told "Look, these guys don't say that we need to remake our logo"!

Aleksey: Of course. All the same, customers are not stupid, they understand when something is being pushed in. I guess I judge by myself, but I always see a senseless increase in the cost of purchases, probably because I work in marketing, with the sales department, and I already know them like flaky ones . All their tricks. It immediately alienates me.

When a person comes and gropes for some kind of pain and offers solutions for specifically my problems, specifically for mine, and not for some general ones. From the series «take better like 10 media in reserve, suddenly you'll need it.» And there are managers, or businessmen, who take, which is amazing.

It's the same story. Don't put promotion on an expensive corporate identity or a deal as an end in itself. You need to interview the customer, and then, based on his answers, say, for example, “you said that you are still planning promotion in social networks, let's immediately turn on the development of social media design.”

This approach will take a little longer, but it will be more profitable in the end. And the client will be satisfied, he will get exactly what he needs and will recommend you to others for it.

V.V. Marketing approach: we call it customer focus.It is important to build open relationships with people, and not just sell them something for a high price.

Aleksey: Yes. If we just talk about stupid promotion for a more expensive purchase: for example, it will not be a CEO, but some young head of marketing department, without experience, who unknowingly, he will order the development of 10 media. You will develop them for him, good, high-quality, but not suitable for him, sucked out of your finger, superfluous. And then he will realize that he does not use them. «make a sticker» .

I'll tell you a real example of the company I worked with. It is engaged in scaffolding. The project is called Soyuz, they have been working for a long time and they know everything about their business. They came: «We need a logo, business card, let there be a letterhead. Oh, and we also need a sticker on our equipment. »These are metal scaffoldings that are being assembled. You can paint buildings or repair something on them. And on each metal tube they have a logo - a sticker.< /p>

There are some instructions on it, some kind of assembly diagram. We made this sticker, and then I look at the pictures. You can see this logo on each stick. This is really a must. A man walked by , saw and remembered them. This is the best example of using media.

They also rent these sticks. These sticks are a kind of product, and the sticker is a package, very useful. Big company, big, B2B. A such a small thing - a sticker - works and is needed.

And if you also continue to grope and offer some such individual things, this will be the best way to justify a more expensive sale.

Because, returning to the story about my kitchen, I still understood that now my price tag would be higher. than expected.

Same as the dude who will buy the logo, he thought, let's say, that he only needs a business card and a letterhead. And you came and offered him 10 media. But he will use them or is already using them. That's when everything will grow together well, probably, that's what I would say.

It's like an aunt from VTB called me one day and says: “Get a loan.”

I say: « I don’t need, I won't have any big purchases anytime soon.»

She says, «Well, take it, and then decide what to spend it on.»

I laughed for a long time.