What does branding encompass? According to Cairril Design and Marketing in their article Branding 101, branding is the sum total of every experience people have with your company and includes:
"much more than just your logo. Your corporate identity (logo, colors, paper stocks, and other identifying graphic material) is one component. Other components include your marketing strategy, public relations, employee identification with the brand, and every customer interaction, whether that’s one-on-one or via the web, print, or broadcast media. It’s how your staff answers the phone, how easy your website is to use, what message your visual identity sends, how quickly staff responds to customer needs, the tone of your copywriting, and even, in the case of a retail environment, how your store smells."
Wow! How do you do consider all of these variables when launching a new business? Is it even possible to consider all these variables initially? Or is it best to work on the strategy for making some sales and then worry about these issue as you grow?
After thinking about all the options perhaps I thought the best place to start would be putting some more thought into the company name, Ocean Watermen. Considering the name Ocean Watermen contains two limiting variables, Ocean & Men, maybe the name should be changed so we can appeal to a broader audience, as it is now one would connect it to men doing sports related to the ocean, but what if we made or sold something for the Watergirls or Waterboys out there? Would they still consider us or would it insult a woman to buy from a store with the word men in it?
After discussions with many of my friends, family and advisors (many female) opinions were mixed. And it didn't help my new relationship with my designer as in was in the process of creating some logos and T-shirt designs based off of the name. He might think I'm a little whacky because I called him with a name change to Waterman Apparel, then e-mailed another name change five minutes later after having reserved several other domain names with "apparel" and "watermen/man", and the calling him back a few minutes later only to tell him we were going to change to Ocean Watermen. It was exhausting, but the name was something that needed to stay, but...
Then there's the whole singular versus plural. Is it better to be inclusive with Watermen or more individual with the name Waterman? C4waterman and Quicksilver Waterman Collection opted for the singular Waterman while Original Watermen opted for the plural. Another round of inconclusive opinions from friends, family and advisors, and the name PuraKai won out.
And to add to the fun the designer sent some over some cool designs, and for the first time I saw the logo. So now we have part of the brand complete, one name and one visual identity (logo), hopefully the designer still wants to work with me and doesn't take it back, I think he did a great job and I really like it.