The “High Man” Story: Why Every Company Needs To Get Branding Right

March 23, 2017
Peter Forsythe

By Peter Forsythe

branding-image

Recently I was driving around my neighbourhood when I spotted a new bright orange minivan with an eye-catching logo emblazoned across the side.

“High Man”.

Those two words were neatly placed around a colourful circle with a picture of a middle-age man sitting in a wheelchair.  This man looked happy.  Very happy.  And there was something white and gray in his hand.

Can you guess what sort of company High Man is?

Right!  It’s a professional medicinal marijuana company which sells and home delivers medical pot to patients.

As I slowed down to take a closer look at this beautiful orange van and its standout logo, I found myself murmuring the words High Man, High Man, High Man to myself over and over.

It worked!  The choice of company name and the logo.  Those two simple words: High Man, plus the cool logo of the man holding a reefer was a perfect brand for the entrepreneur who started this company.  I’m sure his website was handling a lot of enquiries and his drivers were busy making lots of deliveries.

So I pulled up to the van and looked inside.  The driver was wearing a crisp, clean uniform in the same colours as the logo and a cap with the logo in the center.  His shoes were shined.   He looked professional and serious, yet friendly.

The driver stepped out of the van holding a neatly wrapped box.  And that’s when I, as an always curious marketing professional, pounced on him for a conversation.

“Excuse me sir, I know you are busy but I just have to ask you about your company, “ I said as I rolled down my window.

“Sure,” the young driver said.  “What’s on your mind?”

“It’s your logo and company name.  I love it. It’s a very effective brand name and logo design for your product,” I said.  “Who did your branding?”

“We used a local branding and web design firm.  It took a couple of weeks but this is what they came up with … and it has worked wonders for us.  The logo on this van has generated literally thousands of enquiries through our website and phone number,” the driver said.

“That’s fantastic.  It really caught my eye, the colour of the van and the large logo.  Congratulations and good luck!”

 

For Website Traffic, Trust and Saving Time, Branding Is More Important Than Ever

That encounter really got me thinking about how important it is for new companies to get their branding and logo right.  When it comes to business – and especially marketing your business – you really do have to spend money to make money.

As I continued driving through my neighbourhood I saw a ladder lying on the street next to some pails of paint which forced me to slow down to avoid an accident.

“Who would leave a ladder and paint supplies lying in a busy street?,” I wondered, casting my eyes around the area.

And there it was: a dented dusty van about three metres from the ladder; I realized it was a contractor painting someone’s house.   On the side of the van was a torn plastic sign, “Hank”s Painting” with a phone number below, smeared with dust.

 

Talking with Hank the painter

I love these opportunities to network with companies that need marketing help so we chatted a bit about painting and he mentioned his intention to do some marketing work for himself.  I offered him one of my business cards which he readily accepted.

As I drove I thought of how much more effective Hank’s marketing could be with a slight change in name to say, “Hank The Perfect Painter”.  A little play on words, a little bit of a rhyme and suddenly it sticks in peoples’ minds faster and longer.  And Hank needed a catchy, colourful logo, one that spoke to his target audience.   That’s branding at its most basic.

The whole point is to:

1. Catch peoples’ eyes with design and colour.

2. Make people remember your company’s name and associate it with quality and value.

 

Effective Branding is Not Difficult To Do (once you understand the basics)

Here’s a quick illustration of the power of using the right words for your company’s name.  You tell me which one sounds more interesting and memorable.

For a cup of coffee, would you prefer visiting a place called:

  • Coffee Time

Or

  • Java Experience

Here’s what I know from over 20 years working in the branding and website design industry.  In the first example I can tell you for a near certainty that older people would choose a place called Coffee Time (with its beige colour logo) while younger people would choose the more interesting Java Experience (orange and green colour logo).

 

Why is this?

It’s really not complicated.  Younger people are more open to new experiences and so they are naturally drawn to the word “experience”.  Young people may not even know that  Java is a tropical island.   Older people, on the other hand, have already had lots of different experiences and are in a different frame of mind.  In most instances they are looking for calm and relaxation.

The moral of the story?

The owners of Coffee Time already discovered this bit of psychographic information while they were doing  their research.  Then they chose the all-important brand name because they knew which segment of the coffee drinking market they were targeting.  And they understood that they would make more money by catering to (and trying to communicate with) older people and that’s why they chose a more traditional “boring” name and colours for their company.

What Effective  Branding Will Really Do For Your Company

An effective brand  does several things:

  1. Sticks in peoples’ memories and associates with quality and industry leadership.
  • This immediate association saves people time so they can quickly make their decision and move on with other things.
  1. Provides feelings of trust and peace of mind.
  • Especially when spending large sums of money (but even small amounts, too) people want to know that there will be no problems with the product or service.

 

Here’s A  Checklist to Make Sure Your Brand Is Effective

  • Brand relates to target audience.
  • People instantly “get it” when they see your logo (or hear your tagline).
  • Brand broadcasts the uniqueness of what you offer and why it’s important.
  • Brand clearly reflects the values that you want to represent to a customer.
  • A brand should provide an instant “aha” moment in a consumer’s head, requiring zero thinking.

The Big Picture, Now and Forever

There are really only 3 kinds of companies in today’s marketplace:

  1. Those with strong, effective brands.
  2. Those with weak, ineffective brands.
  3. Those with NO brands.

There are numerous great brand development agencies just waiting for you to take the first step by calling them.

High Man was created by a professional branding agency.  What are you waiting for?