Brand builder

The average supermarket freezer aisle is a battle of images, messages and packaging.

Many of these purchases are fueled by impulse, so it’s important to have a recognizable product staring out at consumers from behind the frosty glass. Cleveland-based Pierre’s French Ice Cream Co. understands this as much as anyone, having built the Pierre’s script logo into an instantly recognizable brand.

Yet, when company officials unveiled two new flavors, they decided it was also time for an image update. To handle the task, they hired Concord, Ohio-based SiD Studios. Owner Bill Sintic’s four-person shop designed new graphics and revamped the ice cream company logo and packaging strategy.

“They were successful at retaining the same, familiar Pierre’s look that still works today, but enhanced the logo and typestyles to give it a more present-day feel,” explains Laura Hindulack, marketing manager for Pierre’s. “With that change came a consistency that carried across Pierre’s other lines as well.”

For those who would like to modernize their business image in the eyes of the public, the thought of a makeover might be an intimidating prospect. If you count yourself among those who have no idea where to start, Sintic offers some guidelines that will get you on the right track.

Evaluate your logo

The public will initially judge your company’s image from its logo. If you’ve had the same one for the last 15 years, Sintic says it is probably time to modernize a bit. Since it is the image that ends up on invoices, faxes, delivery trucks and employee uniforms, it is crucial to communicate a strong message.

“If it’s a stodgy or old look it needs to be updated,” he says. “The look needs to be contemporary. A look that represents companies you wish your company could be. If you own a small company that makes software, it would be ideal if you could look like Microsoft. We did that with one of our clients who sells software.

“They have 25 employees, but the first time people see it, they think of a Silicon Valley company.”

Brand everything

After you’ve settled on a logo, it is crucial to get maximum public exposure. That means incorporating the new design not only into your letterhead, invoices, business cards and marketing campaigns, but also company vehicles, product packaging and any corporate literature sales representatives present to potential customers.

“Everything needs to be very corporate and consistent,” explains Sintic. “That’s kind of the beauty of big companies like Nike and Pepsi. You can spot their TV commercials before they even start. They have that look and that feel. And you would never questioning buying a can of Pepsi vs. a can of Dr. Joe’s pop.”

Create a Web image

Even if you never plan to sell a product via the Web, creating a place where customers can receive an initial impression about your company online is another way to build brand recognition. Sintic says it is important your Web image is professional and communicates the same theme as your corporate literature and catalogs that are also in public circulation.

“More customers are driven to the Web. It needs to portray the same basic foundation that is laid out from the ground up, from their logo to their stationary,” he says. “It has to have a consistent look and feel. The wording should be consistent and it should be a total package.”

Keep it fresh

After putting a load of work into a new image, the sad fact is your corporate logo will eventually go out of style. Consider how the brand images that define Coke and Pepsi have changed over the years.

But, after building brand recognition, you may not be so fast to deep-six a recognizable logo. Sintic doesn’t think you have to do that. Just be sure to periodically modernize the look and feel of your image.

“You can bank on the investment you’ve made for three to five years, something in that neighborhood,” he says. “You don’t have to think about doing it every year, but there should be an evolution.”

How to reach: SiD Studios,

Jim Vickers ([email protected]) is an associate editor at SBN.