Why Brand Language for start up sportswear brands is so important?

Start up sportswear businesses must create strong brand language to stand apart from their competitors

The importance of brand language, a new term and more than a simple logo

We work with many start up businesses that want to launch a range of performance sportswear to compete with the established big brand names as they believe their concept offers a new niche or they want to improve what is currently on offer.

We are approached on a weekly basis from entrepreneur’s who believe they have the difference. They are usually from completely different backgrounds than the sportswear market but have a passion for their sport and therefore have figured out their concept

Once we have established if the concept has legs and studied their business plan we start to investigate the sometimes difficult topic of “Branding”. Many of our start up clients have already started the process of registering their brand name and have even come up with a logo to be used on the garments, however this is only the start of the “Branding” process.

Back in the day, it was generally accepted that a brand was strong enough to warrant their position in their chosen market by simply coming up with a decent product and plastering their logo onto this. This is still accepted in the lower/middle markets as many consumers within this sector are less driven by brand values and price/features start to take priority.

If you want to start a mid/high end brand then clear brand values and a brand language needs to be created. Once these have been finalised these should be adhered to and applied to everything the brand then creates, weather this is product, communication or marketing.

Brand language is not simply a logo that never changes. Brand language allows a consumer to recognise a product even if the brand logo was not applied. It’s about quality, visual & functional consistency. Apple for instance has a very strong brand language and if the apple logo was not applied to their products I would guess the majority of consumers would still recognize their brand straight away. This brand language does not simply end with the product but the whole apple experience. The way their stores look, the staff uniform and service approach and even the packaging that has been engineered to strengthen the quality approach and brand language.  I cannot think of one PC brand that has a similar strength of brand language as apple and until PC brand start to recogise that apples success is far more than its functionality and great product design, they will never have queues like this in their stores.

apple HK store

When we start to work with start up brands we look at the Brand Language way before we start to look at product as this determines everything the brand stands for. It’s very hard to introduce or change Brand Language once a brand has been established.

Posted by Stuart Brooke

Founder of Blue Associates & ashmei