How To Properly Brand Your Club
Properly branding your club or association is essential; you must create a good-looking and cohesive brand that instantly identifies you and what you stand for. Getting your branding right is incredibly important and can go a long way in getting your club's name out there and growing your brand and membership.
Often, the difference between a great but not overly famous brand and a great and popular brand is branding. Look at the brand logos below. You know exactly what brand they belong to, what they sell and stand for just from the logos alone.
These brands all have fantastic brand recognition and can show us the path to creating an excellent brand for your club. Redbull alone has gone from a cheap energy drink for Thai truckers in the 70s to a company that turns over billions of dollars annually and has an F1 team.
So, let's look at some of the world's biggest brands and how they can help you properly brand your clubs or associations. This article will help you refine and improve your existing club branding or completely reinvent it, depending on what you want.
In this article, we will cover the following topics and what big brands can teach us about them:
- Brand Personality
- Brand Vision, Values And Missions
- Brand Logo And Colour Scheme
- Brand Name And Tagline
I'd also like to take a moment to apologise to any Americans reading this right now; you will see me spell the word colour the English (correct) way a lot. I know it always throws me off when I see it spelt color with the U, so I apologise. Hopefully, you will still get as much out of this despite our disagreements on spelling.
The key to developing a good club brand is working out who your club is and what it stands for and then working out how best to invoke that. Is your club flashy and action-packed, relaxed and outdoorsy or classy and sophisticated? You will need to know this before you start correctly branding your club. Also, knowing this will be incredibly important for everything we will talk about today.
Defining Your Club's Personality
The first step in building effective branding for your club or association is to define your club's personality. This isn't something I can do for you, but it is something I can give you a few pointers on.
Is your club serious or funny? Are you very formal or more laid back when communicating with members? Are you in a professional environment or a casual one? You will need to answer these sorts of questions to develop a cohesive brand for your club.
The elements of a club's brand personality include characteristics such as:
- Tone Of Voice
- Communication Style
- Overall Image
Your club's personality should reflect its purpose and mission and help create an emotional connection with its audience. A club's personality should feel authentic, unique, and consistent across all communications. It's important to note that a brand personality is not just a superficial image but should align with the brand's core values and beliefs.
Consistency is very important in branding, so ensure that whatever your club's personality is, it can be maintained across all your branding.
How To Define Your Club's Personality
The first step to working out your club's personality is defining who your target audience is. What is the average age of your club members and people who share the same hobby as your club is based around? What values do those people share? What behaviours do they all have in common?
If you can answer these questions, you'll be well on your way to working out what your brand personality should be.
Brand Personality In Action
To help you understand better how your club's personality can influence your brand and marketing, here are some ads from two similar luxury outdoor clothing brands, Patagonia and North Face.
North Face is a luxury outdoor and streetwear brand whose marketing is simple, refined and classy. Their tagline is "Never Stop Exploring," their branding has a serious, adventurous, minimalist style. They are the sort of outdoor wear that I personally associate with four-wheel drive Porches.
Patagonia is a luxury outdoor wear brand whose marketing is minimalist, funny and increasingly focused on the climate crisis. Their tagline is “We’re In Business To Save Our Home Planet.” They donate 1% of their profits to climate change. In 2022, their founder donated his literal billion-dollar fortune to a climate activism non-profit.
These two companies sell similar products at a similar price and target a similar market. However, the companies' core values and brand voice have caused their marketing to diverge significantly.
Once your club decides its tone of voice, target audience, and core values, it will be much easier to determine your club's personality and move on to the rest of the branding decisions you need to make.
How To Create A Great Club Logo & Colour Scheme
A few years ago, Adobe researched the most commonly used colours in brand logos by looking into the 100 most popular brands. In this research, they found some interesting things.
Blue is the most commonly used brand colour, followed closely by red, and then black or greyscale in third place. They also found that 95% of brands use only one or two colours in their logo. Adobe reports that only 41% of brands use text in their logo, and only 9% include the brand name.
Chances are you will want your club logo to use only one or two colours, and you probably won’t want to include much, if any, text in your logo design. If you are looking for a new logo or are trying to freshen up your existing one, you could hire a graphic designer to make one for you or use a service like Canva or Adobe Logo Maker to make it yourself. It really depends on your budget, time, and how tech-savvy you are.
If you’d like to know more about what Canva is and how to use it for your club, please read What Is Canva & How Can You Use It To Promote Your Club?
Either way, you will want to have clear details about what you want your logo to look like, what colours you want, and the general vibe you want it to give off. Even if you use a graphic designer who will have forgotten more about design and colour theory than I will ever know, giving them clear instructions is super important.
Take Member Jungle, for example. If we hadn’t given clear instructions to our graphic designer on what we wanted the logo to look like and what vibe we wanted it to give off, we could have ended up with something wildly different.
It's not that the image on the left is terrible; it's just that it doesn't represent us as a brand. It would make a great logo for an Ice Hockey team but not so much for a membership management company.
So, with that in mind, let's talk about what you want from your club's logo and colour scheme.
Colour Theory And The Psychology Of Colour
While the heading colour theory and the psychology of colour sounds like the university course that the most annoying person you know won't shut up about, it will be super useful here.
Firstly, it is generally accepted that different colours invoke different emotions in people. By working out which colours provoke which emotions you can start working out which colours best represent your brand.
Look at these logos I already talked about. What colours do they use and what emotions do you think they are trying to provoke?
Apple tends to use either a black/greyscale logo or a plain white one; these colours are tied to simplicity, sophistication and security. General Electric uses blue and white, trust competence, honesty and clarity. Red Bull uses red and yellow for excitement, strength, energy, and happiness. You can understand why these brands would want to invoke those emotions.
Think about some of the most popular brands you know. What colours do they use, how many different colours do they use, and what emotions do you think they are trying to evoke?
Using the colours that best represent your brand is a great way to effectively communicate what you want your club to stand for. Take the three identical logos below; simply changing the colours used in them vastly changes what sort of brand you imagine they represent.
Colour Theory Rule Of Threes
The rule of threes in colour theory is a straightforward way to develop the colours for your club branding. The rule of three states that the most dominant colour should be a Primary colour, i.e. red, blue and yellow. The second most used colour should be a secondary colour, i.e. green, orange and violet, and the third most used colour should be a tertiary colour, i.e. amber, teal, magenta, etc.
When applying this rule to the design of your club's logo, you should keep in mind that, as I already mentioned, most logos only use one or two colours in their logo, so you may want to skip the tertiary colour altogether.
Also, this is just a colour theory recommendation, not a hard and fast rule. None of the brands we have discussed use this rule of three in their logo design. This is just a little tip if you need help developing a colour scheme that works for your club's branding.
Here is an example of this theory in practice:
Here is an example of an excellent fishing logo that I have deliberately ruined by not using the rule of three-colour theory. It's not good; this logo should go in the bin.
Here is the same logo recoloured to use the rule of three. This is a lot better; you could see this logo being used by a fishing club today. It follows the rule of threes: blue is its primary colour, green is secondary, and blue-green is its tertiary colour. It uses lots of blue and some green, which in this context invokes the feeling of water, nature and peace.
However, there’s no need to stop there. Adjusting the tones and brightness of the colours used can give us a much nicer version while still sticking with the rule of threes.
I think this version with the more subdued colours looks much nicer than the above one. It still has all the right colours and invokes the right emotions but does so in a slightly nicer way.
Of course, you could cut out the tertiary colour altogether if you wanted to. Personally, the tertiary colour here is such an unsaturated shade of aqua that I wouldn’t bother removing it. However, it does still look nice without it.
How To Create A Great Club Name And Tagline
If you are already an established club, and I'm guessing you are, you will already have a club name. If so, I wouldn't recommend changing it. Rebranding is all well and good; a new logo, style, and tone of voice are all things you can change if you rebrand your club and attempt to grow its reach. However, your name should absolutely stay the same.
Changing your club's name could cause you to lose brand recognition and potential members. Changing your name is such a wrong and rarely done move that even Fanta never changed its name, and if you know how it was invented, that really says something.
However, if you are a new club, you will need a name that represents your club and brand well. The most foolproof method to naming a club is by including the location and activity your club focuses on in the title. I.e. Northern Rivers Bushwalkers Club, Lotus Club Victoria, etc.
Creating A Tagline For Your Club
Your club's tagline should reflect your club's personality and tone of voice. A short one-sentence should demonstrate your club's core values and goals. Again, this isn't something I can do for you, but let's look at some examples from the companies we have already looked at in this article.
- Member Jungle - Making Membership Easy
- North Face - Never Stop Exploring
- Patagonia - We're In Business To Save Our Home Planet
- General Electric - Building A World That Works
- Red Bull - Red Bull Gives You Wings
- Apple - Think Different
The key to a good tagline is to highlight what your club offers its members, its values, or its goals. Find something that sums up your activities and attitudes, and you'll have yourself a tagline.
For example, the fictional fishing club whose logo I talked about earlier is below, with a name and tagline now a part of the logo design.
Now, the tagline "Catch Fish, Drink Whisky" gets across what the club does, the club's personality, and the club's tone of voice. From that alone, you can get a pretty good idea of what the club will be like.
As helpful as a tagline, it isn't the most important thing in the world, so don't worry too much if you can't think of a good one.
Branding Consistency Is Important To Your Club
As you may have noticed in the above example of the fishing logo with the club name and tagline, the colouring and font are consistent. Building a consistent brand is extremely important; there's no point in developing a lovely club brand if you forget about it every two seconds.
Keeping the primary, secondary and tertiary colours you use consistent, using the same one or two fonts and keeping your imagery and tone of voice consistent will go a long way in building an effective club brand. I haven't mentioned it yet, but you need to choose one or two fonts and only ever use them for your club. This will really help things keep a consistent feel for your club.
When you get a chance, quickly look through the Member Jungle site with some of this stuff in mind. You will see the same two fonts used; the only colours will be blue and green. Sometimes the shades will be lighter or darker, but they will always be the same colours. Otherwise, there will be only white or black. You will see images and graphics of similar styles and similar wording. Go to any big business and look through their website, and you will see just how consistent they keep their branding; this is what you should strive for.
What Else You Need To Know About Branding Your Club
That's about it when building a proper brand for your club. You just need to have a good long think about who your club is and what it stands for and then create a brand that accurately and effectively represents that.
If you want to know more about customising your club's Member Jungle website, please read Customise Your Member Jungle Website To Suit Your Club's Voice & Tone.
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