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Business branding is more than just a logo…

Over the past thirty years, Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre has been consistent in its branding.  Hopefully, this has helped to create a comfortable, familiar feel to both of our sites, in Wilthorpe and Cudworth.  But now, the time feels right to rebrand and refresh our look.

Branding is one of the most important things about a business.  Aside from the legal and accounts admin, branding is right up there. It’s something you simply MUST get right.  Everything you choose, from the colours and font design, to shapes and images, tells your customers something about you.  Business branding is much more than just a logo.  Yes, your brand identifies your organisation, but it also conveys information about how you do business, your ethos and personality.

We’re not overstating this.  There are many companies that don’t need words to make them instantly recognisable, for some, an image, a shape, or even just a combination of certain colours will do.

For example, these are some of the businesses and organisations that we have here in Barnsley; do they need words, or can you identify them without? (We’ll put the answers at the end, just in case you get stuck!)

Like all good schemes, our rebranding project began with a consultation.  It was vital for us to know how receptive our tenants and partners were to the proposed changes and to gauge their views on what they think BarnsleyBIC stands for.  Creating a brand for a new venture is often easier, because the process is about establishing and defining the parameters of the business and how you want it to come across.  When an existing organisation rebrands, it can be much more complex.  As well as defining the characteristics you want people to associate with your brand, you have to acknowledge and encompass the positive traits they already see.  The aim is to modernise the overall image, whilst holding on to the things that have helped to build your reputation, establish trust and demonstrate expertise.

Our starting point was to find out how the BBIC was already perceived.  We asked our current tenants;

How would you describe the personality of the BBIC?

The results were reassuringly positive!  The most commonly associated traits were ‘friendly’ and ‘professional’ – music to the ears of anyone in business.  Coming in third – perhaps unsurprisingly, given that this is the first refresh of the brand in thirty years – was ‘dated’.  This was still a positive response though, because it reinforced our view that it was definitely time to spruce things up a bit!

As well as changing our colour scheme, we are also updating the name to become the Business Village @BarnsleyBIC.  The name gives a clear indication of what we are trying to achieve.  We are still a business and innovation centre, but we strive to be much more.  Many of our tenants already take advantage of the expertise that is quite literally on their doorstep, collaborating and engaging with one another.  This helps to create a connected community of people who help one another to grow, develop skills and expand the technology available to them.

There are a number of networking events across the region and here in Barnsley – we also have our own successful First Friday, monthly networking event, which is open to tenants and visitors.  Getting a group of positively engaged business people and entrepreneurs together creates valuable opportunities, but nothing beats having such a rich resource of skills and knowledge right here, on site.  This creates even more opportunities for collaboration and incentives that lead to business growth AND it makes them easier to access.  This is equally true for the start-up businesses that come to us in their early days, as well as for tenants who have been with us for many years.

The Business Village is rooted in Barnsley and this is one part of our identity that will always remain.  Around the BBIC, there will continue to be reminders of this heritage; it’s our way of paying tribute to the town and surrounding areas.

We hope that the friendly and professional personality traits will continue, along with a new, vibrant and exciting feel that highlights what we – and our tenants – have to offer.  The new Barnsley Village branding will also be rolled out here, online. The idea is for the community and village ethos that has been built at the BBIC, to grow and develop in the virtual world too.

Please check back regularly for expert hints and tips, information and news.  We will also be featuring interviews and insider views from business leaders and entrepreneurs.  Sign up to our mailing list and make sure you don’t miss a thing from the Business Village @BarnsleyBIC!

Oh, and before we go, here are the answers to those logos… Did you get them right?  Dominoes, Shell, Barnsley College, Barnsley Council, Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce and ASOS.