This post was first published on the Healthy Thoughts blog for Hart.
We’re living through an incredible time during which the growth of the internet allows us to extend the reach of valuable services and maximize the impact they have on our lives.
When I sat down to write this post I wanted to talk about the various facets that come together to create a brand. Not necessarily a step-by-step or how-to, but rather an illustration of the complex makeup of a brand.
With my phone on DND (do not disturb) and placed just a few inches out of arm’s reach, tea in hand and the warm glow of my desk lamp, I was ready.
Or so I thought.
As I began to write, I realized I am only three months shy of my four-year anniversary at Hart. My words, while filled with what I believe to be foundational truths in branding, came with a heartfelt message.
What follows is more of a whimsical path behind the creation of our brand. I, like many others, have poured ourselves into crafting it. Whether you’re a designer, developer or one of the many friendly faces using our products, I hope you will find some value in this story.
Behind a Strong Brand
Have you ever felt like you were being talked at rather than talked to? Or maybe you were the recipient of what came across as a hollow message.
That’s the exact feeling most people have when they encounter a brand unclear of what their identity and design are supposed to be.
However, brands are just like people. They can be amazing creatures capable of even greater things. Complex in their makeup. Similar to people, you can generally capture everything that makes up a brand under two major areas: identity and design.
A brand’s identity is the voice and tone used to deliver its message during each interaction. It has everything to do with how a brand communicates with its audience. It includes how the brand sounds in a variety of situations — from the first encounter through the education of their mission, sales process, support and the journey as you progress through each of their products. You can even include smell under a brand’s identity in cases in which physical locations come into play.
A brand is a set of promises as perceived by its audience. It is born when you begin a relationship with it and create associations which may include factual and emotional truths.
Then you have what most of us are familiar with, which are the aesthetics of the brand. The overall look, style, colors and various artifacts that adorn the brand all fall under design.
As a whole, it’s the combination of identity and design that a brand should use to help guide their audience through a set of experiences. It’s the combination of these interactions that help paint the final picture. All coming together to solidify what your brand truly represents for your audience in their minds.
Like a person’s personality, brands are created through patterns, not repetition.
My first assignment at Hart was to rebrand the company and its products. The task included a new name, logo, color palette and other assets required to support the brand. It was a complete rebuild from the ground up.
The best things about taking on this project were the availability of time and the lack of restrictions.
After my initial studies, I found our challenge wasn’t going to simply revolve around creating an identity for this brand, but around helping to reframe the way people viewed their health.
Today, people are accustomed to using devices or apps on their phone to track their activity or log daily food intake. In fact, the majority of the population reports being far more interested in these kinds of features over any clinical ones. But the truth is that both consumer and clinical data are important to one’s health.
With that in mind, our brand needed to feel familiar and trusted by everyone who interacted with it. Our brand should reflect the goals and ideals of every individual as they would like to manage their health and live their life, with our identity playing a supporting role in that process.
How Hart Came to Be
Our approach was simple. Create complete transparency between our identity (tone and voice) and the person experiencing it. While we aim to create memorable moments with our messaging, we prefer to take a backseat with our identity, allowing the person using our products to create an emotional attachment because it reflects an accurate view of their life at any given moment.
Our brand and products are as personal to you as they are to me.
The process began with a common word association exercise. But unlike most lists that seem to run on, I capped ours at a single word:
Beauty, like many things in life, has a different meaning to each of us. It evokes different emotions while capturing everything we want to say at the same time.
Hart is a short, warm and smile-inducing name. Coupled with our logo, it creates a lasting and memorable impression on those who interact with it.
We rely on a lot of white to create clarity around the message we deliver with highlights of our brand color, “Blu,” to intertwine our brand in as a gentle reminder inside of each interaction.
And just like in life, we had to round it out with a secondary palette of primary colors to support the brand in any situation that called for it.
One of the most impactful parts of a brand is when it’s finally applied and experienced in the real world. For us this comes in two very key points of interaction, both as users are onboarded into one of our apps and when they see it in full motion with a video.
A Brand Promise
Once it’s all said and done, the assets created serve merely as tools to help tell this story. The story of a team with a mission to change the way you interact with your health and the way you navigate the many networks that care for it — clinics, hospitals, fitness centers, therapists, health insurance companies, employee wellness programs and the many connected apps and wearables we all use. All available within Hart.
A brand is a set of promises as perceived by its audience. It’s born when you begin a relationship and create associations with it, which may include factual and emotional truths.
A brand is then not completely ours to design, but to shepherd as a living organism. By focusing on patterns, rather than repetition, to deliver the experience of your brand, you allow for critical moments in which your audience will create these emotional associations and solidify your brand through its identity and design.
My goal as the creative officer is to ensure we keep that promise.