What is the value of a brand name? And why do some organisations embellish their company logo with a strapline or ‘slogan’?

BP, for example, took its image very seriously, spending £4.5m on its new logo and tagline ‘Beyond Petroleum’ in 2002. And, of course, nobody did ‘brand’ better than Steve Jobs, who after leaving Apple, invested $100,000 in developing an identity for his new company NeXt in 1985. He famously sold NeXT to Apple 1996 for $429 million and 1.5 million shares of Apple stock.

Others like GAP, however, get it completely wrong. The clothing giant rolled out its new logo only to hastily ‘dump it’ one week later after a vicious public backlash.

Against this backdrop, you may be wondering why WestWon has recently launched its new tagline ‘Partners In Growth’…
Earlier this year, we felt like the brand development team at Saatchi & Saatchi, pondering for hours over a suitable company slogan.

We reflected that memorable taglines often have few words, for example, HP ‘Invent’, Nike, ‘Just do it’, Tesco, ‘Every little helps’, to name a few. Our tagline should, we felt, be similarly brief, and over the next few weeks we came up with a wide variety of options, some amusing, some off the wall and others confusing, complicated or too long.

For me this process was particularly valuable in crystallising my thinking about who are we and what do we do. WestWon is a broker and we deal with lessors, yet we also need to reach out to our end-user customers in a positive way. We needed to define what we actually sell – leasing finance, rental agreements or contract hire – and what market are we in – the capital equipment market, leasing or money lending?

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Clearly developing a logo and tagline is not something that can be delegated to a design consultant. It needs to be driven by the core values of the company and its leaders’ vision for the future. On our journey, we realised that we were about facilitating growth: whether by helping a new shop to open or enabling an existing business to expand through investment in upgraded technology; or a supplier to sell more equipment through flexible finance options.

Thus the word ‘growth’ had to be in our tagline. Eventually, we choose ‘Partners in Growth’ agreeing that it encapsulated our philosophy and our desire to develop long-term mutually beneficial relationships with all our key stakeholders – funders, suppliers and customers alike.

It goes without saying that we did not undertake extensive research, attend ‘think tank’ meetings with design consultants nor spend vast amounts of money. We did not even sit through a PowerPoint presentation – but, for us, the whole process enabled us to develop a statement that we believe in and succinctly encapsulate our ‘customer promise’.

Jeremy Hall is chief executive of asset finance broker WestWon