Page 17 - Evolve Magazine Spring 2021
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       as we already had links to the name. We put it on a sheet of paper and added it to all the other names we had posted on the walls. After a couple of weeks Merlin was way ahead of all the other names and therefore that was the one chosen. The new software would be known as Merlin. I told you at the outset we found ‘him’ in a filing cabinet.
Marketing then kicked in to launch this new brand and we used expressions such as ‘Merlin is magic and ‘he’ will sort out your business’, ‘let Merlin work ‘his’ magic in your store’, ‘Merlin the magician of retailing’, etc, etc. Merlin as a brand was born.
Interestingly we still used ‘Retail Manager’ but now it was to be known as Merlin ‘Retail Manager’. We also had a character we could use in our marketing campaigns, so we not only had a brand but we also had completely new opportunities for creative marketing.
Over the next few years we added new modules to the initial product and gave each one of them a new name. Everything was a Merlin something – ‘Retailer’, ‘Wholesaler’, ‘Apparel’ ‘News’, etc, etc. The Merlin brand was definitely evolving and now we felt that we needed two things to accompany it, one was
a Trademark for the name and the other was an appropriate brand identity. The Trademark was an issue, as BT already owned the name Merlin for telephony. However, we negotiated with them and they allowed us to have the name for Retail & Wholesale applications.
We submitted our application and it was accepted in the relevant Classes. We actually owned the brand name Merlin, a very exciting day!
Next came the brand identity and we needed something that we could use in all types of marketing that would stand out, and more importantly, stand the test of time. We turned to one of the top design agencies in UK and asked them to look at producing us something suitable.
I have to say it was a very lengthy process as every member
of staff was interviewed to assess what their views were and full market research took place to see what our competitors were doing.
Finally they had something to show us and we headed off to their offices in Guiseley, very excited to see what they had produced. We sat in a darkened studio and a variety of images were presented to us, each one building on the last until we reached the final version. This was to be the logo and brand image for Merlin. I have to say that I was singularly unimpressed, I just didn’t get it. What was it supposed to signify, why the star, what was
going on?
To help me understand the concept of what they classed as ‘subliminal images’ I was shown some other brands, using the same concept. They were of Amazon (the arrow under the A – Z) and Fedex (the arrow between the E and the X).
Having those explained to me I was then brought back to the Merlin brand. Aha, at last the penny dropped and I saw it, the subliminal ‘M’ in the logo. I thought it was genius, just what I was hoping for, something simple but yet with a hidden message, perfect for the magic of Merlin.
Over the years since then the logo has evolved a little with it now
enveloped in a circle and with clearly defined branding guidelines. However, it has stood the test of time and we now have a whole range of products and services which carry the Merlin brand name. We have a range of Merlin Hardware – ‘Super-Touch’, ‘Pipo’, ‘Hawk’, etc. and a range of software – ‘Retail’, ‘Venue’, ‘Stadia’, ‘iFood’, ‘Tickets’, etc. We also have Merlin ‘Support’ for both 6 and 7 days.
So, to answer my very first question, what’s in a name?
In my experience the answer is everything you want it to be, but you have to be a) committed to it b) consistent in your approach
c) understand what your message is and d) totally focussed on bringing it to the fore every chance you get. It does take time but there are four key pillars to any brand that is successful:
1. Familiarity – it has to be out there and recognised
2. Esteem/Prestige – it has to be seen as a quality brand
3. Difference – it needs to be offering something that takes it out of all the ‘busyness’ of current marketing
4. Relevance – it has to give out
a message that it is perfect for its target market
If you get all four right, you will have the perfect brand and it will last for ever.
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