Case Study – Homestay Network Australia

We are going to carry out series of case study based on our client’s story. Hopefully you will learn branding strategy using these case studies.

Our first client story is from Homestay Network Australia (www.homestay.net.au). Kelly Chan, the founder of Homestay Network Australia created the site a couple of years ago. As she states: “Reason I want to create this website is to provide a platform for me and all other people to share their homestay stories. Also  this website is a great tool for comparing homestay prices. When I was looking for homestay, I had to go through a lot of websites to compare homestay price, which is very time consuming. That’s why I created this website. Price is just one thing but other things like how to get along with students or host family is also an important part. You will learn from this site as well.”

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Kelly’s branding goal is very clear: target international students and aussie families who want to become host.  She has the passion to help out people regarding to this issue due to she used to be a homestay student, which is great help for her to keep this site going.

Branding – Its more than just a logo

A lot of people know that they need a logo when they start a business, but what they may not know, is that most successful companies go quite a bit further than just the logo! A company really needs a brand – an overall look and feel for the company that runs through all the collateral. From the brochures and website design and development to the style of photography that is used. Large companies will often have a style guide, a booklet (or similar) that lets designers and in-house teams know what they can and can’t do within the brand guidelines. Its a good way to make sure your company has a consistant look and feel and that you are displaying a unified front.

One of the most important aspects you need to consider is the image you want to portray to customers and clients. You will need more than a logo design to do this effectively. Think about it for a moment, if you are selling a beautifully designed car, would you want your logo design and collateral to feel like costco (for our US reader!) or best and less (for the Aussies)? Probably not.

A perfect example of this is BMW. When you think of BMW, you don’t think of cheap, or bad design. Even though you may not be able to think of an exact car model or shape, or even recall the smell of the leather inside a BMW, heck you may not have even been in one! BUT, you know that BMW is a mark of excellence. This is an example of great branding. It is a combination of many things that have come together to give this perception of quality. The first and formost, is obviously having a good product to begin with, but it certainly doesn’t end there. If a BMW cost $15,000, you would most likely think ‘this can’t be a great luxury car?’. Even if it was a great car, the price would say to you that something must be wrong. This is an example of price indicating quality. The old adage of ‘You get what you pay for’, if i pay a lot, it must be good. I’m rambling a bit here. But I think you get what i mean, combine this with Great minimal design throughout their website design and brochure design, as well as their iconic logo design, and you have all the ingredients for a prestigious brand.

To go in another direction of a carefully crafted brand, but this time to give the impression of affordability is JB hifi. For our Aussie readers, you may be familiar with the JB brochures, they look almost as if they are ‘thrown’ together in Microsoft word! They appeal to the bargain hunter in us all, they look very cheap. It looks like it was designed by ‘Shane’ – a guy the boss once met, who happens to be his Uncles next door neighbour. Shane mentioned that he was ‘sort of’ a Graphic Designer. Even though it looks like Shane designed it, you can be sure that this is a very carefully crafted image, meant to lead you into believing that you will get the best price if you shop at JB.

Can you see the Coca Cola logo in your head when you read this sentence? Most probably yes, because they don’t mess with something that works. How about Pepsi? Maybe, but they’ve changed it so many times its a bit diluted and ‘muddy’.

When it comes time for you to build your brand, try to think of it as a collective project. It might even be a good idea to think about the other areas such as website design and development – try to think of everything as an extension of your brand, rather than a project on its own. You want to create a unified look through all your collateral, whatever the ‘look’ is that you are going for.