What IS a brand?
A brand used to be as simple as a name, a logo, a sign on your door or an ad in the newspaper.Today, the concept of a brand has evolved light years from that original idea to mean “the embodiment” of that corporation, or non-profit, or person (yes, people can have ‘brands’).
A brand / logo should represent who the company is and how they behave. And that’s why we are changing our name to ‘LaDIFF.’
Don’t get us wrong. LaDifference, Inc., will still be who we are officially, and that name represents 34 years of history for us, so it’s not going away entirely. It’s just that LaDIFF fits our personality so much better!
When Andy Thornton founded the store in Charlottesville in 1980, he had just returned from a stint working in Haiti. He based his new store’s name on the Haitian motto: “Haiti, Vive La Différence!” It was a perfect moniker, as it came to represent what the store is all about: “different” ideas and approaches in home design and decorating.
With the French name came challenges. The media never seemed to know where to put the accent, and potential customers weren’t sure if we were a furniture store or a French restaurant. The name also carried with it a burden of presumed pretention and haughtiness, which, if you have visited the store in person, you know is not part of our make up or character at all. (In fact, our entire staff is often complimented on how personable, approachable, witty, and welcoming they are!)
For us, LaDIFF represents more of who we are: friendly, fun, approachable … and, since we are losing 6 letters, a bit more ‘minimal’ (like the modern designs we sell).
Credit for the nickname of ‘LaDIFF’ belongs entirely to our customers. For years, they’ve been telling people about their ‘ladiff homes’ and their ‘ladiff offices’ and how ‘ladiff sponsored their event’ and so on.
“Changing the name is a good move, said Kelly O’Keefe, a professor of brand management at the VCU Brandcenter and chief creative officer at public relations and communications firm PadillaCRT’s Richmond office. O’Keefe went on to tell Greg Gilligan for his August 1st column in the Richmond Times Dispatch, “For LaDiff, this is an acknowledgement of the way consumers refer to the company, so it’s a smart move. It’s very similar to the change Federal Express made years ago when they rebranded as FedEx. There’s no loss of brand equity with the change, because in the minds of consumers that is already the brand, and it’s a heck of a lot easier to say.”
Easier to say… well THAT’s for sure! Over the years, that accurate French trill pronunciation has been tough for some people, from employees answering the phone to clients and vendors trying to communicate with us to the truck drivers bringing us our furniture from around the world. A few would even ask why we were in Richmond, VA, if our store was called “L.A. Difference.”
With our new name, LaDIFF is unveiling a spunky new logo designed by the extraordinary team at Elevation Marketing. “When Aaron Dotson approached us with the idea of a new logo, we knew it would be a wowser. Elevation has always understood what makes us tick,” said Thornton. We’d like to thank Elevation for knowing exactly what we needed!
For all of us at LaDIFF, implementing the new logo has been a welcome experience. At last our name will fit the mood of the store: fun & happy, while still having the spirit of being ‘different.’