Decisions, decisions, decisions


The Choices That Build Brands

Decisions are a part of everyday life. Many decisions are simple, quickly determined choices that are made throughout the day. Others are harder. They may keep us awake at night, dancing around in our minds and disrupting our chances to recharge for the next day. Sometimes these decisions sit on our shoulders for days or weeks, growing heavier as time goes by.

Nium president Bill Stabnau wrestled with one such decision fifteen years ago. He was incorporating his design company, and his lawyer couldn’t move forward until he came up with a name. Bill was in the throes of painting offices, and his thoughts were focused on deadlines that needed to be met for a client. Finally he snatched the N-I-U-M from a can of oil-based paint he was using. (Not just any paint, mind you, but a can of full-coverage, high-performance, 100% titanium dioxide paint from Holland.) It was done. The decision was made, and the branding of Nium began.

Today, fifteen years later, Bill and his team at Nium still enjoy working with that same client he was so focused on back then. The company has since grown to include thirteen employees who help clients around the country find their voices and tell their stories. Was it that weighty decision Bill avoided and postponed for so long back in 2001 that set the path for Nium? Of course not. As with many decisions that seem so difficult in the moment, it’s what you do after the choice is made that forges your direction and strengthens your brand.

This is true for businesses in any industry. Some choices may seem impossible, and we may wonder and worry over how one decision could change our course. But even the best decisions require supporting actions and follow-through for continued success. These supporting actions are what really create a brand. It’s so much more than just a name or a logo. It’s your consistency, how you differentiate yourself from competitors, your creativity, how your brand connects emotionally with your audience, and the constant monitoring and reviewing of your materials and your company culture that dictates how your brand is perceived.

Your image should also be real—a true representation of what you stand for. Bill’s primary focus was always on the client—well before his company ever had a name—and he’s built a team that follows his lead. We happily obsess over every detail, even if the task at hand is outside the traditional scope of work for a design firm. And in a time where technology allows us to seamlessly work for customers without ever meeting face-to-face, the relationships we build with others are an important foundation. The client comes first. You come first. In fifteen years, that is one thing that remains unchanged. Well, that and the fact that even though Nium recently relocated, we still walk through doors that are adorned with that same oil-based paint from Holland.