Branding Is Not a Logo. It’s a Program.
I know that in recent years there have been a lot of designers expressing their feelings on “do-it-yourself” logo websites very public, me included. I really cringe when I see companies out there like LogoGarden or Logomaker.com taking a craft and exploiting it like it’s “just that easy”. Then, I stand back and try to take the birds-eye-view at this business model. I start to think intelligently about this proposition and what it means to branding professionals like myself as well as so many thousands of extremely talented graphic designers whom I know or aspire to be. Suddenly, I come to the conclusion that these logo companies exist for one reason, to serve the clients I don’t want to, nor have to.
You see, in the grand scheme of things, the logo is the easy part, sort of. On average, a really well designed mark can take me 40+ hours and weeks of research, revisions and tweaking to create. So, in essence, the labor is not something to shun as I just have. But, what that mark means to my client, the value, that’s really what matters and is what separates hack logo makers from branding professionals. In parallel, this is what separates a successful company with a defined reputation which believes a mark explains their story from from a company which believes they simply need a logo with bright colors to do business.
Start Thinking of Your Company As a Brand, No Matter the Size
As a business owner, you really have to define who you are as a business, who your customers/clients are and how you are going to server them. Yes, you HAVE heard this all before, but now, ask yourself these questions thinking of yourself as a brand, a company with values, tradition, customer service, morals and so on. Now, things start to look a little different. Whether you’re just starting a new business, or you’ve been in business for the last 20+ years, think about what impact your company has had on your life, your employees’ lives, your customers’; lives and your communities, and so on. Hopefully, you have created a positive impact impact with your company and its products/services, which is all the more reason to actually think about how your company is presented each and every time.
This translates to your customer’s experience and how your customer and the general public encounter your brand at each and every touchpoint of communication. Are you on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, YouTube, etc.? Do you and your employees have a protocol on how to greet customers on phone calls? Do you know how to reward loyal customers, making them feel better about their purchase and have them come back repeatedly? Does your receipt/invoice thank the customer and direct them back to an online survey of their experience or your website? Do all of your outgoing emails have a uniform signature format, same logo, same size, same colors? Does your company have a color, and if so, have you defined it? This list can go on and on. The point is, that, no matter what point of contact or introduction your company has to the general public, you must think about the interaction, own the experience and control the outcome of it. If you aren’t, you’re not building a brand, you’re just another company, with another logo hoping to get noticed.