When it comes to branding, there is a broad misconception that a) Brands are the preserve of the large corporates and b) your brand is your logo. A is fairly easy to dispel, by dissecting B in more detail..
Your logo is not your brand; in fact many individuals when they write a start up business plan have already started to build their brand before they’ve even thought about a logo. Ok, so a lot of early days brand building is aspirational (it’s good to think big at this stage) but a lot of these aspirations are driven by the core values of the founding members, or by ideals driven by doing things differently to the current way of thinking in your industry so some will stick throughout the business journey. Then comes the logo. The reality is, of course that with many start-ups, whilst all good business people recognise the power of branding, they may have just quit the security of their job, they have a contract to fulfil and they just need a bloody logo to put on their first proposal.
Fast-forward a couple of years; your business up and running, you have more than that initial client that you won with that first proposal and you’re employing people. Next stop, world domination? This is the time to think about your brand in true depth and ask yourself, your staff and fellow board members a few questions..
So, why did you win those additional clients? What do your clients think of you? What does your staff think of you and your business? How much has your business changed from the sketchy beginnings back in the spare bedroom? What are our strengths, core values and differentiators? How can I get to the next level? And that’s barely the start of it. Put simplistically, you first need to really understand the true essence of your business, your core values, strengths and why people choose you, then comes the logo. In understanding your business, your design agency will be able to give you a logo that represents the essence and works in your field of business. This will be supported by a strapline (this is a whole other article!), but the strapline needs to capture your essence, or your promise or values or what it is that makes you special.
If your agency’s really good – then it’s all of the above ☺.
‘So I have a logo and a strapline, so that’s my brand, right?’ er, wrong actually. The brand exists in everything you do, everything you produce, in how you interact with people, how your team answers the phone, what you promise on your web site, so when you roll out your new logo and core values, be sure that your team ‘gets’ it, that your web site ‘does it’ and your customers ‘love it’. It’s no good promising ‘service with a smile’ if your van driver flicks the V at every given opportunity, nor is it any good promising a prompt response if your ‘contact us’ email on your web site is not being dealt with. So the short answer to the original question, a brand is not a brand when it does not live up to it’s promise, your service or product is not consistent and your staff don’t understand what it is you’re trying to achieve.
So, get the story straight, share it with everyone and create a logo, but more importantly an image that encompasses your company’s values, what you stand for and what you promise to be!
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