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When a logo becomes branding

Do you need a logo or do you need to look at your branding?

apple.logosThere is a big difference between the two. Let’s face it anyone can design a logo – yes anyone. All it takes is to type a word – preferably the name of your business – and stick some kind of mark or shape next to it, and voila you have your logo!

Now many people will be perfectly happy with this. And why not? It is easy, cheap, and no doubt everyone you show it to will compliment you on your amazing artisitic skills and suggest you have a go at the new Sistine Chapel so impressed are they with your talents.

Of course this is not really what you should be doing with your logo. No you shouldn’t. And why is that you ask. Well let’s see if we can shed some light on this dangerous practice.

Designing branding is a strategic exercise in creativity. It is not something graphic designers take lightly. And if the branding experts don’t take it lightly you shouldn’t either. Creating a brand is nothing short of creating your image. Your whole company ethos and belief system will depend on it. Your customers need to by into it. They need to feel something from it and be able to identify with it.

It needs to encapsulate your business and give something of your business to your customers. They need to feel something from it because they need to feel part of your brand and your products.

Branding started with cattle owners burning marks onto their cattle to stop other ranchers stealing their cattle. This was a great way of letting people know what belonged to who. Today this has developed into worldwide use for any company of any size. Poeple love to identify with brands. Companies spend fortunes having their brands developed into the most sought after mark. Of course, the key to a successful brand is successful products. Take Apple as an example: they have the most sought after products on the planet and are now the biggest corporation in corporate history. They have one of the coolest brands out there, but it started as an illustration of Sir Isaac Newton and the infamous apple. Very nice illustration but extremely limited in its use across items of marketing and promotion. It is clear that not much thought had been put into what this would say about their business and products when this was developed. This demonstrates that even the best of us can get it wrong initially. Luckily Steve Jobs soon saw its limitations and very quickly replaced it with the multi coloured Apple logo in May 1976, a matter of weeks after the first one was complete.

A brand is so much more than your logo. It conveys feeling and perception. It represents how you feel about a particular product. It is what you are buying into and also what you are not. Brands you don’t like will not get your business, whether you like their logo or not. So your brand must convey good feelings to your customers. It should do this across your company from signage to graphics to your staff. The whole way you presnt your business is part of your branding, and this should be consistently good.

Your logo is a small part of your overall branding toolkit but it is a very important part. Get it right and you are on the first step to winning customers over and building your company branding.

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