Guest Column by Sue Stabe, Long & Short of It
Recently we received an email from a friend who asked for feedback on his new “brand.” He sent us his logo. We wanted to scream, your brand is more than your logo!
Having a unique and memorable logo that can last the test of time, is important. What’s more important is what stands behind it. Otherwise, it’s just another pretty design. Your brand is every experience your target audience has with anything related to your product/service. It’s also what your team says about your product/service. It’s pretty much everything.
But where does the logo fit into that? The logo is part of your visual identity which also includes colors, fonts, image style etc. It’s the face of your brand, it’s what people see. But as anyone running a successful business knows, there is more to it than what people see. it’s all the reasons why a customer buys something in the first place and then keeps coming back for more.
So how can your visual identity convey all these things your company stands for? To start, think about how it might reflect the personality, promise, as well as the internal mission, vision and values of the company. Those are some of the core components that can help you define your brand. To define these, start with talking with your internal team and target audience (customers and prospects). Understanding their thoughts and perceptions of your brand is critical in designing a relevant visual identity.
• What words would they use to describe the brand? And why?
• What does the brand mean to them?
• How does it compare to others in the same category?
These are all important. Once the information is gathered, it needs to be synthesized into a cohesive brand platform. Only then can you start to develop the visual identity. These brand platform elements drive what the brand should look like. Don’t start with the logo. The logo is the visual expression of what your company stands for – why it exists. And that gets to the core of why defining your brand is important, it helps you tell your story. The story of what you do, why your product is meaningful, and how it can help your customers.
Those stories, expressed in whatever way makes most sense for your company from white-papers to billboards, combined with your visual identity is powerful. Because if you don’t tell your story, someone else will.