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Can’t you just make me a logo? Well, obvz. But where is that gonna take you? What is it gonna do for you in the long-term? Is it built to last? Or to grow as you grow?
To us, a logo is a lot like your signature. It’s what you put at the end of a letter, or a document filled with all the details about you. Your signature can say a lot about you. But while it gives us a feel and an allusion towards your brand spirit, it’s not who you are!
So, when you ask a designer to create a logo for you with little or no knowledge about what your business is all about, it’s a haste makes waste situation.
First Thing. What is Branding?
Your brand is more than your logo. Yes we know, you want your logo on everything … and you want it bigger (designer in-joke … sorry!).
At one point your logo was all you needed; brand recognition was as simple as that. Picture old ad’s from the ’50’s to the ’70’s, there was no consistency and tons of text. Today, things are different, things are fast-paced, and there’s so many mediums your brand can appear in.
So what’s a brand? It’s fonts, colours, layout, style, voice, and yes, even your logo. Your brand, today, is like the point man, the face, of your business.
So how do you get there? With some help of course. These are five (plus one bonus!) beginner steps to getting your brand working for you.
1. The Personification of Your Business
That’s a big word, but if you remember your old high school literature classes, you’ll remember personification simply means to give human characteristics to something non-human. In this case, your business.
So who is your business? Is it professional, straight-laced, honest, bold, funny, irreverent, charismatic, confident, or any other adjective you could associate with a person? This is who your clients or customers will think of when they think of your brand. While you’re at it, you also want to define who your brand is not. Perhaps you want to be professional, but not stuffy, or confident, but not arrogant.
As an exercise think of Wal-Mart, now, picture a person, what do they look like? How do they carry themselves, what’s their personality like? Ok, now that you’ve wiped that image from your mind, think of Apple and picture a person again. Completely different aren’t they! Well, your clients or customers are/will be doing the same thing with you company, even if subconsciously. This is such an important part of defining your brand and many small- to medium-sized businesses never even consider it.
2. Work Out The Voice
Your brand speaks as much as you do. Like a person, it’s all about first impressions. People make snap judgements based on the words you choose, the tone of voice, and your posture. Your brand is no different!
It’s at this point you figure out how your brand speaks, and it speaks through photography, colours, fonts, and style. It’s how it signs its name to everything your company is and how it does what it does.
Voice is where you’ll need to spend a lot of time. Don’t skimp on what your brand has to say!
Speaking of logo.
3. Your logo, Position, and Promise line
Your brand’s logo is important; it is the signature after all and how you choose to sign your name says a lot about you – just look at Donald Trump’s signature compared to Barack Obama’s!
At Dc Design House we also preach position and promise lines. A position line is essentially a qualifier for your business, so for example, if you’re Simply Radiant, you need to tell people what that means. In this case: “Medical Aesthetics & Laser.”
Now that we know who you are, and what you do, tell your potential customers what makes you different. What is your promise to all your clients or customers? In the example of Simply Radiant, it’s “Personal Rejuvenation.”
4. Your Story
Your story is the history and the values of your brand, an opportunity to use all of the above to expand on where you came from, what you offer, and where you’re going!
As humans, we love a good story, and the more endearing, passionate, and entertaining your brand is; the more relatable your brand will be.
While your story isn’t necessarily for your customers or clients, it will help you in how you present yourself. For example, a brand with a lot of history in the community might include that care and compassion in its story. A company who’s new and full of energy might talk about being the up-and-comer, or the next big thing.
5. Consistent Voice
How you talk to your customers is vital, and you want it to be consistent no matter what mediums you choose to advertise in.
Much like a person will show shades of the same personality no matter in a job interview or in a pub with friends, your brand’s personality should also shine through, whether in a newspaper ad or on social media.
A great example of this is Apple vs Microsoft, those ads speak exactly to this concept. The Mac guy is young, creative, and fun, while the Microsoft guy was dated, stuffy, and corporate. Microsoft has since changed their brand voice, much to their success, but they had to do it gradually and consistently. It takes a long time to change people’s minds about who your brand is, so it’s best to try and get it right the first time.
6. Getting Your Brand Out There (BONUS STEP!)
Remember how we mentioned that just slapping your logo on everything doesn’t work any more? This step is where the work really begins! Strategic placement, understanding your audience, campaigns to match your excitement for what you do, and which tell your story!
This is where the experts come in. Bold, pointed, and creative strategy, is the difference between throwing 100 flyers off the roof of a building, hoping for one sale; and pointing to a list of sales and knowing exactly how much time, energy, and costs went into getting each and every one of them.
Communicate well and people will listen.
Putting it all Together
Whew! That’s a lot of work, man It’s a good thing branding is one of our favourite things to do in the Design House.
Bringing all these lessons together is daunting for the client who says, “Can’t you just make a logo?” But we know from experience that Branding Better is about creating success.
If you’re ready to take a leap, come by the Y-Enterprise session this Wednesday at Common Ground, or get in touch and trust us to make sure your brand works … works as hard for your businesses as you do.”