Yes, I know most of you would read the headline of this blog post and say, “what the heck is he saying?” But the truth is that it is not uncommon for people to mistake their logo as branding or as a brand itself. Ok! Let me begin by establishing what is a brand, branding, logo, and at what point do one’s business need a logo.
A brand could be an organization, service or product with a ‘personality’ that is shaped by the perceptions of the target audience. Brand is merely the emotions. It’s the perception that your audience, or those you come in contact with, has on your DNA – what makes up you. It’s the gut feeling people have about you. And the process of guiding people’s emotions towards your brand is branding; which is the creative strategies engaged to influence perception, reputation and stir people’s emotions and appeal about your business. Now, what is a LOGO? A symbol that identifies your brand and provides your audience with instant and powerful brand recognition of your business and the services or products that you offer. It means here that a Logo is a symbol of a brand, not the whole brand.
Whenever I meet with start up entrepreneurs, their first idea in making their brand penetrate their respective markets is to develop a logo. They spend more time inquiring how they can get the best graphic designer to design a sophisticated logo for them, rather than marketing their trade. In establishing a brand, getting a logo isn’t the first step, you have to first develop brand strategies to communicate confidence and establish a reputation, one that is emotionally stimulating. Don’t get me wrong, logo has its fundamental role to play in brand identity, which will be a discussion for another time, this piece to inform you that logos have nothing to do with the establishment of your brand. Your energy should be in delivering on your brand promise and engaging the market with quality service. Whenever some one asks me of tips on making the right logo design, I always ask, do you have a marketing strategy first for your brand / business yet? And I get disappointed when they say, “the Logo is it”. What the logo does is to identify what you do in its simplest form; it does not stimulate appeal or grow your reputation, at least for start ups.
I read one article, and some one made this statement; “I can’t find a logo that people could remember, such as McDonalds.” Let me rephrase it like a question in this way, “how can I design a logo that people could remember, such as McDonalds?” And I join the author in answering it this way; “it doesn’t matter how good or how appealing your logo is, without proper marketing, professional products or services, and excellent customer service, people will NOT remember your logo.” In another words, build a great company and people will remember your logo. You have to believe me in this one that often times we have all walked pass some logos and we didn’t get attracted, remembers it or relates it with the brand it symbolizes. What this means is that we have no connection with the brand, never heard of it or attests to their reputation and credibility. So why spend your scarce funds to design a logo that will not impact in the immediate on your business. Why not put in all fund and energy in marketing and building reputation and gaining your audience confidence. This is called strategy. It is greatly important, more than the logo.
It is not how much you spend designing a logo, it is the name behind it, and it is all about the brand’s influence on the emotions of the audience. Why wouldn’t Wal-Mart spend million of dollars to get a sophisticated logo with an abstract image, instead they went for the simplest of all brand symbols? Coca Cola, Microsoft, Facebook, McDonald’s, Twitter, Yahoo, not because their logos are stimulating but because we can attest to their respective brands, and the feel it generates on all of us. Don’t compare your selves with them, they have spent millions and time marketing their brands which their logos now highlight in symbols. When these logos were created, they had no meaning till people started felling their brands. You too, focus on establishing your brand first before being restless on which logo suits your brand.
Logos are important AFTER you establish your brand. They have nothing to do with the establishment of your brand. Even then, effective logos don’t need to be these super creative, what matters is your brand’s perception. If a business is not committed to branding, and marketing, even the most expensive logo wouldn’t do any magic. Branding is about positioning. It’s about living a promise and creating a relationship with your customer. It’s not about graphic design. A logo is not branding.