Anyone in the marketing or design field must have come across the following request from a client at some point or another, “I’m starting a company and I need a logo, can you make one for me?” As well-intentioned as this request may be, it is jumping the gun, for it is a step that is preceded by a very crucial process called brand development. Asking for a logo without having developed your brand, is pretty much the same as skipping to the 5th season of Game of Thrones and not knowing who Daenerys Targaryen is? You might find yourself a tad confused, and your designer will be even more lost because you won’t be able to walk him/her through the essentials. Why? Because a Logo is not a brand!
A Logo is meant to represent a brand, sure, it is meant to reflect the essence of a brand, yes, but it is not the brand itself. You first need to know “who” your brand is, before even discussing “how” it will look; and that “who” is very important. Let’s just say that if you can’t answer the following questions about your brand, then you might consider taking a few steps back and discovering the answers before you proceed with any design work, or marketing efforts for that matter.
- What is your brand’s narrative?
- What are the core values of your brand?
- What is your brand’s positioning?
- What is your brand’s vision?
What is a Brand?
A brand is nothing more than the set of values you want to be associated with. It is your pledge to your consumers, and everything about your brand needs to be consistent with those values and pledge, including your logo. Brands don’t live on shelves, products do, brands live in the minds of the consumers. They carry themselves through every facet of their communication, and when I say every, I do mean every, because a brand needs to be clear in what it communicates through its style, tone, voice, packaging, marketing, and advertising. It needs to be coherent in order to create the right and lasting impression on the consumer.
How to Develop a Brand?
Developing a brand is not an easy or short process, nor should it be. Brands cannot exist without deep strategy. The best advice we give our clients, and in fact that is how we start off the process of brand development is by giving them a discovery questionnaire that is meant to unearth their brand’s story. Start by jotting down how your brand came to be, don’t worry about the format or your grammar, just record your journey. Are you a family-owned wine distillery that has been around for generations? Are you a hip startup of dreamers with a sense of humor, are you a solid investment firm with a long-standing reputation? No matter who you are, or what field you are in, you must be able to articulate it. Then try to discover your brand’s USPs. Most people will look at their competition and say, “Why them and not me,” when instead, they should be asking, “Why me and not them?” If you can answer that last question, then you are close in discovering what your unique selling points truly are.
What is the Power of a Brand?
Brands mean something. They add value. They are desired, reliable, and preferred, for they create a set of expectations for consumers. They are meant to retain not just sell, they are meant to create believers not just consumers. Under such light, no, Apple is not just a half-bitten apple, Mercedes is not just a circle with a triangular shape in it, and Chanel is not just a San Serif font.
A logo is not your brand, your brand just needs a logo.