What is Branding?
The Value of a Brand
What is branding?
A brand is your companies “identity.” Your company logo is the centerpiece of your brand. Company branding is essential in building a successful business.
One of the most famous logo designers in history, Paul Rand, said:
“A logo is a flag, a signature, an escutcheon.
A logo doesn’t sell (directly), it identifies.
A logo is rarely a description of a business.
A logo derives its meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolizes, not the other way around.” –Paul Rand
A logo is a graphic, mark or emblem that is used by companies or enterprises to promote instant public recognition. The purpose of a logo is to identify your company or business. As Paul Rand states, “It does not sell, it identifies.”
When it comes to corporate branding, designing a great logo is like buying the right bike for a race. Equipped with the right tools, and with enough preparation, you should be able to complete your race. Many people think that once you have the right logo, you are done with branding, but really, it is just the beginning.
A great logo is the catalyst for corporate branding. There are many other things that will be required during the process, but equipped with the right company representation (logo), you are ready for the task.
Building a Brand
Building a brand starts with the logo. A logo will explain the “WHO” of the business. A tagline is usually a good opportunity to explain (briefly) the WHAT of the company. These should be independent of one another, as is explained at a later place in the book.
People are more interested in perceived quality. This is why corporate branding must be done correctly. A prospective dental patient doesn’t really know how well the dentist completes their dental work. In fact, they wouldn’t know at all. Did the filling bond to the tooth? Was the area isolated and kept dry during the process? The patient would only be able to guess. What they will know, is the appearance of a good dentist. His office is clean, neat. His chair side manner was professional, splashed with comedic charm. Just like a logo, patients will notice and remember him. But don’t get too comfortable, we are just talking about first impressions.
Much of the response you get from a logo is based on first impressions. If the person didn’t like what they saw to begin with, they won’t take the time to get to know you better. However, logos are only as good as the product they represent.
“It can’t be stressed enough that in order to produce great graphics, you have to have a good product and a good client capable of making decisions.”
The logo will be hollow, if the service or product falls short of the expectations, just as a dental patient will not return, if the fillings fall out only a day later.
Logo design in branding is a vital start to a lifelong process. Creating a great design is crucial to branding, but it can only accomplish as much as the product itself can deliver. The Lexus logo is a great logo because the product it represents oozes with greatness. The logo is not breathtaking, or mindboggling, it is simple. It is classy, and it is timeless. And more than that, Lexus makes a great product, and therefore, it is a symbol of trust.
The whole measure of success in company branding is the level of trust between your consumers or clients, and your business. Think of it as building friendships with everyone you come in contact with. Once you develop a lasting “friendship” built on trust, your friends will call on you when they need you. Tylenol is a great example of trust in branding. When your child is sick, you can buy the “other” brand for half the price, but moms buy Tylenol, because it works, and it is a safe and trusted choice. Once your prospective audience trusts your company, corporate branding is well on its way.
Logos are vital in building trust. Company logos represent the company; good or bad. This is why the logo design is the most crucial step in creating a trusted brand. If your logo looks cheap and unprofessional, so will your company. If the logo is distracting, and disjointed in design, your business will appear so too. Do not underestimate the power of a good logo. It will pave the way for all else that will make you successful.
Your company logo is just a “taste” of your business or product. Make it a good one. Your logo should reflect your business mission, and should show the proper association to the industry. For example, a logo for a highly professional law firm would probably not include a typeface that resembles graffiti. Be true to your industry. You can be bold without being loud. You can be adventurous without being reckless.
A unique logo is what companies are searching for. They want something that will set them apart.
Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.
When branding your company, your logo should be everywhere. This may seem too simplistic when trying to brand your company, but repetition is the catalyst that will make your logo “stick.” It is vital to get a professionally designed logo, before you begin the branding process, as to not confuse consumers or prospective clients with multiple logos.
Be careful about the marketing that you do. Yes, your logo should be visible, but only in the most positive places. Avoid overexposure; or marketing in the wrong direction. Exposure through negative channels can have a negative impact on your prospective customers.
Company branding builds trust. All small and large businesses should work hard to build a company brand. Sometimes a brand will have an accompanying quote, or motto. The logo does not make up the “brand” in its entirety, but it is the centerpiece for all marketing purposes, and as such, should be carefully designed and created to best reflect your company.