A brand is the visual identity that encompasses what the business does and the personality and culture that it has. A well-chosen logo is crucial to effective branding. Read on to learn how to create or design a logo that will reflect the core of your business. Let’s get started building your brand
Building Your Brand
Think of your brand as the body of your business, and the actual business itself as the soul of your company. The only part that your customers and clients can see is your brand. The spirit and core of your company is invisible to them, but it needs to be represented! That’s where branding comes into play. Branding is the flesh and bones of your company. This specifically relates to the logo and the colors and symbols used throughout signage, websites, promotional materials, etc. Everything must be cohesive, according to what your business does and what it is.
Your brand should clearly and professionally depict your business’ personality, atmosphere, mission and vision. The ultimate goal for successful branding is to make these intangible things visible and accessible to the public.
If you’re planning to develop or redesign your logo and branding, it’s a great exercise to analyze what other companies have done. Collect some examples from familiar companies and judge the branding and logos for yourself, based on the design and the message. The name and logo should give you a picture of what the company is and what you can expect. Consistency is key. Not only should the branding and logo be professional and graphically solid, but the colors, fonts, design and style needs to fit the business! Otherwise, it won’t work.
Some Examples of Great Branding
Take a look at these companies. Their logos and branding have effectively captured the inner qualities or “souls” of their businesses and projected them through branding. Their logos and colors are recognizable thanks to consistency and solid brand awareness.
- Staples: This nationwide retailer for office supplies and technological products uses a snappy red-on-white color theme. Red is the color usually associated with speed. In this case, the clear message is that you can expect fast customer service and up-to-date technology. The traditional, stuffy office feel is completely absent because Staples uses branding that expresses an upbeat atmosphere and modern technological expertise.
- Progressive: Progressive’s easy to spot branding uses basic, stark blue letters on a white background, giving the impression of simplicity (i.e. it’s easy to get low insurance rates with them). The face of the Progressive company is a high energy lady with a huge, happy smile. This branding sends the message that customers are delighted with their Progressive insurance, and there is a warm and human quality to this business, despite the negative stereotypes of insurance companies.
- Dutch Bro’s: Along with the windmill that goes along with their Dutch name, the familiar drive-thru coffee company has developed a brand based on a culture of including their customers in a “Dutch Bro’s family.” Their branding especially resonates with Millennials, the Dutch Bro’s target consumers. The logos and packaging and merchandise is branded to express a trendy, upbeat, positive attitude.
- Turnovers Baby Clothing: Here’s an example of an entrepreneur who took time to perfect the branding before launching this business. Turnovers is an eco-friendly baby clothing company that makes reversible, gender neutral clothing. Therefore, the logo uses the words “turn” and “vers” separated with a line drawing of a green leaf acting as the “o” in the word Turnovers. This branding has depth and it fits the core of the business.
Like these business owners did, you will probably need to create many versions of your logo before choosing and finalizing a design that’s worth using for years to come.
Why Do Small Businesses Need Branding?
It isn’t just big businesses that need to make branding a priority. Companies of any size, whether you’re a startup or a few generations old, need clear and consistent branding. Without a brand, the public will not know who you are and what you’re all about. What you stand for and what you do won’t “stick” in their minds without visual cues. As days go by, your business will become a faded memory, with no branding to keep it top of mind.
Have you heard of the Rule of Seven? Marketing experts believe that a potential customer or client has to encounter your branding at least seven times before he or she becomes mentally conscious of its existence. Without a cohesive brand, your business will never register with those potential customers.
The Benefits of Building Your Brand in Business
- Branding gives the public a consistent image of your business that will stick in their minds. The more often they see your image, the more likely they are to remember you when they need your services or products.
- Branding sets you apart from competitors as a separate, individual business with a personality and a character of your own.
- Branding ties your business and your customers together. It gives them an identity for their customer loyalty. Your brand isn’t just something for your business to identify with; it allows customers to self-identify. (Think of T-shirts with logos, bumper stickers, handbags with brand names all over them, etc.)
How Your Logo Fits into Building Your Brand
Remember when we said that your business is the soul and that branding is the body? Well, you can think of your logo as the face of your branding body. The logo is what people will think of first when they remember your business. Your logo says who you are in just one image. It is the one direct link to your entire brand.
Tips on Creating a Logo for your Brand
First and foremost, you’ll need to define exactly what your business represents. What is your mission and what are your core values? Who are you trying to target?
Whether you’re designing this yourself or hiring a graphic artist to develop one for you, it’s crucial that your logo…
- Is simple enough to “stick” in the viewers’ minds, but is interesting and memorable
- Sends a crystal-clear image on what your business is about
- Appeals to your target market
- Fits cohesively with the rest of your branding
Three Great Tips for designing your logo:
Be smart about choosing colors! Different colors send different messages. What message is at the root of what you do and how you do it? (Compare Staples, with their bright red for speed and positivity, and Progressive, with their blue-and-white for trustworthiness.)
- Don’t get artistically carried away. Huge companies like Nike can get away with an abstract, otherwise meaningless symbol, like their “swoosh.” A small or medium size business shouldn’t gamble on a logo that acts as an inkblot in a psychology test. Don’t use a symbol that vague or open to interpretation. Make your logo easy to process.
- Think about replication before you finalize it. Remember that your logo needs to be reproduced over and over again on stationery, envelopes, banners, etc. Don’t use more than 3 colors or it will cost a fortune to print on merchandise. Make sure your graphic is a vector file so it won’t look pixelated or blurry when it’s scaled up or down.
Building your Brand and Designing a Logo with Staying Power
Creating a logo and building your brand are integral steps to developing or relaunching your business. Your brand and logo will serve as the visual identity for your business as you grow. Don’t rush it, and never settle on something seasonal or mediocre.
Your logo must be evergreen, and ready to stand up to the test of time. Make sure you do it right, and work with a talented artist who understands your business “soul” and what you need your logo and branding to say about your company! Building your brand is an important step to establish your company and show the world what you’re all about!