What your logo isn’t
Your logo is the identifier of your brand, but your brand is not your logo.
A brand could be defined as a combination of the company name, and associated symbols and signs. It’s what separates you from your competitors. It distinguishes your business in your customers’ minds. A successful brand communicates to customers, the quality of the goods and services you provide. But that definition would be wrong.
Your brand is not your product, and it’s not the carefully-constructed visual image of your company. It is the gut feeling your customers have about you. It’s that instinct customers have about whether or not they should do business with you. Every time a customer walks away happy, your brand strengthens. Every time you disappoint a customer, your brand weakens. To become strong, your brand needs loyalty and trust, but no amount of clever graphic design, artistic merit or fashion sense can give you that. Your brand grows as your business grows. It is your tally of successful business transactions – successful for you and, more importantly, for your customers.
So why is a logo so important?
A logo identifies your brand. Customers remember it and associate good feelings with it; gradually, the influence of the logo and the brand combines to form a powerful marketing tool. However, clarity of design, consistency and visibility are required to build these positive associations.
Your logo should be recognisable, simple, clear and unique; a symbol that serves to distinguish you from your competitors. Pair it with a good brand and product, and you will be halfway into winning the business race.
If your logo doesn’t communicate the message you wish to project, then you are already at a disadvantage. This is why it is so important not to scrimp on logo design. Yes, your friend’s son who is on his summer break from university will design a logo for you, and perhaps that friendly advertising executive you know has some ideas, but do you really want your company’s first impression to be made by amateurs?
As I always stress when advising business clients, engaging a professional graphic designer is essential. If cost is a significant factor, then state this upfront and agree on a workable budget, but don’t accept a substandard design in order to save money. What you lose in sales will be many times more than what you save on initial costs. Would you come to work in a shabby, ill-fitting suit just to save money? Would you meet customers in a rundown bar just because the food is cheap?
Choosing the right designer is a subject in itself and I have talked about this in detail in a previous SMEinfo post: Choosing a graphic designer for your small business.
The brand journey
Your brand is as much about reputation, as it is about perception. We all know that a powerful brand can dominate the marketplace, even when cheaper and better alternatives are available; many people choose products because of the emotional connection the logo and brand combine to create.
But to get into a market-dominating position, your brand first needs to earn a reputation; people who believe in the reason you’re in business, will then buy into what you’re selling. When people think of you and your services, you want them to think of a trustworthy and admirable company that resonates with them. Your logo is simply an identifier of your brand and promise – an emotional trigger.