Bad Logos + Better Branding
Branding ought to be one of the most straightforward parts of the marketing mix but let’s face it, it isn’t. There’s not? one exact definition of a brand but rather as a concept, brands fall under a range of definitions and descriptions. In the simplest form, brands are the association's consumers attach to a name. Everyone gets this but this tends to limits how business owners should think about their positioning and what they could do with it. A stronger understanding of a brand is one that transcends its origins, (that being the ‘associations’) to build a strong relationship with consumers. Today, branding is not only important in making a business more recognisable but also in driving engagement through how it interacts with consumers online and through experiences by being more personified.
People see brands as allies and could even go as far as friends. It’s a give and take situation. Brands are dependent on making connections with consumers and depending on the product or service, consumers also get what they need from brands, more often than not it’s emotional rather than rational motivation.
Understanding this highlights the importance of strong communication across elements of the branding process, that contribute to the consumer relationship building. Identity, strategy, value and design in branding all have to be nurtured.
It all starts with the logo
More often than we’d like to see, we find that the branding of a business starts and ends with the logo, but the worst part is how the logo doesn’t truly reflect or give a great image of what the business stands for. Yet this is what some businesses rely on to attract consumers; let’s talk bad logos.
The quality of a logo isn’t necessarily about using the latest and greatest software (although this is highly advisable) but in whether it communicates the right impression to audiences. We now live in a highly saturated marketplace in terms of most sectors, everyone knows a thousand and one café’s, clothing brands and hardware stores but why do people choose to go to one over the other, in the first instance?
The purpose behind logos is getting people to knock on your door, give you a call or click on your website. It goes without saying that a logo needs to be creatively unique and distinctive in order to stand out against competitors, but a more important question is, does a logo fulfil its purpose in the role of branding?
A logo is essentially a definition, it’s the first thing people should see in their mind when they think of a business. Branding all starts with the logo and quite frankly sets the tone. So while getting the logo right is all great, that’s just the beginning.
The way a business uses their logo is also just as crucial. Once a business has created the perfect logo it’s about using where it would be valuable and in the most effective way. The problem a lot of smaller businesses fall into, especially start-ups, is the idea that their logo is the be all and end all of their branding. Once they’ve got it, it’s like ‘YES, we’ll stick that on everything. All merchandise, all content, everything’ and they fail to nurture the other aspects of branding by following the elements of design that began with the logo. And as it turns out, there’s only so much of your logo people want to see before they stop appreciating the value it represents.
Take notes from the best
There are lessons to be learnt from some of the greatest brands when it comes to logos and visual design.
If the brand's logo was to be strategically designed, the logo should be flexible to adapt to trends and aesthetic values of the contemporary time. Google is such a great example of this. Since its revised logo in 1999, Google has only ever had to change its typeface to compliment developments in the design industry such as the transition from 2D design to flat design and from a traditional serif typeface to a modern and clean sans-serif typeface.
It doesn’t stop there, since Google has extended its business beyond being a search engine, it has been able to incorporate elements of its logo design across branding to other services it provides such as Google Play, Google Drive and Google Maps. All without plastering the main Google logo on each platform. Rather it maintains the aesthetic set by the main logo in communicating the brand identity in design.
The Brand Life Cycle
We should all know that brands have a life cycle. Like we said earlier, brands are like people and brands begin with the logo. However if businesses don’t develop their branding as a whole (those elements we stated earlier, identity, strategy, value and design) they shouldn’t expect their life cycle to last but make a swift move to a ‘decline’ stage. The good news is that there’s an antidote to all of this. Marketing, and the right kind will ensure the life cycle of brand is always sustained.