From time to time I have business owners approach me for feedback on a new logo. The truth is that there is no end to creativity and the possibilities of creative logos. However, the bigger (and more important) question is this: “What do you want your logo to represent?” Or, in other words, what’s your brand?
Logos in and of themselves are not really as significant as some may think. They really have nothing to do with the establishment of your brand. They are only important after you establish your brand.
People will not look at your logo and see the essence of your brand. Consider the Starbucks logo. It communicates nothing about the coffee experience. In fact, some would say that it is really not even that creative.
However, once you have established your brand, your logo becomes the visual identity of that brand. So what is a brand?
The Brand Promise
Your brand is your promise. What do you promise to deliver to your customers beyond the product or service you have to sell? Please note that your product or service is NOT your brand! Brands are never about the product, they are about the promise!
Chances are that there are many others who sell the same product or service, and probably at a cheaper price. The last thing you want to be is a commodity that competes on price! You want to establish a brand – make and fulfill a promise that is unique, distinct, and deeply you!
Realize too that customer expectations are high! They expect you to have a quality product and good customer service, so your brand promise has to be more than that! You have to promise something that will get your customers’ attention and something they think is valuable – something they know they may not get someplace else.
This is very closely related to your unique selling proposition (U.S.P.) It tells the customer what they will get by doing business with you. It will also serve as a cultural and moral compass within your company. So a strong brand promise is a powerful thing both internally and externally. It inspires trust and loyalty within and without.
The Brand Experience
Once you are clear on your brand promise THEN you are ready to create and communicate your brand experience. The bottom line is that you must deliver on your promise! It doesn’t matter what you say if your customers perceive otherwise.
What your customer experiences and reports to others is your actual brand. So pay close attention to the customer experience. Listen to feedback. Make corrections along the way as needed. Make sure the customer experience is congruent with your brand promise.
Then you can create a tagline and a logo to communicate the promise and experience. These represent your verbal and visual brand identity. So spend most of your time and attention on your promise and experience.
The Brand Logo
Now that you are focused on building a brand, you can start thinking about your logo. There are 3 primary components to the logo:
- Words – The words you use in your name and tagline are very important, but the most important piece is the font. Depending on your brand, you may want to use a font that is uncommon or unique. On the other hand, you may want to use a font that is timeless and clean. This is where you need your best creativity!
- Icon – This is the picture or image part of your logo. Again, it doesn’t have to say anything in and of itself, it just becomes the image that represents the brand.
- Color – I suggest that you choose a primary and secondary color. Realize too that colors provoke emotions. Choose a primary color that matches the emotion you want to evoke from your customers. There are a lot of great resources on the internet that will tell you what emotions different colors create.
Owners of small businesses need a simple but effective process for branding their company. You cannot spend large sums of money on visual brand identity. Yet, this is very important to growing your business! I recommend working with a graphic designer or branding specialist if you want your logo to be powerful and last with your business…otherwise, you may find yourself re-branding too often!
As a business coach in the Houston area I have the privilege of working with many small businesses on their branding. Contact us for a complimentary 1-hour branding consultation designed specifically for the small business.