Posted on December 10, 2015
Take a look at each of the people depicted above. Let’s say you had to choose one of these individuals to be your partner on a big project, and based solely on these images, you had to narrow your search to three of them to interview. Who would you choose? Would you choose the serious, distinguished-looking looking man with his chin up, wearing a business suit? Would you choose the younger man with the scruffy face, and messy hair, who is looking away from the camera? Or would you choose the girl with the straight hair, big, sincere-looking smile, looking straight into the camera? Here are 10 people, each giving a uniquely different impression. Through their expressions, attire, grooming, and other aesthetic features, they are projecting a feeling of what it might be like to meet them, to be involved with them, to work with them. Corporate logos and brands do the same thing. They exude emotions in people, sometimes positive, sometimes negative, and most often, neutral. They project a feeling to people of what it might be like to be involved with the companies they represent. What it might be like to work for them, provide a service to them, or to buy from them. Your company’s logo and brand is your opportunity to strategically transmit all that you are to prospective clients.
YOUR LOGO IS YOUR BRAND
The purpose of a logo is not to tell people what you do, but WHO you are and HOW you do what you do. A company whose logo or brand only communicates what it does is no different than a group of people who all look exactly the same. How will a prospective client know whom to choose? In order to stand out, you need to transmit what is unique and different about you. The very same rule applies to a business in any competitive marketplace. The role of the logo is to transmit feelings and ideas in the minds of prospective customers. Here are three fundamental questions you need to answer before any concept of a logo can be conceived:
1) What is your company’s mission?
Every company, no matter how big or small, should have a well-defined mission statement, and every member of the company, from the owner/president to the front line staff should be engaged in developing one that reflects the company’s goals and objectives. The essence of your mission should come out in your branding.
2) What do you want to be recognized for within your industry?
If I were your customer and asked you the question, ‘Why should I buy from you?’, what would be your answer? If you can’t provide a compelling answer to this question, you’re in trouble. When you started your business, you must have had a reason for believing you’d be successful. What was it? Whatever that thing is, you want to be recognized for it. If I go into business because I am able to get product more cheaply than anyone else, then I want people to know that. If I am able to provide better quality, then I want people to know that. If I want to help people, then my logo should project this feeling. Fundamentally, you need to know what sets you apart from others in your industry and ensure it is transmitted through your brand.
3) What is it like to do business with your company?
When customers do business with you, what will their experience feel like? What expectations should they have? What results can they expect to achieve? For example, one restaurant offers better prices, but only a basic level of service, while another offers a superior quality of food, and attentive service, but at higher prices. Would you expect their two brands to be indistinguishable? They certainly shouldn’t be. Each should clearly transmit to you, the customer, the experience of doing business with them.
Notice that none of the three questions have anything to do with WHAT you do. Only a company that is a monopoly can be successful on the strength of what it does, alone. In any competitive market, companies must promote HOW they do business. An effective logo and branding program will achieve this. An effective logo and branding program is not something you can buy ready-made, off of a shelf, and it isn’t something you should entrust to the uninitiated. It’s your corporate identity, and it deserves better.
The purpose of a logo is not to tell people what you do, but WHO you are and HOW you do what you do.