In a survey conducted by LinkedIn, when asked the question:
“Do you consider a the logo to be the main focus of a company brand?”
37% of small to medium sized businesses answered “Yes” and 32% see branding as only being relevant to large businesses. But branding is so much more than a logo and is relevant to all businesses independent of size.
You own a business or plan to start one. The first thing that you do is to write a Business Plan, either for finance reasons or for your own planning guidance moving forward. As part of the “Plan” is your Sales & Marketing Strategy – how do we find our potential customers, and convert enquiries into paying customers.
Integrated into your Business Plan, and aligned with the Sales & Marketing Strategy, should also sit your Brand Strategy, which encompasses your overall value proposition and how it will be projected into the marketplace.
The Brand Relationship
Branding is a curated experience to shape a person's perception of your brand. Your brand is the two way relationship that you have with your potential and existing customers. Like a personal relationship, some aspects are controllable by you, others are defined by the other side.
In branding there are several areas that combine to form the brand, for example — brand image is not what you define, it’s how you are perceived by your customers, whilst the brand identity can be fully controlled by you and your service providers. Other areas of branding are more complex and require management.
Areas where interaction with your customers take place, known as customer touchpoint’s can be managed by sales & customer support. Another area, building brand awareness — roughly translating to “does anyone out there know we exist?” can be managed and promoted by marketing.
So what about the Logo?
Definition – A logo (abbreviation of logotype) is a graphic mark, emblem, or symbol commonly used by commercial enterprises, organisations and individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition.
The Logo is merely one element of your brand Identity – albeit an important element.
Everything you write, create and share with the world contributes to how the world experiences your brand and creates an impression and expectations of your business. Therefore you need to think — Brand Identity.
A Brand Identity should be a unique visual identity to evoke the feeling and personality of the brand through shape and colour and imagery and include all designed visual elements. It should include what you want your customers to know and feel about your business. It should set the tone of voice for the copy (text), the visual style of photography, the readability of your messaging through careful selection of appropriate fonts and consideration to the best forms of delivery to market for maximum impact. It should be comprehensive, but easy to remember and quick to recognise. There should also be a set of guidelines to assist in it's consistent implementation across all visual assets. So it is able to be produced either in-house or via suppliers. This repeated and consistent exposure of your visual brand, will create brand awareness and build brand equity.
So why do I need Branding?
Your need branding because in todays fast moving environment with so much choice, customers need reassuring. Initially that comes from a gut feeling, emotional connection or a value-based expectation. So, they choose a brand based on trust, a trust based on that you will care for them.
You need a brand because it’s the most effective way you tell your story and provide enough reassurance for customers to respond to a call-to-action or make an informed buying decision on whether you’re the right company for them. You need a brand in order to manage the fulfilment of the promise that you make to your customers in your value proposition and in order to align that promise with your business objectives. You need a brand to differentiate your offering from that of your competitors in a busy marketplace. You need a brand to be able to plan and project into the future.
You need a brand, because It’s impossible to provide enough reassurance to a potential customer with a logo — no matter what the colour, or how good the design is. So, please if you think that you just need a logo… think again, before you invest too much of your valuable time and resources going in the wrong direction.