Let me explain why asking for ‘just a logo’ isn’t the best strategy for helping to grow a ‘brand’. In my twenty-plus years in the design industry, thankfully I have only had a handful of customers who have said to me “I just need a logo, can you do that for me?”. I have learned to say no to these customers.
I had one ‘potential’ client say to me, and I kid you not, “I just want a f#cking logo - can you do that for me?”. Needless to say, that conversation didn’t really last that long.
Here’s the thing - you have your well thought out idea for your new business. Your business is registered with the relevant authorities (Companies House in the UK, for example). Your business bank account is open, and you have your business plan (that part took ages, didn’t it?). Your strategy is in place, and your marketing plan has been honed to within an inch of its life. You may even have carefully selected the best staff you have available to help you sell your product or service. You might even have office space (and that one did take ages to find). And, depending on what kind of business you are in, you might even have vehicles out on the road. And lastly, your web site is ready to go live, allowing you to sell your product or services online. This is not an extensive list of course.
You’ve probably spent several months planning, strategising, refining, honing, more refining and more honing. Mostly to define, find and attract that prized customer or client. Hopefully evolving that strategy to find more exciting and engaging ways to keep those found customers and up-sell other services or products to your customers.
“Oh wait, shoot, I need a logo. I’ll do a search online, to find a local designer to get a cheap logo, or I’ll pop over to a well-known crowdsourcing site to get a fast fix,” says the excited business owner. That makes my little beating design heart feel heavy with pain.
I am not suggesting that your logo is the be-all and end-all for success, but it can certainly be one of the most essential things in the brand's arsenal of visual touch points. However, it should be thought about as part of a more extensive visual identity system.
To help your customers make an informed judgement in their own minds, you need more than a logo. It needs to elude to all of the values and strategy that you have already created. It needs to be used consistently and used in the right places and in the right ways to build that consistent picture in your customers’ mind. This will help your customers define you using the experiences they already have of well-crafted logos and brand identities.
Your logo, as part of the wider branding output, should be as intelligent as the customers you are trying to attract. So, if you’re a high-end fashion brand, please don’t craft your ‘logo and branding’ that makes it look like a pile-it-high, sell-it-cheap brand, and trust me, I have seen examples of this kind of rushed approach.
Customers are used to seeing visual cues that subliminally define certain brands’ personalities. They do this by using learned visual experiences of successful logos and branding - 93% of purchasing decisions are based on visuals cues of a brand.
There is a myriad of other brands out there doing the same as you, so keep in mind that customers expect things to work, and the differentiator between you and other brands is how your ‘brand’ looks and feels.
So next time you are thinking of doing ‘just a logo’, consider what would happen thinking about buying that expensive new car but forgetting to put the fuel in to get you on the net stage of your journey. Sure the car will look pretty but the vital bit to get it going it missing.
By Tom McCrorie
Founder at ATOM. Expert in Brand Strategy, Design, Illustration, Packaging.