A significant percentage of businesses are guilty of allowing logo design to be seen as interchangeable with branding. While a logo is a great way to build recognition, it is only one aspect of branding. Niall O’Loughlin from 99designs, the online marketplace for crowd-sourced graphic design, explores how, in reality, a brand is made up of many facets.
Logos are crucial but there is more
The world’s top brands understand the importance of logos; they are one of the best ways to enhance your company’s recognition. Consumers see the ‘Swoosh’ sign of Nike, the Coca-Cola design and the ‘Golden Arches’ of McDonalds and immediately think of the company behind the logo.
However, these symbols are only part of the equation; consumer experience is what really matters. While a logo provides an association with a company’s products and services, it is not enough to guarantee customer loyalty in the long-term. Great customer service is the number one way to promote a brand and keep it in the consciousness of consumers and this requires people.
The power of people
A common mistake made by corporations is to view people as statistics and consequentially alienate consumers. While businesses need a recognisable logo, a professionally designed website and a constant media presence, they also need to focus on the ‘people’ aspect of business which of course consists of consumers and employees. Without people, all you have is a brand name and that is not enough to succeed.
If your business treats its employees as numbers on a spreadsheet rather than human beings, it will have a negative knock-on effect. If you have badly-trained employees or poorly-treated staff, the quality of their work will suffer and this will be noticed by consumers. You can spend a fortune on the world’s greatest logo and marketing campaign but if your customer service is subpar, it won’t take long for consumers to flock to a rival.
What are your brand values?
It is easy to dismiss the mission statement of a company as ‘noise’ but in reality, a company without brand values will find success eluding it. What does your brand stand for? This of course depends on the industry you operate in and could be anything from improving consumers’ lives with technology to showing the health benefits of organic food.
Successful brands have a set of ‘core values’ that outline what their companies stand for and serves as a guide for every move they make. One of the great things about core values is that they are relatable to the consumer. Volkswagen is one of the best examples of a company maintaining and communicating its values. The brand name means ‘people’s car’ in German and since the 1930s, Volkswagen has marketed its vehicles as being for the everyday individual. At that time, cars were seen as being a tool of the elite but VW changed all that. The company has held on to these values ever since and as a result, it has created three of the top 10 selling cars in history. VW may have changed its models but it remains committed to ‘defying convention’ and ‘progress’ and has stuck to these principles with phenomenal success.
Long term thinking
Branding is a multifaceted process which can include fancy fonts, exquisite logos and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes. However, each company must remain true to its created identity. This needs a deep understanding of what the brand actually stands for, the communication channels used to spread the message and the people/processes involved in the creation of the product. This will lead not only to better service but also to an increased level of consumer trust which enhances the reputation of your brand.
A good first step is to invest in a brand identity package which typically consists of a professionally designed logo, letterhead, envelope, business card and Facebook cover image. This combination can make up a big part of the visual foundation of your brand.
It is also important to construct a high quality website as this it can show the full range of what your company offers. It is a fantastic opportunity to build your brand so don’t cut corners!