I sat there at the table as she began to talk about her need for a logo, taking in what she was saying and thinking about what she was not saying at the same time. She wanted it to look really nice but could not tell me much about what the business was like or what the business would be doing other than a few types of repair services.
I gently pressed to get more information but was met with strong expectations that I would be able to be superman by naming her business and just creating something really amazing. I told her we’d be happy to help but she would have to contribute more to the process.
The Meat of It
Any agency that says they can design you an “identity” by way of a logo, when you can’t communicate your own company brand should be a red flag.
Developing a rock solid brand that gains recognition is absolutely essential for your business, but you need to start with understanding who you are and where you are going, what you offer, and who you are trying to reach.
Logo design and branding are two different things. You see, branding provides the context for effective logo design, which answers the question, why logos are so hard to get right.
When a company’s brand is ill-defined or even worse not defined at all, a logo has no structure to be built upon. It becomes an elusive object subject to the whim of “in the moment” personal preference. So what do you do? You must define your brand.
When a company’s brand is ill-defined or even worse not defined at all, a logo has no structure to be built upon.
Your brand identity can encompass areas such as personality, uniqueness, emotion, tone, company culture, history, vision, mission, key messaging, core values and more.
Your business should offer solutions to the problems and needs of your customers. Being and staying in touch with these is a great way to fuel ongoing service and product offerings.
Equally important is understanding the people who will interact with your business. This includes your target audience along with all their tastes, preferences, and patterns.
As these areas take time to learn, and over time your business will evolve, be prepared that your branding will evolve as well. It is an ongoing refinement process, which means change isn’t a mark of failure but of success.
Read this short list of questions to help you define your brand.
- How would you describe your business?
- What makes your business unique?
- What problem is your business answering?
- What is your business’ vision, mission, and core values?
- Who are your customers and what are they like?
- What colors and images come to mind when you think of your business?
Now write down the answers to these questions with these pro tips in mind.
- Think in terms of what business category/s your services or products belong in.
- Think about your personal core values and how they are expressed in your business.
- Every business answer some form of a problem, try writing as many problems or angles of the same problem that you can think of.
- A vision is what you see for your business in the greater worldview.
- A mission is how you accomplish your vision.
- As a general rule narrow your core values to 3-5. Many times if you have more they are really synonyms or related terminology.
An agency that is committed to partnering with you will ask you plenty of questions up front and throughout the design and implementation process to ensure they are staying on point with your brand.