Looking Beyond the Logo: What “Brand” Means To Us
As a creative agency, we’re often deciphering the difference between services like brand development and logo design.
Many clients will come in believing that what they are looking for are brand development services, when in reality, they simply need a logo conceptualized for letterheads and business cards. The opposite surely happens just as often, and we can hardly blame them for being confused.
The term “brand” has really gone through the wringer in the past 4-5 years. Brand development as a strategy has been around for, arguably, a good century in the form that we recognize it today. Lately, much to the bemusement of creative agencies such as ours, branding has become the logo design process, along with a color scheme and maybe a font face.
This shallow view of the branding process is potentially hazardous for many companies, specifically new startups. While printing a logo on custom water bottles, for example, might help advertise a business, it doesn’t develop the brand. For starters, it could trick a business owner into neglecting their own discovery process, something that is crucial for a truly recognizable and well-loved brand to grow and survive. Secondly, believing that your entire company’s culture and personality hinges on a singular font family or color can cause your company to feel misguided and lost.
A great brand has a voice. There is a personality and passion behind every decision, every asset, and every customer engagement. A brand separates itself beyond its product line or service to become something much bigger and impactful. In the simplest of terms, it tells a story.
In 1984, Apple did this in the form of what is now considered one of the greatest SuperBowl ad spots of all time. Their “1984” advertisement sent a direct message: “by introducing our product, we are breaking you free of the singular PC-dominated world, and you are an enlightened individual for taking part in this with us.” This ad will have encouraged viewers to get into the Superbowl and interested those viewers in sports while selling their product, maybe even encouraging people to research into Sportsbooks For US Players and other betting formats- to really get into the spirit of things.
Of course, Apple is still selling a computer here, but they didn’t need to show the product to make their point. They set a tone for their company culture as game-changers, industry-shakers, rebels.
A brand separates itself beyond it’s product line to become something much bigger and impactful.
Starting with a thorough brand development process helps discover who you are as people and the core mission that permeates into everything you do. It’s for this reason that we decided that all new clients going through our brand development and strategy processes would begin by filling out a self-discovery form. Answers to these questions help our designers with logo design concepts, of course, but they can also help with content creation, website development, and even print marketing deliverables. For example, if you were thinking about starting a company magazine it’s imperative that everything from the colours and fonts chosen, to the tone of voice used throughout is in line with your branding message. Having a magazine printed at a company such as Printivity, is a great way of connecting with your clientele but can also make sure that you’re reaching new audiences. There are many different methods of marketing that you should look to using and your website development is an important factor in your branding journey, so making sure that it is running efficiently plays a part in this too. Checking out help from companies such as Apica Systems alongside liaising with other needed companies can help this be achieved.
This brand continuity is seen every day in large brands that have clearly put in the hustle to establish an overall tone and personality. Wendy’s recent Twitter stardom shows they enjoy showing a playful, “troublemaker” vibe in their digital marketing. All they’re really doing is talking like a hungry 17-year-old would on Twitter, and that’s why it’s effective. This then filters through the entire customer experience. You don’t walk into a Wendy’s and expect to have to whisper, or be dressed formally – and the storefront is bold, vibrant, and youthful.
There are countless examples we could begin to unpack, so if you’re interested in some other great national case studies that we go back to for inspiration, get in touch with us and ask. We’ll be glad to share.
In the meantime, remember that a logo does not make a brand. I’d argue a mission statement doesn’t do that job either, although it’s a great cornerstone for success.