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. 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 it’s 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.”
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 it can also help with content creation, website development, and even print marketing deliverables.
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.