The Branding Bulletin Issue 1: Why having just a logo, just won't cut it

In the first issue of our Branding Bulletin, we tell you why having a logo doesn't mean you have a brand.

September 23, 2021

Okay, so you've got a business. Or an idea for a business. You've got some interest from potential customers (or a legion of loyal fans already), a shiny new laptop to do all those business things on and a tiny cactus placed lovingly on your desk to create the perfect environment to take on the world. Now all you need is a logo right?

Every business needs one after all. And what luck! You've found a website with a load of designers on there that'll do you one for a fiver. Or your mate's nephew who does those logo things on that Photoshop, he'll do it for you for you, no problem. Or what about Canva? That's free isn't it? Can you not just knock one up on there?

Now I personally don't know your mate's nephew. He might be a fine and talented graphic designer, and I'm sure there's every chance he'll produce a lovely logo for you. I've known a few, rather successful business owners get by with their lovingly self-designed Canva creations. And I'm sure there's plenty of eager graphic designers on sites like Fiverr who will be more than happy to give you a logo for a pittance. What I do know is, these bargain solutions will only get you so far. I'm bound to say that of course, as the creative director of a branding agency, but I've seen time and time again, so many amazing businesses being held back by their lack of decent, fully fledged branding.

I say 'fully fledged' because so many businesses wrongly assume a single solitary logo, quickly thrown together by the aforementioned nephew is enough. It really isn't. A logo does not a brand make.

Think about any of your favourite brands. They're 'brands' because they're far more than just a logo. Take the brilliant challenger bank Monzo. Yes they have their multicoloured M and Monzo wordmark, but they're also, arguably better known for their Hot Coral debit cards and their informal, personality filled tone of voice. Its part of the reason why they've rocketed to 5 million customers in only a couple of years - a distinctive signature colour that radiates from folks' wallets becoming a desirable symbol for new customers to identify with alongside an array of consistent, fun and quirky design assets, key visual pieces and that all important tone of voice wrapping everything together. Its a strategy that's worked incredibly well for Monzo and it's no suprise. According to Frobes, colour improves brand recognition by up to 80%. In the same article, Forbes claimed that presenting a brand consistently across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%.

Its all of these extra bits of glitter and garnish that add emotion, character and identifiability to your business. A logo alone can't do that.

It's why we will never just design you a logo and leave it at that. It's also why you'll pay more for our services than you would if you went with one of these budget options. There's a reason why you can get a logo for a fiver on one of those sites. It's because that is all you're getting. You're not going to have any of the other vital things you'll need to create a well rounded brand, that's consistent across all your customer touch points. You're also not getting any of the obsessive research and strategy that's so vital to building a successful brand. As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.

When we create a brand for a client, the logo design itself is just one of many steps in the brand building process.

From our branding bootcamps, workshops and discovery calls with you and your team, where we explore in detail just exactly what your brand is, what you aspire for it to be and most importantly who your audience are, we then begin to build a brand environment around the logo concepts, thinking carefully about all of the points at which your customers or clients interact with you and deciding how best we can represent your brand to them in those situations. We think about everything from the language and tone of voice used in marketing campaigns, internal documents and online, through to how your social feed and even your invoices will look. We thoroughly research your market, we figure out what makes your competitors competitive and we get to know your audience inside out before we even put pencil to paper.

We'll create logo concepts that can be dissected, morphed and changed up and used to form backgrounds for documents and presentations, or key graphics to punctuate your social posts. We'll think about how these will work on websites and digital platforms too. What you end up with is a suite of consistent, coherent assets that continually reinforce your overall brand image, feel and style. We even work with incredible copywriters and social media wizards to nail every single aspect of your brand, ensuring you maintain that consistency and recognisability everywhere.

For example, take a look at the branding we designed for the UK's Local TV network. The main 'frame' icon in the various channel logos is used in a variety of creative ways on screen, in sales documents, pitch presentations, staff ID badges and online. It forms the basis of backgrounds for TV graphics, is used as a frame for images and video on the website and reinforces the brand ideology, that Local TV helps to put its local areas and the people it serves 'in the frame'. We supplied the team at Local TV and CBS with hundreds of assets that provide an almost limitless array of creative opportunities, all whilst still being unmistakably related to the masterbrand.

ACT Copywriting is another fine example of a business, who for many years was being represented by a logo the founder, Alex Thompson had knocked up on Canva. ACT now has a stunning, fully fledged brand scheme and their socials, lead generators and website all look consistent, striking and thoroughly on brand.

Once we've produced all of this, we'll then pop everything into an easy to use yet thorough brand guidelines document that solidifies and records exactly what your brand is, who it is and how all of the various elements work together to communicate your message. Its your branding after all and we want you to be able to use it to its full advantage.

Investing in a proper, fully fledged brand scheme is one of the most important investments any business can make. I urge any business owner to not compromise on branding in the same way you wouldn't compromise on quality for any other essential bit of equipment or service for your company. If you're a coffee shop, you aren't going to compromise on the quality of your roast or the reliability of our espresso machine. These things afterall are vital for your success. The same thinking should apply to your branding.

Now I fully understand, as a founder and small business owner myself, particularly at the beginning when starting out in business, budgets are super tight and often you have to make sacrifices and invest in the essentials to get off the ground and leave off the less tangible stuff until a later date. But I can guarantee that investing in branding with an agency that's obsessed with all things 'brand' at the start will reap dividends long into the future. You will appear more professional, more established and most importantly more desirable from the off. Potential customers will trust you more and you'll already be in a position to grow as soon as you're able to. I've seen and worked with so many businesses that have gone cheap with their branding at the start, only to fork out again a short while later when it becomes apparent their lonely logo isn't enough.

So next time you're looking for a logo, consider whether a cheap and cheerful solitary logo will be enough. As your business grows and your world domination plans come to fruition, you're going to wish you had invested in a kick ass, full fat brand scheme.

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