When it comes to the efforts you put into corporate identity, branding and web marketing, are you conveying a truly cohesive message? Possibly overlooked and often misunderstood, your logo, identity, and brand make up the visual and emotional perceptions of your business and, while they are all deeply interrelated, they should not be confused with each other. Unless you’ve given a thorough consideration to this, it’s also possible your overall web marketing efforts might convey a, sort of, fragmented message.
To help you understand the distinctions between these, let me ask you 3 simple questions…
- Have you developed a logo that clearly and effectively represents your business?
- Is your identity consistent throughout the various media you use?
- Does your business brand hold a perception that’s in alignment with your core values?
It’s these distinctions you should understand if you want to develop a solid image of your company.
In even simpler terms:
- Your brand is the perceived (emotional) corporate image as a whole, or, put another way, the gut feeling your market holds of you.
- Your identity consists of the various sensory aspects, that form and represents the brand.
- Your logo consists of either a typeface, avatar, or icon (or a combination) that aligns with, and conveys the overall brand and identity of a business in its simplest form.
Synergy is a Beautiful Thing
Most businesses, when starting out, think that their logo is what will distinguish them from their competition, however, there’s much more to it than this. A logo, in-and-of-itself, is not your brand. Nor is it your identity. Logo design, identity design and branding all have different roles, that together, form the image of a business or product. And, it’s this synergistic effort, in all mediums and at all times which is what conveys a ‘solid’ brand. If you want to build a solid identity for your business, understanding these distinctions, first, will allow you to fully conceptualize and articulate your message, and then develop a solid foundation from which to build upon. How do you do this?
Define, Determine, Consider
In a nutshell, you should begin by:
- Defining your core values and purpose for existing by way of your mission statement and then, your positioning statement and tagline.
- Determine what mediums you’ll primarily use to convey your message.
- Give consideration to what you like and don’t like from a design perspective.
This will give a clear and concise direction from which you can develop your overall brand and then you’ll be ready to clearly articulate your vision. This is crucial because your logo and identity development hinges upon this vision. Unfortunately, this is where many businesses fail to put their time or investment and why they don’t stand out from their competition. Why is this important?
You’re NOT Just Another Face in the Crowd
One of the easiest ways to differentiate yourself from your competition is by having a unique
and memorable visual identity. Your logo stands alone in-so-much as it is the unique and identifiable mark that no matter where it shows up, whether in black and white or in color, represents your brand (think Nike). Without this, you won’t stand out, and you won’t leave a lasting impression. The additional sensory elements that compliment your logo, like colors, typeface, a well-crafted tagline or jingle, for instance, further enhance your overall identity. So, where do you start?
Mean What you say!
What makes a logo stand out is its ability to convey the quality of what it symbolizes and not the other way around. Logos identify, not explain. In a nutshell, what a logo means is just as important, or even more than, what it looks like. Colors too, evoke certain perceptions, and therefore, can and should be used with intention and purpose. Putting this all together, then, is where you might need some help and too, why, or where many businesses drop the ball. Why?
Everyone’s a Designer
I would never begin to think I’m a mechanic because I know how to put gas in my car or change a tire, and I certainly wouldn’t think I’m an electrician because I know how to screw in a lightbulb, however, when it comes to graphic design, everyone thinks they’re a designer and could dip their toes in if they wished. Why is this? Well, I think we can agree, and appreciate, that as humans, we are all creative in our own right and each of us have an individual sense of style. But beyond that, maybe it’s because ever since we picked up that first box of crayons we were told by well-meaning folks what creative and talented beings we were, and, well, we believed them! As adults, we continue to believe, and often are validated by our ‘style’ and therefore, we place a certain level of value on it. And we should. However, like any skilled trade, if we haven’t studied our craft, we might not be as adept as we might think.
Is it Better to Leave it to the Professionals?
This is where the adage, “If you want it done right, you better do it yourself” might not work. In fact, as a designer, I’d say, if you want it done right the first time, you’re better off leaving it to someone who is truly experienced and therefore, will save you much time, effort and possibly, lost revenue in the long run. Hiring someone who understands the principles of good design, along with identity branding, will not only develop a unique, custom image/package to represent your vision, but will likely continue to be there when future needs arise in order to serve and protect your brand.