Do THIS before even considering your logo design
If a guest asked for toast, would you butter a piece of bread and serve it up to them? No way - the ‘toasting’ is the essence of toast, and anything else is simply a job half done. The same applies to your brand. Skipping straight to designing your business logo is equal to spreading the butter straight onto bread...it’s ineffective and lacks the ‘essence’.
The truth is, your company needs to work on its brand strategy and logo design comes into play at the end of that journey. The logo is strategically designed based on what appeals to your target market. It’s a product of your unique selling point. It’s a culmination of everything that makes up your company’s core.
No one’s doubting that logo design is fun. But if you don’t drill down into the strategy specifics, that logo you’ve so meticulously designed is unlikely to represent your brand.
As branding guru, Alina Wheeler, puts it: “Brand is the promise, the big idea, the expectations that reside in each customer’s mind about a product, service or company. Branding is about making an emotional connection.”
But before you get started with brand strategy, there are some big questions that you need to know the answer to.
1. What's your big idea?
You need to get to know your company’s product/service/offering better than you know your best friend. When you’re living something day in, day out, it’s easy to get caught up in the details without stepping back and understanding the marketable basics of your company’s premise.
Take some time to reflect on your ‘bigger picture’ brand offering. For example, Steve Jobs’ big idea was to ‘get a computer in the hands of everyday people’.
Sit down with a coffee or take a walk and think: What’s your company’s purpose? Why are you doing what you’re doing?
Take a breather and remind yourself what your brand’s offering is all about. It’s a great starting point before you begin to delve into the details.
2. What are your unique selling points?
‘Unique’ is a much thrown around marketing buzzword these days. It’s pretty hard to be truly unique, but you need to think about your company’s features and benefits that set you apart from the competition, as having an edge is a powerful commodity.
A USP (Unique Selling Point) represents what your business stands for. Many companies dive straight in and try to do everything the best and risk becoming a ‘Jack of All Trades, Master of None’. As marketing expert, Neil Patel, explains in this article, ‘When you attempt to be known for everything, you don’t become known for anything’.
So what’s the answer? You need to hone in on the specifics. Don’t be afraid to alienate some customers by specialising and speaking to a specific demographic. By being true to your product or service and not trying to cover all bases, you will be far more effective.
Consider the following:
Is your company’s offering aimed at large or small organisations?
Are you a premium or low cost brand?
Do you offer any services that stand out like free shipping, same day delivery or money back guarantees?
Have you innovated a product or service that has never been done before?
What will your business be known for? What makes it unique? You can’t be successful by being known for everything, it will have the opposite effect and your business will fade out from your audience’s vision.
Be bold and get specific, it’s the only way.
3. Is there a demand?
I’ve seen many companies have a big idea, then dive straight into the business head first without actually stopping to consider do people actually want or need this?
It might seem like a basic question, but the true answer is going to make or break your business venture.
This is where you need to let your inner-investigator loose. The main mistake businesses make is thinking everyone will love their big idea just as much as they do. The hard truth is, it’s possible, but not a given.
You’ll need to explore:
Is the market saturated? How much money is spent on the industry in your area? Is there room for your business?
Will people want it? As Brad Sugars puts it in this Entrepreneur article: “If you're thinking of providing day care for dogs or a facility where people can cook a week's worth of meals in a group setting, will anyone care? Or if you're developing a new online service for day traders, is it something they can't live without?”
What’s the competition doing? Analyse your market and look at what they do and what they do poorly. Then you can make sure that your offering is going to deliver something different that will entice customers to try you rather than an already established business.
This helpful article from the British Library offers in-depth advice on thorough market research for your business.
4. Does it solve a problem?
The true emotional connection between your brand and customers is going to be formed by problem solving. If you can bridge your customers’ problems with the products and services that you provide, you’ll be on the road to success.
The first question you need to ask yourself before you go any further is: is my business genuinely solving a problem? If the answer is no, you’re unlikely to progress.
According to research by CB Insights, 42% of start-ups fail because there is a lack of market need for their product. It’s not solving anything for them.
Everyone loves their own ideas. But the reality is that your idea might not even be a desired thing in the real world.
The solution? Ask around. Carry out surveys, ask the social media masses and get as much honest feedback from trusted sources as you can muster up. An objective opinion might hurt in the short term, but it can result in some much-needed tweaks to your brand in the long term.
5. Why does the idea get you out of bed in the morning?
Lastly, what inspires you about your brand? What drives you to make your company work? Why are you passionate about your business?
If you can translate this into words, you can then implement it into the inner-core of your brand and make this visible for potential customers.
Why does your organisation exist? And why should anyone care?
A genuine passion in what you do is infectious.
As Simon Sinek explains in this Ted Talk, ‘people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it’.
Let’s look at Apple again. Their mission statement is “bringing the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software and services.”
Now, the repercussion of Apple’s branding is that we are happy to extend our trust and loyalty across any of Apple’s offerings, be it hardware or digital products. We happily buy an iPhone, a Macbook, Apple Music and Apple TV services, because we believe in the company not individual products.
Reconnect with why you love your company - your audience needs to know that.
Having these points clarified before you start helps branding studios like ours make the most of your project and allow us to give you that leg up, with branding, that will help you stand out from amongst your competitors.
Remember, branding is a comprehensive process that’s a balance of strategic thinking and meaningful aesthetics. Don’t skip straight to the logo, delve deeper and kick start your branding from an informed and targeted vantage point. It’s the difference between making it or breaking it.