This year, this blog and the corresponding Brand Buzz radio show on 96.5 KPEL are going back to the basics of branding.
We’ve been blogging and sharing our branding knowledge with the world since 2001 and we’ve amassed a staggering library of information. We’ve carved out a niche for ourselves on the web and in our region as branding experts and we’re proud to share our specialized expertise with anyone who’s willing to learn. Now, we’re kicking off the New Year with a new focus: The basics. How does branding work and what does it even mean? That’s what we’ll be exploring this year, so we hope you’ll subscribe, stop by, tune in, and ask questions. And feel free to dig through our archive of posts. There’s so much to learn and we’ve got enough info to keep you reading for days.
So where’s the best place to start the conversation about brands? Let’s talk about logos.
LOGOS. THINK OF THEM AS TIMESTAMPS.
Where are you right now?
I mean, where do you work? What do you look like? Who are you with?
Where are you in your life right now?
If you’re like most of us, you think about your place in life — the state you’re in — constantly. But what if there was a way to capture your place in time and distill it into a single icon.
That’s the function of a logo.
Millennials have something no other generation has had at its disposal: the ability to document everything on a permanent, global platform. You can post a photograph, a brief description of where you are and what you’re doing, and share it. Bam! That’s who you are right now and everyone can see it. But businesses aren’t people. They need something to hold onto. And most importantly: They need something others can hold onto, too.
Logos are probably the most easily illustrated and recognizable aspects of a brand. In fact, most people would confuse a company’s logo with its “brand.” It’s a common mistake ands we’re not upset with you if you thought so too. Your logo is a visual mark that represents your brand. It allows people to find you, remember you, and differentiate you from a billion other businesses.
Some people believe changing or replacing their existing logo is tantamount to divorce. Trust us, it’s not. You shouldn’t see your logo as a permanent symbol that’s superglued to everything you own. You should see it as a timestamp: where you are and what you believe right now. And it should evolve as you do.
But won’t that hurt my marketing? Customer loyalty? Short- and long-term sales?
Not if you handle the PR and customer relations right. Send out a letter to your most valued customers, announcing the news and reassuring them that you’re still the same company with a new look. Maybe even send out a press release announcing the news to the community. Keep your people informed that changing for the better.
The biggest companies in the world update their logos as needed, without a predestinated shelf life. That’s because they understand a logo design reflects redirection, age, and often ushers in a new brand era. But before abandoning your existing logo entirely, maybe just consider a facelift first. Cleaning, polishing, and streamlining your logo may very well be all you really need.
So take a look at your logo. Is it indicative of where you are? Does it represent you well? Accurately?
POST SCRIPT: We enjoy a logo redesign project because it lets us look at the company from a very base visual level. Developing a great logo is a strange mix of art, science, and psychology. Through color, form, type, symbolism, texture, shape, and composition we have to convey the essence of an organization. It’s always a fun challenge, and if we’re tasked with a thorough rebranding or a marketing campaign, the new logo is often the base for the rest of the creative that follows. Below are a few logos we developed in 2014.