SO WHAT IS A BRAND?
At startup, many entrepreneurs are looking for a visual identity for their fledgling companies and in doing so seek out design firms or freelance artists to create a “branding” package that will set them apart from the pack. They need a brand. they need an identity, an icon that can capture the vision and quality of their craftsmanship. They need a designs that when people see it they automatically think of their company, and unicorns and rainbows and midgets ridding ponies, and thats how it works right?
Many people are under the illusion that a logo or a design is a brand. A logo or design will add or detract from a companies brand, however, they are not the brand. In this short writeup I will explain what a brand is. A brand is so much more than a visual aid. Your brand is your company.
A BRAND IS NOT
A brand is not an icon or a picture. All of these famous logos are ones that most people will recognize, but look closely and focus in on what it is that you are thinking/ feeling about each company as you look at the icon. It is certain that you will most likely be able to attach feelings to each of these images and these feelings are determined by how you perceive the trustworthiness of the business behind the image. You will recall the service received or the quality of the product. So these images are not the brand, but a representation of the brand.
A BRAND IS
A brand is the perceived trustworthiness of a company, organization or product. Truth, design does factor into this perception to a degree but look back at each of the logos above. I guarantee that if you did not know any information on the company these logos would not be special. In fact some of them are just mediocre in their complexity and design. All of these logos will be perceived as great logos though, why? because they are the face of great companies with years of solid track record.
This brings me to the truth behind branding. Branding is the sum total of your work and passion, along with the quality of your services and product. Brand is trust. Brand is the feeling that people get about you at a glance and after knowing you for a while. Brand it the true character of your business. Do you put out amazing widgets or do you deliver a product that will work for a few days and will break.
My daughters love to buy “fake barbie” dolls at the dollar store. They cant resist they’re like moths to an electric light, or like me around chocolate. However in about five minutes after unwrapping the doll from its cheap plastic wrapper and clicking the shoes onto the nubs for feet, that doll is as good as trash. I mean the head is going to pop of faster than an Arizona road lizard. The product is cheap and bad and no one remembers the name or image that may have been on that packaging. We don’t remember, not because there wasn’t a logo on the packaging, but because the quality of the product does not warrant us remembering. Now, Barbie on the other hand we all know her. She is a cultural icon and we trust everything about her even down to our daughters emulating her dress and physique. Why? Trust my friends. Its all about trust. from day one, the makers of Barbie set out to make a high quality product and have over decades continued this ethic. Now people will forever equate them to quality and trust that their brand is good.
DOES MY COMPANY NEED A LOGO OR DESIGN?
As the owner of a design firm I am in love with quality design and I would never steer anyone away from it because it is how i derive a living and it can create a strong representation of your brand. However, we need to be aware that good design can only enhance your brand. Design can only add to the good vibes that people get when they deal with you. A good designer can take your companies mission, vision and ethos and come up with a logo that encapsulates all of who you say you are. But, if you are not able to live up to who you say you are, the design will just be expensive artwork that means nothing and has no value other than being pretty.
In short and in closing, The quality of products and services are your company’s brand. If you wish to create a reputable business which can be recognized simply by seeing a picture, then focus on the character and integrity of the products and services you provide, and then you will have a solid brand.