For many small and medium business owners the words ‘brand’ and ‘logo’ are used interchangeably. It’s important to know what the differences are, and why simply having a nice logo isn’t enough to make your business standout – your business needs a brand.
A Nice Logo is Great But…
A well-designed and eye-catching logo is a useful thing to have for your business, and certainly part of what makes up a brand. However, a logo is only a small part of the identity of your company – that’s what a brand is really all about. A brand is about making, maintaining, and when needed, evolving an identity for your business.
A brand identity makes your company relatable, likeable, trustworthy, and consistent to your users. While having a recognisable logo will help with that, it’s only a tiny part of the equation. So here’s the question – what do you as a business need to do in order to generate a brand identity?
An important thing to remember is that a truly great brand guideline is not written in stone. A much more accurate analogy would be to say it’s written in slowly setting concrete – although it’s important to have an idea of the direction you’d like to take your company, the exact intricacies can be tweaked as you go. Getting complaints about your new tone of voice? Serious it up a little, swear less, or not at all. It’s an evolution that you’ll work out with your customers responses as you go.
It all starts with thinking about how you want your company to appear to your customers / clients / users / readers. Do you want to convey your expertise in a given field? Do you want people to think of your company as fun and quirky? There’s always a balance to be struck, and no one but you can know exactly what is the right ‘feel’ for your company. Choose a tone, and come up with ways you can consistently deliver it, keep what works, discard or change what doesn’t.
What Makes Up a Brand Identity?
A brand identity is made up of many aspects, and encompasses all of the details that form the personality of your business. Just like people, no 2 businesses are the same. Your brand should express what makes your company unique, and you can do it a huge variety of ways including, but certainly not limited to:
- Colours – you should be select carefully. Colours generate an emotional response, and each should be considered before using it on your logo or marketing material, and you should try to be consistent, or consistently inconsistent.
- Logo – elegant, loud, simple, extravagant, bold, subtle. Your logo should be easy to recognise, and say something about your company at a glance, including the use of colours, if any.
- Tone of voice – how you or your writers write makes an enormous difference, possibly the biggest, difference to how your company is perceived. Are you cold and formal? Or are you relatable, friendly, and helpful? There’s benefits and issues with both, but try to be consistent where you can.
- Fonts – try to use the same fonts across your digital presence. Font’s help to express a tone, and have a huge impact on how your words are interpreted. Don’t just go for a jazzy looking font, try to consider how changing the font make the words appear. Just like a hand-written letter, a font can drastically change how your writing ‘sounds’ to the reader.
- Imagery – always make sure that you’re using high-quality imagery that conveys your brand. Are you positioning your brand to speak to businesses? Use images that appeal to or are relevant to that audience.
They seem like small things to think about, but consistency is key. If you keep speaking to your customers through regular content and updates and your company’s personality will be compounded in the readers mind. A customer who thinks you are regularly helpful, and speak to them in a way they can appreciate, is a loyal customer – so keep it up.