Branding and Brand Management
Why Companies Pick Bad Logos
Typically the Marketing Head or a CxO decides that there is a need to upgrade their branding. No one asks why it needs a change and there should be significant and measurable reasons to do so. Perhaps you’ve expanded beyond your current industry and need a brand that encompasses all the new lines of your business. Perhaps your company has outgrown a dated design and need something more in keeping with the times. Perhaps there is a complete renaming of your organization due to a merger or acquisition. Sometimes the trigger is simply moving to a new office and since you have to update the stationery anyway… Once the decision is made, what usually happens is that a few companies or designers are interviewed and their portfolios reviewed. Based on the taste of those reviewing the portfolios, they pick a designer based on what they liked. This is the wrong way to go about it on so many levels.
What is the purpose of branding? To create an instant emotional recall in a consumer that equates with the values of your company. Who’s opinion really matters? Potential customers.
When we were working with a slightly crazy CEO who did not understand the nuances of design, he made a good point. He wanted to show our top three designs to his best customers for their opinions and they picked a solid logo. Although it wasn’t our favorite, it was exactly what our clients felt when seeing it — one said, “The colours (a rather dark blue and a medium red) remind me of my power suit that I wear when I go to court.” Another stated, “It shows that you examine bits and bytes and the one dot in a different color is the one piece that could win us our case. We want that level of detail from a computer forensics firm.” Done. He was right. Let your customers have a say. If your branding is not translating to potential customers, the logo has failed.
Maintaining Brand Guidelines Across the Company
Most organizations do not create a formal set of branding guidelines and templates, but it is in your best interest to get this professionally done. Every client-facing document should reflect positively on your brand. Companies pay a fortune to create and defend their brand. The smaller the company, the worse the overall branding will typically be. A bad logo, used inconsistently, in numerous sizes and colors, different fonts for different documents, and poorly designed documents and forms will make your company look sloppy and unprofessional, so spend a few bucks to get something done well.
We can develop a formal set of branding guidelines that will show employees how to use your logo appropriately and what is and what is not acceptable use. Make this document available to all employees. As part of their on-boarding at your company, introduce this document and processes for using the brand. Their computers should have limited options for fonts and have all of your templates loaded up. Some companies have intranets or online storage where the latest versions of these documents are stored. This is ideal if your documents get updated regularly. Ensure that you have internal audits of documents to ensure adoption of all templates by all employees. For important documents, have them cleared by your Marketing department to ensure adherence to the brand guidelines.
I’ve seen newsletters go out to clients in COMIC SANS. All professional designers are completely offended by that typeface and IT MUST DIE.
Expanding Your Branding
Your brand is everything that comes in contact with an employee, a client, a prospect, the press and more. Your brand should extend to how you design your work environment, using brand colors to reinforce your branding. When we worked for a telecom group of companies, we had several companies occupying different floors of the same building. Each floor reflected the brand of the company within through paint color and other finish choices. Uniforms and other cool stuff for employees (like hoodies, travel mugs or sports team uniforms) should also reflect the brand.
Prices start at $10,000 for a complete brand audit, competitive analysis, new logotype options, tagline and brand guidelines. Templates and stationery designs can be developed at additional cost. To learn more about how ibuildcompanies.com can upgrade your logo and develop a brand strategy for your company, email us today.