When it comes to branding, many companies think the first step in creating their brand is designing a logo. While a logo is a very important part of your brand (it is, after all, one of the first things people will see of your brand), it’s not the most important part of your brand.
Branding design vs. logo design
Think of your logo as a symbol or graphic representation of your company that should incorporate the essence of your brand. When someone looks at your logo, they should get a snapshot of what your company is all about.
Your logo is just an element of your overall brand, but it’s not your entire identity of your company. The identity of your company encompasses all the pieces of what your brand is and the experience each customer and user will have with your company. These are things such as the content, website copy, colors, fonts selection, images, design of all your marketing collateral and advertisements, right down to how your social media looks.
Your brand is so much more than a logo!
Beyond the logo: Why branding matters
The look and feel of your brand is it's visual personality. Your vision, tone, and brand values are represented in how your brand looks and resonates with your audience. An example may be a playful brand that chooses fun fonts and colors (such as purple and teal) to be warm and inviting, while a more serious brand chooses neutral tones (navy, grey) to convey security and trust.
As you create your brand through the visual look and feel via a brand book, all of these design features will come to life on your website, social media channels, emails, marketing collateral, products, service invoices – anything that goes from your company to your customer, it’ll have your branding on it. Make it all feel familiar.
This is why your brand is so much more than just your logo. Yes, your logo goes on all those items as well! But the essence of your brand comes out in every customer facing (and internal facing) piece. When your logo can’t be front and center, the rest of your brand work will identify what your company is all about.
The hard truth: Not everyone is going to resonate with your brand (and that’s okay!)
While your brand is the piece that helps customers and users resonate with your brand, it doesn’t ensure that every single human on this planet is going to resonate with your brand. Brands are personalities just like people. Some people love certain tones, colors, imagery, and content and others just won’t.
You can’t please everyone, and therefore, you shouldn’t try. The age ol’ rule of marketing is that you can’t be all things to all people. The best thing you can do is be true to your company and your audience, know your customer, and design a brand that speaks to that.
Your brand is the face of your company, so be your authentic self! If you try to be all things to all people, you’ll miss out on your real audience. Be comfortable knowing that and letting your brand shine bright!
Your branding checklist:
Create a brand mission – Why your company is here to do what you do
Write your brand story – Who are you? How did your company come to be? Think of it as an elevated “About Us” page. A shortened version will be used for your social media bios
Brand values – 3-5 words that describe what your core values are as a company. For example, they could be “Integrity, eco-friendly, customer-focused”. The more specific, the better
Your value proposition – One or two sentences stating what you offer the world (and customers). This should be what makes you stand out from your competition. What makes them want to trust you and buy from you
Brand voice and tone – What do you want your brand to sound like to the public?
Brand colors, font, and logo – Create a mood board and make sure it matches up to your brand values and voice
Brand photos – Hire a photographer to have nice images of your products, your team, you, and anything else that is going to be on your website. Use stock image if you have to but real images are better
Email signature, business cards, all customer facing platforms – make sure these items match everything else listed above
Brand your social media profiles - Make everything look and feel like your brand and website
It’s important to not skip any branding exercises. Sit alone and brainstorm your brand, work with a mentor, create them with your team or business partner, or hire a professional agency to help you. Once you have a solid brand foundation, you’ll use it for years to come.