Let’s start by explaining the difference between getting a logo designed for your company and hiring a brand strategist. If you’re starting your own company and need a nice image for your business cards, website and social media profiles, you can get a logo designed on a rather small budget from a variety of places that bid out the service. It’s a rather templated process where you don’t even have to speak with a person to get fast results. If quick and dirty will do, then these places are the right fit at the right price.
More often, brands need a bulletproof result. Educated design decisions can result in a big impact on the bottom line. Our clients have seen anywhere from 8% to 30% increase in conversions and brand retention, respectively, just from a rebranding effort. In fact, 97% of first impressions are determined by design.
Those with some brand experience with luxury and legacy names have been through the fire in terms of brand training. Working with names like Range Rover, NADA and Altria, we’ve learned first hand why colors and typefaces are the way they are. There are very good reasons for many small, but important branding decisions. We take those lessons to heart and apply them to every new logo and guideline we create.
Most of the time, we start with a survey of those familiar with the brand, or industry. We ask the “why” questions and get an objective look at the associations people have with images, colors, etc. This can be tough for company insiders to do, especially if they have a personal or emotional connection with the brand or company. Being an outside third party makes the process of connecting what the audience wants and what the company offers easier and faster.
Positioning your brand means putting it into the context of your industry, your competitive landscape and your audience’s perspective. It means taking into consideration how the landscape looks with and without your brand in it. Trifold brochures are mostly a marketing piece of the past, but you can still find them at rest stops along major freeways. Most of those brochure racks hold dozens of brochures for companies vying for your vacation dollars. However, how often does each company envision their brochure in that context when designing theirs?
Developing a brand, or redeveloping it, requires three things to be successful: research (surveys, etc.), process (clearly defined and communicated steps), and talent (design ability). Not every agency has all three capabilities. Look at previous work, but then also look at thought leadership content (Tweets, blog posts, etc.) before deciding which one to go with.
Branding efforts like these can also be applied to events or to commemorate significant milestones. As veteran creative director for Sutter Group, John Cassella explains: “When you take a logo that’s been around for decades, you don’t try to change what it is when you place it into event branding materials. You have to honor the brand and make the material match the quality.”
Keeping logo designs consistent across social platforms is important as well, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun when the need calls for it. However, it’s better to know what the rules are before you break them.