Defining the True Elements of Brand

By: Guest | July 30, 2012 | 

Today’s guest post is written by Brad Breininger.

A quick search for “buy logo” on the Internet will deliver a wide range of purveyors with prices such as $29, $38, and $59 – even some “starting at $5.”

Does anyone really believe that a $5 logo is the right solution for any business? Where do $5 logos even fit in the world of branding?

Startups and growing companies have a unique mandate – they must create an image, communicate their value proposition, and build awareness quickly.

With the rise in outsourced logo design, it seems as though branding has become simple, cost-effective, and nearly effortless. In these scenarios, companies can create a “brand” with little effort and minimal strain on capital. Why spend thousands if you can spend less than 60 bucks? 

Unfortunately, the enticement of “cheap and quick” and the monetization of the logo have blurred our perception of what a brand truly is. Many companies believe their brand is best represented by their catchy logo, witty tagline, and colour scheme. After all, it’s the first thing anyone sees, isn’t it?

Some organizations have become convinced a logo isn’t just part of their brand, it’s the foundation—everything after that is secondary. However, this can severely obstruct a company’s ability to establish a brand that is deeply integrated, meaningful, and malleable; moving it from an asset to a liability.

While the logo is extremely important to a brand, it can’t accomplish everything. It isn’t an indication of what an organization stands for, what it offers in value, or the promises it makes.

Most importantly, it doesn’t address the myriad of questions a potential customer or client might ask.

A brand’s true foundation includes:

  • Value
  • Experience
  • Vision
  • Trust

Together, they make up the brand story – which influences every decision, all content and positioning, and the company’s trajectory within the marketplace. But, how do you arrive at the brand story? How do you create a foundation that is strong and authentic – and resonates with all potential audiences? If it’s not a $5 logo, what is it?

There are three things we’ve defined everyone should rely on when delivering their brand:

  1. Defining intent;
  2. Identifying strong connections; and
  3. Creating a consistent experience.

We call this approach Business Creative™ because the mix of business objectives and creative thinking is at the heart of every brand. How a company creates that brand is remarkably important and it doesn’t start with the logo.

Brand covers everything from the attributes of the experience and the promise to customers to social media, PR, marketing, and messaging. Our worry is the monetization of the logo (and overall creative approach) will displace the importance of the brand and everything it represents – communicating value, helping the company stand out in the marketplace, and building trust to generate loyalty.

With market saturation and competition at an all-time high, there has never been a more important time to develop a strong, unique, and stable brand than now.

A great logo and creative can bring pizazz to your image and turn a few heads, but beyond that it doesn’t address the deeper, functional elements that will drive your personality, reputation, and bottom line. The temptation of a quick and inexpensive brand can place a company in an environment that has no clear direction or strategy. If that happens, it will be the worst $5 you’ve ever spent.

You owe it to your success to treat your brand as what it truly is: One of your most important business assets. And, invest accordingly.

Brad Breininger is principal and strategist at Zync in Toronto, an award-winning brand and marketing agency. Connect with him on TwitterLinkedInFacebook or on the Zync blog.