I have often been told that getting a brand designed by a professional studio is too expensive. If you compare it to the figure a local print shop or your ‘friend of a friend’ is quoting then it probably does seem pricey, but chances are, you are not comparing apples with apples. It might help if I explain what branding is.
Firstly, I need to make it clear that a brand and a logo are very different things. A logo is the device at the centre of the branding – kind of like a signature or stamp to mark it as yours. A brand on the other hand is all of the little things that add up to create a perception of a company or product. It can include the corporate styling of stationery and promotional tools such as websites but it can also include the way a company does business on a day to day basis. For example, the appearance of staff, the way the telephone is answered and the choice of office building.
When you pay for a logo, that is all you get. Even if it is a great logo there is nothing there to tie all of the elements together and create a brand. As an example let’s say you own a cheese company and you have just had a logo designed. You are now going to need several items designed to get your business started such as packaging, signage, stationery, a website, newspaper advertisements and uniforms for staff. These items are going to go a long way towards creating a brand (a perception) of your new business in the public eye. Now if you were to give your logo to the packaging company; the signwriter; the web designers; the local paper and the uniform supplier and have them all individually design something for you, it is almost certain that you will end up with a mis-match, where the only consistent element is that everything has the logo on it in some shape or form. Definitely not a consistent brand.
On the other hand if you have a brand professionally designed you’ll get not only a logo but a corporate style that has been planned with your design needs in mind. This not only includes the design examples you are presented with but also a look and feel which you can base all facets of your business on. All of your promotional tools will have a consistent look which goes a long way in creating an image for your business. You’ll pay more than you would for just a logo but the value of what you get is far greater.
The key to good branding, once you have the initial design process out of the way, is through brand management. Poor management will often cause a company’s branding to fail and leave them feeling as if they have wasted
Brand management can be done on a number of levels. The most effective option is to leave all design and advertising work in the capable hands of your agency and trust them to use their skills and experience to build your brand and apply it consistently. Another option is to invest in a style guide. This is a document that can be passed onto any external suppliers as a guide of how to and how not to use your brand. It can be a fairly simple document outlining the variations of the brand and where to use them, colour specs and how to place the brand etc. or it can be more complex and include image samples, stationery templates and preferred usage on items such as uniforms and signage. Either way, if you choose to go with a style guide it is extremely important that you understand the document and make sure you check any design work you have done is checked against it. If something doesn’t follow the guide then it needs to be changed to protect your brand and maintain
A brand is not only the logo and corporate styling but also the perception everything your business does creates in the public eye. If you can’t get your advertising, signage and stationery to be consistent then you have no chance of creating a good brand. At Jack in the box we always encourage new businesses to get their branding right in the first place and to manage it well from that point on. If you would like some ideas on how to better manage your brand or if you require a style guide or new brand why not give us a call or drop us an email.