The concept of a brand and a logo are often conflated, and it’s not particularly surprising why. The origin of the idea of brand comes from cattle rustlers and how they would brand their livestock, marking it as their own. A logo often represents the first thing we think of when we imagine a brand, but that’s about as far as the definition of logo can go. It’s merely an image that you want your customers to associate with your product. One way to think of a brand then, is to imagine it as the thoughts, ideas, and feelings a consumer experiences when they see a logo. Your logo might be how people identify you, but your brand becomes your identity. In simplest terms your brand is the product you provide to your customers, and how they perceive the service you provide.
Building a brand is pivotal to sustainable competition in any market, and there are many facets to developing a strong brand identity. Some of your first steps in building your brand revolve around making sure you have a determined sense of purpose for your business. Let your mission statement guide your branding efforts. Branding that matches your mission statement resonates with consumers, allowing you to continue the tricky process of building trust. You never want to put conflicting messages out to the public. Make sure all your branding resonates with your ideologies as a company.
Researching your audience as you develop your brand identity is pivotal. If you already have a customer base, make sure your branding doesn’t conflict with the business they initially perceived. If you are looking to build out your customer base, research the needs of different markets you want to target and look at other advertising and branding campaigns that have worked in those markets. Developing a long-lasting relationship remains the goal of any branding exercise as you build out your company’s impression. Be thoughtful and precise in your exploration of your advertising targets and why you focus on them.
A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of your product can be pivotal to determining a strong brand. The SWOT process allows you to choose the characteristics of products that are strongest and weakest. Focusing your branding around the areas of strength in your SWOT will keep you focused on creating a brand that highlights and elevates the best pieces of what you are producing.
How will you know when you’ve built a compelling brand identity? Well, it will take years, but the surest way to measure your brand identity is to perform surveys to determine your company’s credibility and trust. It’s going to take time, but if people can know just by seeing your logo that you are both relevant and trustworthy, it means you’ve done an admirable job of building a brand slowly and steadily. Brands like Coca-Cola or McDonald’s grew into iconic imagery by creating a product people trusted and developing a unique brand to represent their product. While very few companies can be the dominant force in their markets like McDonald’s and Coke, you can certainly reach a point where your company logo evokes your brand and reputation, either locally or even potentially nationally and internationally.