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The saying goes, what’s in a name? But equally we could ask what’s in a logo? Do they really matter, make a difference or carry any value?

Ask that question of the board of Nike, Coke, Apple and Virgin and I’m sure you’ll get a robust response. A defence of the importance of the brand, consistency, quality, what it conveys and why it is an asset with a balance sheet value. But your average business is not a multi billion dollar organisation and can often consider it’s brand as a utility item that every business carries – ticks a box but is not given a great deal of thought.

I see that as a mistake. Poor branding can have a serious and very detrimental affect on your business as customers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and discerning. If you don’t match up your service or product, which of course is excellent, with an equally strong brand it can detract from the package you’re trying to market.

So how do you know if your branding doesn’t measure up? That’s a very good question and one that is not easy to answer. My best advice is to ask a long standing customer, staff, friends – your small but trusted network. Give them licence to be honest, frank and if possible constructive in suggesting how you may improve it if indeed that is the conclusion.

A word of caution, before briefing a printer on the design created on the beer coaster or comp slip it would be worth consulting with a marketing professional. And that’s not an ever so unsubtle pitch for business but an observation borne out of seeing well meaning business owners falling fowl of branding basics.

Many factors need to be considered;

Colour – especially if you have international markets, certain colours can carry negative connotations
Wording – any words, phrases don’t cause offence
Imagery – you own the rights
Copycat – in your heady lightbulb moment beware the possibility that it’s been done before
Application – will it work on stationery, adverts, website, social media
Impact – will it work for you
Relevance – does it speak of your business rather than being something you “just like”

Just a few thoughts but worth considering – overall your brand must reflect positively on your business and not confuse or put off your customers. It must also be consistent and not subject to misuse or abuse by a member of staff using a non approved version either internally or externally. Consistency throughout a business is critical.

If you’ve been running with your brand a little while or even before you consider launching it can be useful to undertake some research. Ask your staff and/or customer/prospects what their view of your business is compared to competitor offerings – what characteristics do they attribute to your brand? The findings could be very interesting but use as a guide only, overall trust your instincts.

Don’t loose sight of the fact that this can be good fun and an opportunity to engage with employees who may have ideas and suggestions that are of great value. Have any examples of good or bad branding? Let’s hear about them.

David Laud david.laud@i2isolutions.co.uk

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What’s in a Logo?

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