Over the past ten years, we’ve had the privilege of working with dozens of companies to build their brand from the ground up. We’ve also helped many businesses, including several 100+ year-old companies, navigate a rebranding process to better represent current beliefs. And although we love all the work we do, we have to admit that branding projects hold a special place in our hearts.
From the outside looking in – and from the looks of our online portfolio – these projects consist of some pretty nice logos. But what many don’t know is that there is a lot of work that has to happen before the logo design process begins.
Because every color, every font choice, every thing about a logo communicates something about the brand it represents. And If we don’t understand the brand, we cannot develop an authentic logo. Herein lies our work.
Branding is Not Logo-Making
You will hear people interchange the words branding and logo, but make no mistake – branding is not the same as logo-making.
In fact, branding is the promise you make to your customers. It is a set of emotions and perceptions that you intentionally cultivate around your business, which you constantly communicate to your customers through a series of visual and verbal cues (including a logo).
Branding is important because it identifies your products or services, distinguishes you from competitors, and creates a persona that your customers can connect with. In other words, it’s not just the physical products or services your business provides; it’s also the emotions your audience feels when thinking about your business – emotions that you can help to create.
Ask yourself: What do people say, think, and feel about your business? That is your brand and you have the ability to form that impression.
Brand Discovery Process
In order to create a logo that uniquely represents our client, we need to go through a brand discovery process. There are many different ways to do this, and if you search “branding process” or “brand blueprint,” you will find a boatload of tools and processes – and even more jargon.
To bridge the gap between our expertise and our client’s vision for their brand, we created a simple worksheet that we ask our clients to complete before our initial discovery meeting. It is based on the following three-step approach to building a brand blueprint; it consists of determining your brand story, brand niche, and brand image.
You hear it all the time – you need to tell your brand story. What does that mean? Where do you start? We choose to start with the 5 Ws – Who, What, Where, When, and Why. If you’re feeling adventurous, go ahead and throw in How. Now, this seems pretty straightforward and relatively easy – but the Why is what gets people stuck. We like to talk about the What, but the Why can be harder to articulate. But it is usually the Why that is the most compelling part of a brand. Give it some thought.
Watch Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why”
Also referred to as differentiation, this has to do with what you do well – and hopefully better or different than your competitors. Talking points around the brand niche are who are your customers; what are their needs; how does your product or service meet those needs; and who are your competitors. From here, we piece together the beginnings of a brand positioning statement.
Yes, the logo is in this category, but we are not there yet. First, we must discuss your brand’s personality, tone, and messaging, perhaps a tagline; your brand’s beliefs and ethics; and your customer service strategy. It’s only after reviewing all of the information on the worksheet that we will begin discussing possible logo designs.
If you have a question about branding or would like to learn more about our services, please email or call us at 320.257.2242.
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