When you think of a brand, what do you think of?
In many cases, the first images which popped into your head are probably of the most popular brand logos you know. Apple, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Amazon, TikTok, Starbucks.
And many “creative agencies” have made huge amounts of money producing logos for companies. Some will also advise that in order to improve business performance, you should “refresh your brand” and then build “brand awareness” by making sure millions of people would see this brand logo everywhere.
This was the world of corporate advertising for decades. It was so successful that they managed to convince the world that they were the true “creative companies”.
Their annual awards conference in Cannes, France is even called the “Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity”.
However, their greatest success was convincing almost all of us about their greatest lie.
A logo is not a brand.
A colour palette, signature font and uniform is not a brand.
That is all a lie.
A company or individual’s brand is what people think about them and say about them when they are not there.
It is also therefore what a consumer feels about themselves when they engage with the company.
For example, high-end luxury fashion companies want to create an aura of unattainability by pricing their products so high that only “rich” people can afford them. Therefore, people perceive that by purchasing those products, it represents not only that they are rich, but have the social status of other rich people.
It is a perceived value judgement. I have seen many people with original Louis Vuitton handbags who are not rich.
They might have bought something which clearly displays the logo, but it is not the logo which is creating the value.
In other situations, some companies have realised that they needed to change the messages that would attract their ideal future customer, and as a result changed their brand messaging, upsetting people who now felt the new messaging was not speaking to them anymore. This can sometimes be a smart strategic choice.
So what is my point in all of this?
When we start developing new innovations, and especially entrepreneurs about to start new businesses, one of the most tempting activities to spend a lot of time on is to think about the “branding”.
And in many of these cases, people spend a huge amount of time trying to design the perfect logo.
They spend a huge amount of time trying to choose the perfect font for the website.
Or what the colour scheme should be.
And this is time that they don’t invest into actually developing the business or innovating.
In extreme cases, the entire focus of the founding team is on launching the brand, without actually having anything to sell or understanding what people need.
Here is the secret.
Your logo is not going to determine how successful your idea is.
It can change when it needs to.
Just look at what logo Starbucks started off with originally, and what it evolved into:
Your brand is what people think of your company and what it does for them.
So stop wasting too much time at the beginning trying to get the logo perfect.
And if someone comes up to you and tells you that the solution to improving business performance is to redesign the logo or brand, then it is probably because that is what would benefit them the most.
Spend the time actually innovating. That is how to make the idea successful.
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