To a lot of people the term branding means creating a logo. To some it also means the act of putting your logo onto something like a t-shirt or a pen. If that’s what you thought then yes - and at the same time, no. Having a graphic designer create your logo is part of branding, as is communicating that logo to public view but really there should be a deeper conversation going on during the entire process.
You have to navigate a very complex road to build relationships with your audience. First you have to recognize that your audience isn’t just your customer base, sure that’s where the money is made so it’s an obvious place to focus. Your audience also consists of employees, vendors, media, competition and other businesses. Which are all uniquely important. I think we can agree that having a lot of customers does not mean you have a thriving and healthy business. That’s great that you have a wealth of customers. But are you sure that if new competition moves in that you’ll retain most of those customers? What if your new competition has lower prices? What if you have a small PR blunder, will your customers stay loyal? That is exactly the type of insurance that building a great brand can do for you. It keeps your business from becoming a commodity by developing a deeper relationship with your customers.
Our advice is this - Spend time figuring out your story. Determine if that story resonates with all the people who your brand touches. Figure out your values and be ready to stick to them even if it means turning down business. Spend time and make an investment in the graphic design behind your brand. You’ve got a story that resonates; it doesn’t make sense to create a generic logo that doesn’t convey that story, or your values. Typography is a very important, yet under-rated element in telling your story. Find a designer or consultant you like and respect to help maintain your brand. They should be someone with similar business values as you or they’ll never be able to invest themselves in the visual story telling that has to take place. Don’t just communicate your brand to your customers, communicate it to your employees too. Make sure they mirror the types of values your company holds.
I’ll leave you with this truism: Branding is important and it takes a lot of planning to do it right. Design is important and it takes a lot of careful decisions to do it right. Branding cannot happen without good design. “There is good design and bad design, there is no such thing as no design.”