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Why your ‘Logo’ is only the tip of your ‘Branding’ iceberg

by Kelly Thomas |

So - you’ve got the brilliant idea, the new Instagram account and the IKEA desk set up in your garden shed. Now what? A logo? Sounds sensible. But ask yourself, why do you actually want a logo?

A. That’s just what businesses do, isn’t it?
B. I’m ordering business cards and they’d look better with something on the back.
C. I want something to visually represent my business’ services and values.

Whatever your answer, we’re sorry to burst your bubble, but having 'just a logo' will do next to nothing to help your business. Expecting a logo to carry the weight of representing your business is roughly equivalent to expecting a new shower curtain to transform the entire look and feel of your home.

The common misconception with logos is that they are pretty much the same thing as having a brand, and that is just not true. Logo or no logo, if you have a business you have a brand.

A brand is 'the sum experience of every touch point your customer has with your product.' - The Path Forward

From your logo to your website usability, from your phone manner to the quality of your product. Your brand is every single way your customer interacts with your business, and if it’s not all consistent with every other element, it confuses your customer and pushes them away into the hands of your competitors.

For example, Apple is indisputably one of the most successful brands on the planet, and Steve Jobs was notorious for his commitment to brand consistency. Jobs famously created his own shade of beige for the Apple II after turning down all 2000 shades offered to him by the manufacturers, and spent a full 30 minutes debating the shade of grey for the Apple Store toilets. These examples are extreme, but they are indicative of a huge part of the reason for Apple’s success. Imagine if the iPhone was called the Phoney-Woney, or the Genius Bar was renamed the Help, My Phone Broke Bar? It wouldn’t make sense, and it would put Apple’s slick, quality, desirable image into question.

A consistent visual identity is essential to a successful brand, and by this we mean ANY visual element of your brand. A logo is part of this, but it is only the tip of the iceberg. A logo should be a clear, appropriate, recognisable asset that customers come to associate with your brand. It shouldn’t try to cram in every point on your business plan, or be a stand alone item that sits in the top left corner of all your stationery in a half-hearted delusion of having a visual identity.

Start-ups and SMEs often fall into the trap of believing that a full visual identity is something reserved for the big players. After all, branding costs money and as a start up you may only have some social media pages and a business card right now. However, here at HustleUp we truly believe that your business, no matter how big or small, cannot afford to continue with 'just a logo.'

Here’s why:

'Just a logo' won’t get you noticed
Is your new business amazing? We believe you, but how are you going to convince your potential customers? Design is often the last thing to get squeezed into the budget, but no one is ever going to come into contact with your amazing new business if they haven’t noticed you first.

A Google study found we form our initial opinion of a business within 50 MILLISECONDS of landing on their website. This is indicative of the way customers react to all visual touch-points of your brand. If you’re not willing to invest in a consistent and communicative visual identity don’t be surprised when your customers head off to spend their money with a business that is.

'Just a logo' won’t communicate who you are
Every way your customer interacts with your business builds their understanding of who you are and what you stand for, and ultimately if they trust you. For example, if you were looking for business insurance would you go to a company called Bizz Insurerz with a logo written in yellow bubble writing? I know I wouldn’t.

Silly example maybe, but even small inconsistencies can cause serious confusion and lose you customers. A considered and consistent visual identity tells people who you are without words and kick-starts their trust in you. An ill-considered logo placed in the corner of all your collateral also has something to say about you - that you don’t care.

'Just a logo' won’t make you money
"Design adds value faster than it adds costs" — Joel Spolsky, Creator of Trello

It’s easy to see design as an expense rather than what it really is - an investment. And with this particular investment the returns are very good. Recent studies found that for every £1 invested in design, businesses can expect over £20 in increased revenues and over £4 increase in net operating profit. So if you find yourself a £5 logo you can expect about £20 profit as a result, but invest £500 or £1000 on design and you’re looking at a £2000 or £4000 increase in profit. Nice.

The reality is, in today’s visual culture and saturated market a lone logo just won’t cut it for a business aiming for success. If you don’t invest, you may not see the returns. It’s as simple as that.

Let's talk
Ok so you've really got to get a handle on this branding malarky, your business requires a bit more of a brand identity than just a logo and time is not on your side. Take a breather, we understand where you're at and we've got you. Get in touch and let's get going!

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