When a client says they want a logo, it opens so many cans of worms whether it is an update or a new identity. It’s not just about a nice-looking logo, it’s about the platform that it’s built upon. So, a company logo and its tag line should have a meaning or reasoning behind it.
Everything from what a company stands for, its heritage (if applicable) but most certainly where the company is heading as part of its business plan, should form part of its brief. After all a logo needs to grow and move with the times in which the company trades. So, having a company vision in mind at the time of inception is quite crucial!
Now not all companies can see into the future, so sometimes a logo and it’s positioning statement must evolve. But evolution is often far better than revolution, especially if it has a long standing and important heritage. This is because it’s surprising how many of a company’s customers don’t like change or seem to have developed some form of love for a logo and the brand itself over time. That said if it must be revolution (it does happen), then your launch and unveiling if well-planned, and you take your audience and your team with you on that journey, then this too can be made to work.
It’s a fine balancing act that must be thought through before its execution.
But why is this important?
A company must live with a logo a long time, well they should at least want to, let’s put it that way. It’s a stamp, it’s something that sits pride of place everywhere and on everything to promote the business. All supported by that important tag line. A line that represents the ‘why’ in a business. The line that gives the customers the reason to believe.
It should also be the enforcer of the USP (Unique Selling Point). The one thing that makes a company stand out from its competitors. It’s a line a company can own and champion as it grows. That line is also something a company must be confident it can deliver on, not on occasion but all the time! So, both logo and tagline are super important and when produced must be loved and cared for just like the business it represents. It also needs to have longevity, you can change campaigns all the time, but we do not recommend changing a corporate identity annually!
Trying to build brand advocates is hard, but if a company doesn’t know who it is, how can the customers have reason to believe too?
It’s just a logo, right?
There are challenges we often face when trying to extract a brief from a client to create a logo and tag line. These are not unique and can cause small, medium and large businesses trying to create their identity and then brand, a lot of soul searching. We are sometimes in meetings where arguments within a business with stakeholders can unfold in front of us. But there it is, people are passionate about their business and therefore difficult conversations must be had. All stakeholders need to pull the same way!
Hmmmm it’s not always that straight forward though.
We seem to always face the same repetition of difficulties with clients before we come out the other side. An agency must sometimes ask the difficult questions a business may have swept under the carpet or not given thought or time to. But once underway, the results can be positive in moving a business forward.
Do you have a business plan?
It’s fair to say many companies lack continued business plans or vision for what a company will do in say 5 years’ time.
For example; you might sell beer now, but what happens if you decide to also sell gin? Okay, you may not know the future, but having an idea or vision that you may perhaps sell more different types of alcohol would help give the brief and ultimately logo a longer shelf life. Basically, a plan to try and future-proof!
There are of course ways around this future challenge, but it can mean a restructuring of your business, so your consumers understand what you are selling as a product or service. What I am saying is there are consequences and compromises as a company grows. We just say try and have a vision before you start your marketing journey. Because if you make the time and financial investment early on, then this can save money, headaches and arguments down the line!
You can have it in any colour as long as it’s pink!
Now here’s another hot potato… “I don’t like pink” Or “I hate yellow” I hear the MD say. This is all good and well and whilst we want a company owner to love their logo, it’s probably not aimed at them. It should be aimed at the customers. Having a vision sometimes means not getting hung up on certain things but putting yourself in the head of a buyer/client, basically the target audience.
In addition, complimentary/supporting colours need to be well thought out as some colours do not work well on the internet. If you are visually impaired or indeed, colour blind, you could end up alienating an entire audience! Colours are so subjective and indeed an inflammatory topic, so this is another important part of the mix, as it will blanket, support and populate your marketing.
Remember, just because Christmas is associated with red and green, does not mean it works well on the internet. Also, some colours work better with some types of industry, so this too should be considered. For example, red can mean danger and war, it can also mean romance. In China, it means good luck/fortune. So, another consideration…where do you trade or where will you trade in the future? This is also a consideration on naming products for international sales…but that’s a whole different blog, so back to the subject in hand.
No, it’s not a 5-minute job!
Ok, with the birth of Clipart and royalty free logos available to all, just remember if you have found it online to use from a royalty free stock library, then so can someone else. And just for the record, no it can’t be designed in Word!
Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you should mess with it
A tag line is not part of the logo iconography, it should work in harmony, however the logo should also be able to stand alone over time, a bit like a stamp. Yet so many people try to make a tag line into part of the logo! Less is more guys, there is such a thing as over-thinking or over-designing something.
Know who you are, believe in what you do
A tag line verses a campaign line, soooooooo many companies and indeed agencies don’t seem to know the difference! Your campaign can be aimed at a specific audience to promote a specific offer, product or service. It can also be seasonal or based around an event and there can be many of these as a company grows. But it’s different to the line that is ‘who you are’ and ‘what you deliver’. Do not mess with your tagline, unless you feel your business has moved on, changed or you can no longer deliver or stand by it. But it is not something you change on a whim or seasonally.
Short and sweet, does exactly what it says on the tin!
A tagline is not a paragraph of copy. That said, it can be where a company (or ours) might start to create the killer tag line. That paragraph is the ‘If I was stuck in a lift with Richard Branson copy’ that describes in a succinct way what a company does, including its USP, beliefs, deliverables, features and benefits. From that should come your tag line! Writing this paragraph with clients is one of the trickiest. It must also be free of fluff and is not a sales pitch, it is what a company does and what it should do well.
You can’t build a house without the bricks
So, when you start on your road to creating your identity and before you start thinking of the creation of your brand, the actual branding for a company is very important. It’s the professional ‘whistles and bells’ that promotes the core of a business. It’s the bit that should become recognisable and be looked after as much as the business itself. If a company gets this right, puts in place delivering on the values of it, then a company’s brand will emerge and be triumphant at that.
Written by Jules,