Logo, identity, and branding, are all words that seem to be interchangeable amongst the general public. Generally, it’s just us designers and marketers that to get all worked up about the differences. I can’t count how many cups of coffee were assaulted with a roundtable of fuming designers complaining about the lack of respect “real branding” gets versus the $99.00 logo mills that continually “steal” work form us.
A recent inquiry from a friend made me think about logo design and branding from a different perspective. Maybe all he needed WAS a logo.
“Hey Drew, I need a logo for my new business.”
That was a message I received over Facebook one day. It was an old friend who knows my capabilities, knows my business, has seen my work for over 2 decades, and yet, all he asked for was “…a logo for his new business.”
Now, that’s a request I hear almost daily. Usually, I answer with a litany of questions about brand, brand positioning, identity guidelines, and marketing strategies. But really, all the guy asked for was a logo. So where, as a marketing communications professionals, should we draw the line between just giving the client a logo and taking them through a branding and identity development process?
Consider what the client really NEEDS.
Instead of wringing my hands and spewing all of my branding knowledge at him, I simply asked him three questions:
- What was he doing? – He wanted “something” in his garage, on hats, and shirts for his dog breeding business. He has one dog and has produced one litter and wanted to “look official” when presenting the pups for sale. THAT’S IT.
- Did he have any future plans (for the business)? – Honestly, he hadn’t thought that far. THAT’S IT.
- Did he have any ideas for the logo that he liked? – Yep. He sent me photos of his breeding facility, a few photos of his dog, and a photo of an old bison skull he wanted incorporated into the design. Simple.
He wasn’t trying to take over the industry. He wasn’t looking to have a big public release and announcement for the new business with 3 TV stations, a remote broadcast from the local radio station, and clowns making balloon animals (dogs, of course) for the kiddies. He just wanted a damn logo, and he called an old college buddy that’s “In the biz.”
Considering what the client really needs is the dance we should all be focusing on with our clients.
Maybe you don’t “just do logos” and that’s fine, But a multi-thousand-dollar branding and identity development process would have lost me the client and maybe even a good friend.
In this situation, it really was that easy. Sometimes the client just NEEDS a logo. When (If) it comes to understanding the market and building a brand, I bet I know who he’s going to call.
Logo, identity, and branding, are all words that seem to be interchangeable amongst the general public. Next time someone asks me for a logo, I’m going to ask three simple questions. Then, depending on the answers, I’m going to give the client what they NEED.
Sometimes it’s just what I need as well.
Keep Cooking, (meaningful relationships)
Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef