At Cooper Smith & Company, we create a lot of identity systems. Some use logos we design. Some use logos other people made years ago. Some don’t use logos at all. Really.
One client of ours in particular has an awful logo. (They shall remain un-named, but they know who they are. wink) It has never stopped us from creating award-winning, highly-effective, brand-driven marketing for them. Not that design is the only factor in their growth, but this client has easily grown from a $30 million to $300 million company in the time we have worked with them.
What makes our marketing efforts work, and could make it work for other companies like them, is that our client has had the courage to stop focusing on their “logo” and started focusing on building a branded-identity.
Logos are a symbol of a brand. Think of it as haiku.
Though they can be beautiful, their briefness is limiting. A branded identity is a more complete story. As it defines everything from color and font use to photo style and copy voice, a branded identity can help tell the story about brand promises, business style and customer experiences.
Of course, a branded identity requires more of a financial investment than a simple logo does. It takes time and expertise to plan how supporting elements will work and craft guidelines for their use. But when a branded identity is in place, you’ll have a program flexible enough to remain viable and consistent for years.
For businesses that intend to live a long life, a branded identity is critical. It’s difficult to anticipate today all the branding opportunities your logo will face five or ten years from now. Consider what Facebook alone has demanded in the past year. First we had to force logos into a 125 pixel profile image, and now we have extend it into a wide timeline cover image. Without a branded identity plan to provide flexibility for your logo, your logo alone may be forced to morph to accommodate unforeseen marketing and advertising requirements like those.
Don’t let rapid changes in marketing media create inconsistencies in your brand’s presentation. Plan to be flexible. Don’t just adopt a logo. Adopt a full branded identity program for your company and you’ll be able to tell a more complete company story for years to come.