A Brand, or Just a Logo

As most successful entrepreneurs know, it’s a little known fact that peoples first impressions are made within the first few seconds, and these impressions last. Some research suggests that it only takes a tenth of a second to begin to determine traits like trustworthiness. Yikes!

When I began studying branding and brand psychology at university, I remember the tremendous pressure and overwhelm I felt when realising the importance good brand design has to the success of a business in modern times. Pouring over the statistics was mind-blowing, 97% of Australian business fail, and evidently it seemed like a momentous challenge for business embarking on their battle to be seen. I literally had visions of business owners riding on horseback with determined yet strained faces, charging into a battle they didn’t know they had to prepare for. It doesn’t need to be such a challenge of course, after all, brand design is about finding solutions. So where on earth do you start?

Well actually, the fundamentals are quite simple, and I am going to break it down for you.

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Written By: Amira Roberts

Addressing the Misconceptions

First let’s understand some common misconceptions. The one we hear most is that branding is just your logo and your signage – but it takes much more than that to create a successful brand. Good brand design is careful consideration of a combination of design elements that create a consistent feeling – and getting this right is key.

Whether you are a start-up, or an existing business in need of an overhaul, having a good brand design is an essential component to your success. It needs to make a memorable impression, distinguish you from your competitors, and communicate who you are and what customers can expect. It’s a big task right?

Branding can be explained in many ways, but to pop it into simple and digestible terms, we have summed it up in these key points;

"The ability to be confident enables conviction,
and building trust with consumers requires just that."

A solid Investment

It’s vital in the age of start-ups and a world dominated by consumerism, to begin with a strong brand from the outset. And equally, existing businesses will not last without a clear brand position.

“Can’t I just buy a pretty logo from Etsy?” Well you certainly can, but we don’t recommend this, and here’s why.

Aside from the importance of first impressions, a good brand design will enable you to grow from a solid foundation with clarity and confidence. Brand design is about building a narrative. A narrative that inspires people, excites consumers, engages influencers and attracts customers. Each touchpoint needs to be cohesive and clearly communicate your story. Yet why is this so important? Because it’s the combination of these touchpoints that tell your story. People buy feelings, not things, and understanding this is the difference between a consumer choosing you over someone else. 

Professional brand design gives business the ability to be confident which enables conviction, and building trust with consumers requires just that. It’s all well and good having a great business idea, plenty of people do. But, communicating that effectively in an oversaturated market, and finding the correct brand positioning is the main challenge, and this is exactly why professional brand design works. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for startups to to consider their logo and brand as the after thought, and the statistics show that cutting these corners will almost certainly land you in the 97% of Australian businesses that fail.

It begins with research

Yep – some of you will roll your eyes right about now. “I just want a pretty logo I hear some say”. And yes we agree there are some instances where you won’t need to go quite as in-depth with your research and strategy – but the basic fundamentals always need to be considered for a business to end up with something that attracts the right people, allows you to be seen in a favourable light, and to put it simply, something that just feels right. After-all, its these “feelings” that convert people and organisations into paying customers, and let’s be real, thats exactly why you’re in business. Even charitable organisations need to effectively communicate their offering and authenticity to succeed. 

Design Thinking - A Human-Centered Approach

A term that has gained much traction within the design world in recent years, Design Thinking is described as a human-centred approach to innovation. At its core, this process is about questioning what is the human need behind what you are are creating, and encourages organisations and designers to focus on who they are designing for. This method of design has had a transformative effect for industries who create, whether that is developing products, services or processes. 

The process often involves rapid prototyping and solution / problem based thinking, with the root focus being the customers needs and desires, rather than assumption and statistic based thinking. Increasingly, Design Thinking has become the cornerstone within professional brand design. 

Building a Strategic Narrative

Change is happening at a faster pace than ever seen before in living history. From rapidly evolving technology to creative talents, changing regulations, and consumer behaviour. It’s easy to see why one’s brand story can quickly become generic, outdated or even lost. The mistake we often see businesses make comes from “chasing” to keep up with the rapid changes in the world, rather than first building a strong narrative to grow from authentically.  Or even worse, starting a business from a trend rather than an authentic premise built from human need.

A business can create a fancy new tagline, modify their positioning statement in line with current global influences, and create a new marketing and communications campaign, these are all great tools, but this isn’t your narrative. Your narrative is your brand story, the core of who you are, what you believe in, and where you are going. This is what sets a business apart and creates that foundation to grow from a place that is believable. 

How We Design a Brand Identity

With all Brand Identity and Web Design projects at East and Maine, we begin with a Discovery Phase. This discovery phase encompasses research, analysis, and strategic planning. Working closely with our clients, we delve deeply into their business to understand who they are and what are their objectives. We take a look at their brand positioning, perform competitor analysis and identify keywords to inform the design phase. We do this to ensure that what we design, is going to reach the target audience, and provide the brand with the foundation it requires to grow. 

Our research explores areas such as;

Only once we have a comprehensive understanding of these things, do we begin to form a strategy. This first phase of brand design is by far the most intensive, but it’s also the most important.

So you see, Brand design is an investment in your business. It’s not just about hiring a designer to create you a nice looking logo. 

A Parting Thought for the Blog

Your brand isn’t at all about what you think it is –
its what everyone else thinks it is!
Amira Roberts

This article was written by Amira Roberts, creative Director at East and Maine.

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Read more on first impressions at Business Insider.

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