Your brand is more than a pretty logo. Let’s get that out of the way, ok? I feel like the world of graphic design as it relates to branding is misunderstood by a lot of people. You cannot have a brand with *only* a logo. Your brand is made up of many things. For simplicity’s sake, we’re going to look at visual identity and the experience, which both have different aspects.
This is where your pretty logo fits in, but don’t be fooled — it’s not the only thing you need. Your visual identity is the first thing that your potential customers will see, whether it’s on a business card, a product, or your website. It is the first thing that people will connect to your business. Your logo serves as the introduction to your business, if you will. It’s that thing that says, “Oh hey, I’m right here! Look at me!” If it’s appealing to your prospective customer, they’ll probably take a second look.
Your logo helps to create trust and familiarity in your business. Your prospective client needs to see your logo multiple times in a short period of time in order for it to become familiar — whether that logo comes in the form of a website, on a business card, a newsletter — it doesn’t matter. The main point is that it needs to be in front of your prospects multiple times. That’s where the visual identity expands — business cards, postcards, web-based materials, stickers, packaging items, signage. Sometimes, the logo is appropriate by itself for those things; other times, you might need an alternate version of your logo, or perhaps colors that people will begin associating with your brand.
Let’s talk about logo appeal for a moment. Real talk: this is one of the biggest problem that my clients have. Your logo should appeal to your prospective client — NOT you. That’s a bit of a blanket statement, so let me clarify. Your business and your products/services are created for your clients + customers. You offer them something that they want, and they pay you for it, and in turn, your business thrives. You do those things (most often) for them, because it’s what they want. If you want them to check you out, shouldn’t you have a logo that makes them want to check you out?
Sometimes, this doesn’t mesh with what you have in mind for your logo.
What you want to see, because you like those things, isn’t necessarily what your clients would want to see. I would love for Autumn Lane Paperie’s logo to be full of gorgeous, beautiful watercolor flowers, because that’s something we’re known for in the premade logo world. Fact is, though, we’re presenting as a professional graphic design corporation that handles everything from premade logos to full custom brandings and websites. It would appeal to some of our target audience, but not all of them. Go for max appeal, with the understanding that you don’t need to have the kitchen sink in your logo simply because you like those items.
Experience is also a part of your brand…or rather, any good brand. One of the greatest and most well-known brand experience examples is Chik-Fil-A. If you click that handy little link there, it’ll tell you WHY this type of brand experience matters and give you some ideas on how to make this happen for your brand.
Chik-Fil-A has created an experience for their diners that is simply unmatched by other fast food chains and many sit-down restaurants. The second you walk in the door, you’re greeted with a smiling face and good manners. The workers use specific lingo in their interactions with you, and any time you thank them, they always reply, “My pleasure.” Is it scripted? Perhaps, but these guys & gals make it super believable, and you’re always left with a positive experience no matter where in the country you’re located. (Hopefully, you have a Chik-Fil-A.)
Experience is everything from start to finish with your brand. It includes how someone finds you, how easily your website is navigated, the ease with which you can complete a transaction, communications with you + your employees, and follow-up. It also includes everything in between. In short, you want your clients’ experience with you and your company to be positive. How you make that happen is up to you. There are a million things that you can do in order to develop a positive experience with your target audience and turn them into your clients.
For Autumn Lane, we’ve taken a very honest, casual, yet professional approach in our communications with our clients. We want you to feel like that e-mail you get from us is similar to sitting in our own living room. We also want it to feel professional, because you’re paying for professional level services and products from us. So, we’ll always ensure that we answer your questions to the best of our abilities, answer in a timely manner, and do what we can to ensure you’re satisfied. Feedback from you about your experiences is important, so we’ll often ask you to leave feedback. (We can’t say enough about having reviews. It is often what makes or breaks the decision to work with a person or company.)
Our website is easy to navigate without too many distracting bells and whistles. If you can’t find something, we have tools to help. We also make ourselves easily accessible with our e-mail address labeled in multiple places, a contact form, and our phone number in the footer. This contributes to the experience by showing that you’re not hiding and that you’re trustworthy.
We don’t ship physical products with Autumn Lane; it’s all digital. However, if you work with physical products and you have the ability to create an unpacking experience for your customers, you should do it. What is more appealing? A thought-out packaging experience that is branded, organized, and includes business cards or referral cards, a free gift, or more? OR…something that was thrown into a non-descript envelope with no thank you note? The money you invest into your unpackaging experience will affect your customers positively. It might even turn them into repeat clients, or they may referrals for your business.
Give It Thought
Give it some thought. Your brand’s visual identity, appeal, and brand experience are crucial in establishing trust, reliability, and gaining clients that continue to come back for more. The examples given are merely the tip of the iceberg. Consider some of the greatest experiences you’ve had with a brand. What made it so that you wanted to continue doing business with them? Those key reasons will be exactly what you need to put into action in your business…developed for your own brand identity, of course.