A Marketer’s Guide to Sensible Branding 

June 7, 2021
Liam Pietrazewski

It’s not a secret that branding a business has gotten significantly more difficult over the past few years. As we’ve all witnessed, any Joe with a smartphone can get with the times and bombard the zeitgeist with posts promoting their new lines of streetwear or their virtual life coaching sessions. Whereas it is somewhat magical to live in a world where communication methods are far more diverse and wide-reaching, we still have to be sure that we are communicating effectively. In fact, what we say and where we say it has never been more important because of all the other brands and businesses trying to do the same. So the question is and always has been: how do I make my brand stand out?

For now, we’ll start from the ground up and address the idea of standing out at the foundation of any good brand: a logo.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t call this one “17 Helpful Tips to Designing the Perfect Logo For Your Brand by the End of the Blog” because the symbol of your brand should come from somewhere a little more sentimental. Give it some thought and a little bit of feeling. Show it to your close friends and family (hopefully one of them has some experience in design to share with you). Follow the blog and we’ll get into what makes a great logo. For all intents and purposes, let’s say that you found a logo that you like. You even showed it to your friends, your family, and your dentist; they all like it. The next question becomes, how do you do right by this glorious, one-of-a-kind wordmark? Let’s get into the dos and don’ts of effective logo use.

I know it’s not the sexiest avenue of branding but it is just as important as the logo itself.

For starters, we’ll tackle overuse of the logo. Yes, you can use your logo too much! A lot of brands abide by the rule: the more the merrier. They’ll put their logo on multiple windows of their storefront, it will be smacked in the corner of every social media post, and it might even be printed on the toilet paper in their bathrooms. To reiterate, the world is noisy. Why generate more noise within the touchpoints of your brand by clouding it with the same image over and over and over again?

Instead of the-more-the-merrier, try thinking less is more.

Your logo is special. If you want to respect it, give it space to breathe and do its job. A good logo should represent your brand’s voice, feeling, and message perfectly. If it is pulling its weight, it won’t need to be plastered on every corner of your business’s rented office space. Furthermore, your logo carries with it a message. When people see a Nike swoosh, they think Just Do It. No matter the size of your brand, every logo works similarly. Why overuse the same message in places it doesn’t need to be said? Think about how annoying it is when the phrase “that was awkward” makes its way into your favorite TV show or movie. It’s overdone, boring, and off-putting. So let’s not overdo it and give some thought about where we put our logo and our brand message.

This brings us to the next stop.

I know I just said not to overuse your logo, but now it’s time to think outside the box and make every use of your brand mark count. Everyone puts their logo on storefronts, advertisements, business cards, pens, websites and all of the other standard brand touchpoints. To truly stand out and make your brand message more memorable, have fun with the places you put your logo within your brand environment. Here’s just a quick example: An auto shop waiting room that supplies awaiting customers with free coffee might look to create custom disposable coffee cups that say things like “We’ll take care of your car while you take care of you” or “On E? Fuel up” or “a premium pit stop” or “honk if you need a coffee break” or “More coffee. Less road rage.” The goal isn’t to overdo it, it’s to do something that hasn’t been done before. Think of it as an opportunity for customers or clients to meet your brand. They shake hands and introduce themselves. How do you want that interaction to go?

The question then becomes how do we know what to say and where to say it?

It never hurts to check in with your patrons to help determine your target audience. Hop in a consumer’s shoes for a second and familiarize yourself with the user experience you are offering as a brand. Sometimes things look different from the otherside of the fence. Knowing your user experience inside and out will only allow you to be more creative when it comes to logo and brand message placement. What to say and where to say it will be a little easier to understand once you know who you’re talking to and how your brand functions in their life.

From there, you’ll be able to brainstorm some unique ways to get your message out there without being unoriginal or redundant, but I suppose that’s a story for another day. It’s important to note that this is just the tip of the iceberg. The natural next step would be to graduate from the realm of branding and look to shape your brand further with strategic marketing tactics. Maybe you’re a pet adoption center that finds celebrity look-alikes of the animals you care for and you post them to your Instagram. Maybe you’re a limousine service and you take out a half-page ad with the headline “Feels on Wheels” in preparation for prom season. Why are these examples so bad? Because, I want you to realize that you can and should do better! Regardless, I’m getting ahead of myself, but I hope the gears in your head are turning as you begin to think about how people meet your brand.

So what are we supposed to take away from all of this?

The bottom line is respect for your brand.  Respect  your logo and use it justly. Your brand message that is so closely related to the logo is stronger when it’s used sparingly and in the perfect context. And finally, strategize about the context that consumers will experience your brand and therefore, your logo. Get creative. The best way to cut through the noise of today is to generate a unique way for people to get to know your brand. When in doubt, do what’s best and think less is more.

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