Defining your brand identity early benefits your company in many ways. As the saying goes: “You only get one chance to make a good first impression.” I believe this holds true for brand identity and branding. Your product/service will evolve over time. But your brand identity needs a strong start because it's part of what helps establish loyalty with your audience. Your brand story should be part of your company's foundation and DNA. Your designer can help build this into your brand identity. So your story is critical information your designer will ask you at the very beginning of the design process. Your company logo is often the first contact your audience will have with your brand. Why not get it right from the beginning? Why start any other way? More importantly, why wait to understand and connect with your customers?
Some companies attempt to get by with free, ‘quickie’ or cheap logo design in the early stages of their business in an attempt to keep startup costs down. Some rely on crowd-sourcing or design competitions to establish brand identity. I will elaborate on why crowd-sourcing your logo is a really bad idea in a future post! Stay tuned! :) One reason this is a strategic mistake is it will end up costing more in the long-term. Deciding to establish a well-considered company identity later will incur added expenses. Think of the cost of re-doing everything that has your logo on it – especially after you’ve grown the company in size: reprinting business cards, packaging, signage, etc. Another important reason to get the logo right the first time (and sticking with it) is that you also risk losing your growing audience’s trust by changing their brand identity on a whim or too frequently. Being wishy-washy with your brand identity just doesn’t say good things about who you are as a company. In this Internet age, we've seen how logo redesigns have backfired on much beloved (albeit large, well-established) brands. Companies like Gap, Airbnb, etc have provoked public outrage over logo redesigns. The main reason for the passionate response is that over time is that people become attached to brands or come to feel a sense of personal belonging towards certain brands. Many have called this phenomenon "tribalism." Once your company establishes an audience of believers, aka your fan base, they can also become your best promoters. Today's audience is vocal in both positive and negative ways. Opinions about companies of all sizes are spread instantly and widely on social media these days. It's become too important to manage your brand right.
“Design is the silent ambassador of your brand.” – Paul Rand
Many startup success stories today have often been co-founded by designers – Apple, Airbnb.com, Kickstarter, just to name a few. This means good design was inherent to what made them successful (this includes everything from their brand identity + branding, marketing and the product or service’s user experience). It's no coincidence that companies founded by designers have PRIORITIZED design. How does any company expect to compete in today's landscape if great design isn’t on your company’s list of priorities?