Marking Cattle or Masterful Marketing?

The word ”branding” is thrown around pretty readily today. In fact, at this point, it’s been used so many times that people have probably forgotten that it’s also a process for marking cattle with a hot poker, in addition to the relevant meaning in marketing speak.

A logo is the visual representation of what a company does, as well as what a company is about from a conceptual standpoint. But a BRAND is more than that.

A BRAND is the perception of the company that the world sees. It is everything a company puts out there visually, conceptually, and sensually, as well as in words. Logos, labels, promotional material, web communications, TV, advertising and anything connected to the company – including its people – should speak the brand.

So how do you make this happen, you ask?

Quite simply, really.

1. The brand must be stated clearly;

2. It must be conveyed concisely through the vision, mission statements and corporate values, and;

3. The leaders of the organization must have a good understanding of what all this means;

4. It needs to be implemented consistently with guidelines.

When this is executed successfully, it helps unify a company’s employees with common goals. These common ”things to aspire to” help build a sense of community throughout the organization. There are few things more powerful than a cohesive group of people working together toward a common goal. When they live the brand, it filters through the organization by osmosis. It has to. If everyone around you thinks, speaks and acts in a certain way, there is no choice but to internalize the unified vision.

So typically a logo is designed in tandem with “branding.” The visual representation needs to have meaning, which comes from the company’s vision – the brand.

We have worked on many logos for organizations, large and small. And one thing I can tell you is that a group that conveys their brand concisely and cohesively gets the most appropriate logo, and gets it quicker. Not because we work faster. (It is not about us, the designers!) But rather, we are more efficient because our work becomes targeted to communicate the most powerful concepts on which all stakeholders agree.

I recall one project where we presented five logo designs and all decision-makers agreed on the same one design. It is somewhat miraculous, but it does happen. I can tell you that it is because they were all on the same page about where the company was, where it was going, how they were going to get there, and most importantly, because they conveyed it to us (the outsiders) so clearly. It was a synthesis of their concepts into visuals – it’s as simple as that! …Or is it?