Does a brand need a logo?

Alice

The instantaneous reaction to the word ‘brand’ cultures up a logo, a symbol which is recognisable for that company. It is an image or shape that becomes memorable (as long as there is sufficient awareness) and resonates with its customer base to stimulate recognition and acts as its identification.

But logos aren’t always symbols, quite a lot are comprised of words, usually the name of the company. This collection of letters, combined with the font and colour used, become the symbolic recognition point, and in some cases the font and colour themselves are protected, as for the BBC and Oxfam respectively.

And then there is the absence of a logo, when the verbal rendition of the name is relied upon to conjure up recognition of the brand. Remember a brand is also a promise of excellent customer service and quality of product, so the mere mention of a brand’s name should result in immediate expectation from that particular target market. To go a step further, blind people can’t recognise symbols, so they have to rely on reputation and referrals to make their decisions.

Another example of brands without logos could be celebrities. They depend on their appearance and performance to command appropriate recognition, so supposedly their faces or whatever they do becomes their brand. In this case it is their relationship with their customers that needs to be cultivated in order to perpetuate their brand.

And finally search engines don’t depend on logos to promote and elevate a company’s brand, as spiders cannot read images. They rely solely on carefully optimised words within whatever digital medium the business uses to bring themselves to their customers’ attention.

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How to make a brand powerful

Alice

I noticed a clever piece of branding yesterday on Twitter. It was incredibly subtle (the best marketing always is) and this company took advantage of Valentine’s Day to send a message of love (with a little present attached) to its clients without having to say who it was from. In this case the recipient would have immediately known who sent it because of the brand. There was no logo or name to latch onto, just the design of the card in that distinctive style that could be nobody else.

Now anybody who truly knows what a brand is will know that the design is not the be-all-and-end-all, it is also the ‘baggage’ that comes with it. Certainly this particular exercise would have backfired if this brand hadn’t worked on its reputation. It is also through hard-earned relationship-building with its clients that enabled this company to make a difference, as well as a consistent message of quality, added value, desirability, trust, knowledge and experience that is necessary to build a powerful brand.

A brand should reflect the culture of a business. Customer perception is formed after developing a relationship with the company, through purchasing their product or using their service, being a supplier, attending a workshop, offline networking, hearing recommendations and WOM, reading their blog or newsletter, and communicating with them through other media, such as social networking. There the customer will learn more about the company and the people who work in it, their values, aspirations and how they connect within the business world and their industry. The more sociable and approachable the company is, the more likely the brand will develop into an ever-lasting concept that ‘sticks’ in their minds.

And it is the ‘after-care’ that is so important to enhance the perpetuity of a powerful brand. The client should leave with a glowing feeling of achievement, excellent customer service, satisfied requirements, a sense of good value, and an affinity and liking for the company and what it provides and stands for. This is also an area where the company needs to work just as hard as gaining the customer, as advocacy is a powerful and strong marketing method that should be cultivated and appreciated with an appropriate sense of attainment.

Why you don’t have to compete on price

Chantal

I’ve always seen Waitrose as the quality end of supermarkets. They always charged more for the same brands as the other supermarkets and in return you get staff who know what they’re doing and how to look after customers. Waitrose never worried about charging you more. They always gave the air of quality and reliability.

Have you noticed their recent advertising? They’ve started promoting a value range of essentials that they’re selling at low prices. Why?! Waitrose has never competed on price. Why on earth start now? All it really does is lower the perceived value of what you do.

Think about this for your business. If you don’t charge top prices, you will send the world the message that you’re not the best in your field. Charge the top rate and people will automatically see you as an expert. We all know that experts are hugely in demand. The law of supply and demand pushes up your price. And so it goes on.

So, don’t compete on price!