Are you branded or represented?

In this day and age, we’re rewarded for our impatience. 

Technology gets faster, experiences become more streamlined and we get exactly what we want, as soon as we want it. 

Want a new car? Spread the cost. We can even spread the cost of a pair of trainers nowadays. If we had that when I was in uni, I’d still be paying off my debts.

But what I’ve noticed is that more and more brands are committing big budgets into brand strategy, into social advertising, into their digital approach, and expecting overnight success. 

Much like a “buy now pay later” approach, businesses are expecting things to change instantly.

The painful truth is that your brand is not your logo, and your logo is not your success either. Yes, all facets of this identity play a role in perception, in trust, in approach, but none guarantee beyond their means. 

The world’s biggest brands have global identities, but changing their logo isn’t going to ensure a huge cash injection via sales. It’ll drive attention, but often on the change and not on the product or service.

So this begs the question – why does your brand matter?

There are lots of reasons. Trust is a big one, as is your perception in the market. Are you inviting, or exclusive?

What I always come back to is the representation of who you are. Your brand acts as the representation of your personality, either as a person or as a business. A promise to your audience. The best brands aren’t just smart, or well-designed, or straightforward, they’re representative.

Some of the best brands have the worst logos – technically speaking. Are these logos effective?

Absolutely.

It’s about knowing what you bring to the table, and how you can represent that on a wide scale. Is the brand modern, minimal, expensive? How can that be represented in a logo? In the choice of materials you use, in your signage, the list goes on.

Paul Rand designed the Enron logo and the whole business fell as a result of internal dealings – but not before everyone had a go about how much they hated the logo. An ideal representation for their situation, one would think. Another big symbol that was associated with good luck changed tact in the 1930s when the Swastika was “symbolically reintroduced” in early Nazi Germany.

Logos can make or break a business. But often, they’re something you grow into.

We worked with a local pizza pop-up during the very first lockdown and the real ethos of the brand was rooted in locality. Belfast through-and-through, tongue-in-cheek, fun, “bit of craic” as we’d say. So the option to use paid advertising on the brand activation never came up for us – it wouldn’t have been right. 

Belfast is a city full of do-it-yourself energy, of eejits, and of colloquial slang. 

That doesn’t translate on paid social media adverts. 

We can all tell when a salesperson is laying it on thick. 

Your customers can too.

So next time you’re thinking about your brand, think about how you’re being represented. You might find a new way to say what you’ve always said.

Or maybe you’re off the boil. We can help.

— Gregg