The concept that our brain sees and interprets up to 5,000 brand images every day is staggering. Logos, for example, register in our brains in as little as 13 milliseconds. That's faster than you can blink!
In that 13 milliseconds, your eyes and your brain have already processed a logo's colour, shape, and subjective meaning - all the while subliminally associating it with competitors, products and services. Test this concept for yourself – look at local, regional, and national business logos and write down what registers with you. Brand image is holistic - from your business name to your logo to your products or services, everything about your brand should work to build your audience and their trust.
In Australia 17,752 new companies were registered in May 2020 alone. You may be one of them, or you may be looking to register your business in the coming months. Whatever your plans, our 6-step tutorial will help you figure out how to get your business and brand up-and-running with maximum impact. In the tutorial we will cover:
- Business names
- Business structure
- Web domains
- Logos and colour psychology
- Logo-specific choices
- Conveying your brand image
As you can see, a lot of work goes into developing an on-brand logo. Your logo should reflect who you are as a business and capture the attention of your audience.
6 Points to Consider When Developing an On-Brand Logo
1. Choose a business name that is relevant and meaningful.
Your business name should convey meaning and value to others. Take for example Amazon and PepsiCo. Would Amazon be a global, household name if it was called Jeff's Online Store of Sydney? Not likely. The same goes for Pepsi, which started out in 1893 as Brad's Drink before becoming Pepsi-Cola in 1898, and then shortened to Pepsi in 1961. Consumers recognise the logo and trust the brand. They know that if they ask for a Pepsi, they'll get a Pepsi, and not a generic cola drink.
The point is to think beyond the starting gate. Amazon's name is catchy and easy to remember, despite having nothing to do with the Amazon rainforest. It has relied on effective marketing to make it relevant to consumers. Pepsi has been around in various iterations for over a century, but it’s the consistent marketing as well as a consistent product that keeps Pepsi relevant.
Determine what is most important to you and your business - do you want to be relevant to consumers locally, regionally or worldwide? While you're deciding, remember that business names should:
- Be easy to spell.
- Not limit your future services or products.
- Work as your domain name.
- Resonate with your audience.
How your potential clients or consumers perceive your business name will become an important tool for your brand. Word-of-mouth has always been a fantastic source of marketing – it’s important to tap into your audience and utilise them as spokespersons for your brand.
2. Choosing a Viable Business Structure
Whilst you won’t be choosing your business structure based on your logo, the development of your brand image is as much part a of your business's overall architectural framework, as is its structure.
For instance, a logo that represents your brand as a sole trader may serve to express one-to-one service among local clients. Whereas, a logo for a medium-size company that imports manufactured parts for resale may regionally serve to show its clients that it's viably competitive.
Remember, no matter how you structure yourself as a business, you have to think of yourself as more than just a business. Many sole traders and SMEs think that they are simply too small to brand themselves. That mindset doesn't support your marketing efforts, doesn't build trust or add value that gains new clients. So when you choose your structure, keep a holistic brand plan in mind, not just for now but for the future growth of your business.
Every business structure falls under one of five types:
- Sole Trader: you're legally responsible for everything about your business
- Partnership: you share the income, losses and control legalities with a business partner
- Company: one shareholder (the owner) and one director (who runs the business)
- Trust: managed by a trustee to benefit beneficiaries
- Superannuation: appointed trustee manages fund
Sole traders and partnerships are considered non-separate legal entities. Companies, trusts and superannuations are separate legal entities. Trusts and superannuations are tax-exempt. Once you've chosen your business name and the structure that you want to operate under, check to see if it is available, then register your business. In Australia, if your business name is already in use, the Australian database will not allow you to register it. However, for USA businesses, you will need to check the business register in every state, and register in the states you wish to operate in.
3. Keyword Rich Domain Names
Verisign studied 11 million search queries to discover if domains were affected by search keywords. The conclusion was that if at least one keyword came up related to the domain then the searcher was more likely to click-through on it. That's an important consideration when you are choosing a domain name for your business.
Domains are simply the non-numerical (IP) name of an address on the Internet. Domains use the syntax: www.name.domain. An example of this would be www.mayflowers.com or www.techhouse.com.au. Attaching a .au at the end of your domain shows that your site is in Australia, which can also build a level of trust with the consumer for Australian brands.
Domains should be:
- Not too lengthy
- Easy to relay to others
For example, using numbers and non-alphabetical characters aren't especially easy to remember or convey to others. A domain name like "www.m8srates!.com.au" looks catchy on paper, but would need to be spelled out from one consumer to another to get it right. If you use “www.matesrates.com.au" it ticks off all the boxes of a good domain name.
Most domain names are non-proprietary and are registered for two years. Domain names ending with .au can be registered from one to five years.
4. Why Your Logo's Colour Should Make a Statement
Colour is visual literacy. It is "the ability to interpret, comprehend, appreciate, use and create visual media, in ways that advance thinking, decision-making, communicating, and learning," according to the National Art Educators Association in the Colour Literacy Project. When you build your logo, keep in mind that colour is also cultural, as particular colours mean different things to different countries. For instance, in India, orange is considered a sacred colour, whilst in Australia it doesn’t really have any particular association.
Perhaps you've chosen orange and black to colour your logo. In Australia, those colours represent both the ceremonial colour of the Aborigines and the outback. But in India, they represent not only sacred purity, but also laziness, intolerance and apathy. If your business operates only inside Australia this colour combination may not mean too much, but if your reach included India, you may struggle to gain consumer trust based off your selected logo colours alone.
It’s important to take into account how colours affect subliminal messaging to the consumer, including emotions and feelings. One logo that doesn't resonate internationally can put a huge dent in your return on investment. The human brain is very subjective and first impressions count!
5. Understanding Your Brand & Persona
Visuals drive the immediacy of messaging your brand throughout both the digital and print world. For example, magazine covers must grab the consumer within seconds or your reader will choose something else. A cover with a poor layout and convoluted text does little to visually stimulate someone looking for a quick read.
It's the same with your logo. There's a certain hierarchy to design: white space, scale, and typeface are just a few elements that draw the eye to logos that sell not only your brand, but your personality, and the story of your business.
Interpretation is everything and every brand has character. What does your logo say about you? Does it exude sophistication and competence? Does it make the client or consumer feel excited about your sincerity and toughness as a business? Does it tie-in to the story of who and what you want to represent as a business?
Your logo helps you decode not only what you want from your brand but also your target market. If the logo you create or have created doesn't resonate with that audience, it could set you back to square one.
6. Keep It Simple: The Right Fonts for your Logo
Your website and your logo should complement each other in colour and in font. Too many fonts will make your logo look too busy. Keep it simple. People remember simpler lines, simpler shapes, colours, and text. You want your font to help your logo be recognisable. Most importantly, you want your logo's fonts to transfer across contemporary and future print, web, and mobile venues.
Let's talk about fonts - or rather, typefaces, which is the umbrella term for fonts. Fonts tend to come in families. One of the most used typefaces is serif. A serif is that little mark at the end of your letter that gives it some extra personality. Fonts that fall under the serif typeface include: Times New Roman, Georgia, and Courier. Serif gives logos a traditional, trusting look.
If you'd rather your logo didn't have a serif font, you'll have to choose the family of fonts in the sans serif typeface. Sans serif literally means "without serif." Common sans serif fonts are Helvetica, Arial and Tahoma. Some say that sans serif fonts are harder to read, but it depends on the logo you design and how much text you want to use in it.
You also need to consider font weight. The bolder a font is, the harder it may be to read. Heavier font weights may make your logo read illegibly and may not transfer well across mediums. Experiment with italics, size, and type of font to see what works for you.
Influence Through Your Uniquely Valued Brand
It’s important for new start-ups (whether you're a sole trader or an SME) to remember that no branding will work for long if it doesn't touch the values and needs of your consumer. Branding makes your business unique and so your logo should be unique as well. Look to your competitors to see what colours, shapes, and fonts they are using.
Developing the right on-brand logo can influence your ideal customer, so it’s worth taking the time to get it right. At Marketing Your Brand we are your coach, your strategist, and your integrated marketing consultants, who will show you how marketing your brand can help build your brand.