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Recognise the font above? Yup, that’s the one…Coca Cola have one of the most famous logos in history. Think about it, all the logo is, is the text in a nice font. In reality so much time, money, research and control has gone into the logo. From the colour when on web and when printed, to the size, and space around it. All these factors make it one of the strongest brands in the world, and this is why it sticks in your mind.

How does this impact you?

Your brand is your identity. Your way of advertising. Gaining customers. Creating something your clients can rally behind, feel secure and comfortable with and hopefully come back to. So ensuring you have a solid brand is important, but making it fit within todays trends, stand the test of time and look professional is just as important, and there lies the problem.

Designers will spend a long time creating a logo and colour scheme for your website, digital media, business cards and other print media (so when they charge the amount they do…there are good reasons for it). The level of detail and thought that goes into good design means it can take weeks, even months.

Why? Well you don’t really expect to have a brand born overnight that will last forever do you? Going back to the Coca Cola logo, this was produced over 125 years ago, and if you look through the different versions, they don’t really vary much.

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If you think about the logo in its rawest form, it is not the text, but the font that have the greatest impact. The sharp flicks and the curled lettering stands out more than ever in todays crowd compared to the straight thin fonts often used. The second most standout feature of the font is the colour. You can see as time has gone by, the red has become a more important part of the font. From 1950’s the red played a big part in making the logo ‘pop’ (p.s never use that word to a designer…they will skin you alive).

What does this mean for your logo or brand?

In simple terms it means you need to stare at it. From all angles and think about how your logo represents you. If you feel something should be changed, tweaked or modified try it or ask your designer to mock up some ideas for you to visualise. The only way you can truly show your company as YOUR BRAND is by thinking, discussing and trying ideas. As I said before this could take months, but in the long run it will represent you in more ways than you realise. Find that idea that captures what you are about and stick with it. Believe in it and push it forward.

This idea can be backed up by the logo changes clothing retailer GAP made. They updated their logo to use a new “trendy” font. The result…they have now gone back to their old logo. When brand identity is that well known, changing it can be potentially very negative. It can immediately split opinions and on small companies be the difference between success and failure.

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Due to the size of GAP, they could afford to take this kind of risk; it is likely the news reports gave them some great coverage, and they made the right decision to listen to public feedback and revert their change. For them, the exercise confirmed how strong their brand was. Something to think about?

What else is brand?

Social media is a big part of peoples lives these days. Including it in all your media and advertising should be high on your list. Using social media to create customer contact, loyalty and satisfaction; develop your companies image and show that you are not just a brand but an organisation there to help the them should also be important to you. Over time your company values and approach to customer service will become associated with the colours, shapes and style of your logo. This is what creates your brand.

A global company most people have heard of, and one I used to work for is Yell. At the end of my time working for them Yell was going through a rebranding exercise. Going from Yell to Hibu (pronounced hii-boo).

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The idea, or at least one of the ideas I know about is that they wanted to put some space between their history and the new digital orientated company they wanted to become. Hoping their customers would forget about their debt and other negative factors and see the ‘new and improved’ company. They said they wanted to show a more human side to the company by using a curved font to represent people.

In my opinion however, they made one crucial mistake. They wanted to create a name that didn’t already exist. They compared themselves to Google in terms of a name that didn’t hadn’t been used in any way previously. Hibu. This was the name they came up with to create the almighty brand to push them into the new age.

So what was their mistake?

My answer is two fold.

  1. The first, they set their expectations too high from the beginning. They expected to have an immediate positive response by changing their name. Expecting that they would go from being a well known, global brand, to a new named global hit. This was not the case. My advice to you, set realistic expectations from the beginning. Whatever route you take, know it will take hard work and belief in your brand. Over time, it will pay off.

  2. The second, they went for a name that no one could pronounce. When written down, no one knew what it was meant to sound like. Their approach on creating an unknown name worked. It also meant that any chance of creating a consistent brand fell through. This is not necessarily something to avoid, but something to consider when creating new names.

Believe in whatever route you go down and stick with it. Enough force behind something and it will eventually work. Some quicker than others, but strength in an idea is key.

Hopefully this article helps you with some of the pitfalls often encountered when starting a new company, or rebranding one. Perhaps you have your own advice you’d like to share. Please leave it in the comments.