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Your brand is a feeling, not a logo

Graphic designers and marketers across the world will know how it feels to be asked to ‘create a brand’ with nothing more of a brief than a business name. It will never cease to amaze me how good a job they usually do in those circumstances! 

In reality they might be able to put together some lovely colours, a nice logo and even some decent words - but their client is kidding themselves if they think that means they have a brand. Their brand is nothing to do with that new graphic design, and everything to do with how their customers, and potential customers, feel about their products or service. 

Of course, the right visuals have a part to play in influencing or reflecting that opinion, but that’s of no consequence compared to the importance of having the right culture, service and products to back it up. 


The way to start creating a brand is by asking yourself how you want your customers to feel. 


Work backwards from that point, and you’ll end up designing the perfect set of products and service for your audience. Talk your marketing agency through your approach and ask them to add the right visuals and communication strategy on top of that, and you’ll have your ideal brand and a successful business. 


But getting to that point takes bravery. 


You’ll have to ask yourself honestly whether your customers feel the way you want them to - and you should ask the customersthemselves. Too many businesses shy away from asking what people really think of them, or say they’re not ready. If you’re scared of the answers, there’s all the more reason that you should be asking the questions! There is never a bad time to start gathering customer feedback. 

And I’ve always considered a brand to be the external manifestation of the underlying culture - the tip of the culture iceberg. The right culture will show up in the way your people speak to your customers and the way they make your customers feel. It means you and your teams will create the right products and services for your customers. It will even make sure the brief you give your marketing agency includes everything they need to reflect your business externally. Get your culture right and your brand will be, too.


And you’ll need patience.


A business that asks its customers what they think, and changes their approach based on that real-world feedback, will never change their brand overnight. Perception will always lag behind reality when a business changes. 

That’s why there is no time to waste. If you think your brand might not be quite what you’d like it to be, you need to act immediately. And what you absolutely cannot do is simply change the logo - or even your name - and assume people will feel more positive about your business. Hermes might have renamed themselves Evri, but while their parcels are going missing or being lobbed over a fence, perceptions will not change! 

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