Recently in mid conversation with a friend of a friend I was informed that he’d managed to obtain a shiney new logo for the princely sum of £25 (drum roll for the clip art imagery popping up from keying in the company description and yes…Bob’s your Uncle!).
I have to say I was left feeling a bit flat afterwards. Not so much at the fact that some poor sod is churning out multiple iterations of a logo with unlimited changes for £25, but more at the devaluation of design and creative input in the eyes of those outside of our industry, namely clients. Not to mention the potential damage to the perceived value of creative input as a business asset, rather than a vehicle to make things look all nice and fluffy.
Maybe I’ll leave this rant for another time. Let’s just say, you get what you pay for.
What gave me more cause for concern though, was when I enquired about his customers, the journey they took to his shiney new look, and their experience once they arrived.
It was clear that there was a “I’ve built it and they will come” attitude. No thought to the conversations to be created, and the experiences to be encountered. So, is this now the route taken by some SME’s when creating or refreshing their identities? I sincerely hope not.
Maybe if he knew that this logo-centric, mono-message approach to branding is quickly becoming an endangered species he may have chosen to invest his cash in a pair of corduroys instead.
Organisations, companies, institutions, and even charities are quickly discovering that having identity schemes that have ‘flex’, and create meaningful conversations and experiences are much more appropriate in the multi-channel, multi-lingual world that brands now inhabit.
Brands are now judged and scrutinised – at every touch point – on their quality of product or service, customer experiences and their journey, and what they do rather than what they say.
Brands now work harder than ever, at all times, pretty much everywhere, and if they don’t deliver on their promises they’ll be found out, and faster than you can say Starbucks!
The standard approach (name, colours, typeface, look, symbol, roll out) obviously worked back in the day when you could count the number of channels on one hand, but now we’re faced with a plethora of channels where applying the above method would not only be restrictive, but a bit of a disaster.
It has to be said that some brands are still delivering guidelines that are more akin to tramlines, so how can new, meaningful experiences and conversations – that will excite and inform the customer on their journey – be created?
These controlled – or what we at Conch like to call “matching luggage” brands – are starting to look a bit old hat, but not all clients (and certainly not all design companies) have yet woken up to this latest brand shift. Why?
Having said all this I have to say for the record, I’m not a logo basher, on the contrary, I haven’t lost my love for creating logo’s and exploring the beautiful visual tricks and observations that give a description and some narrative to the brand, but over time I’ve discovered that a logo inherits meaning from the products, gestures and experiences that its brand provides. They’re not born with it, they are not ‘the brand’, and they’re definitely worth more than £25 – but I would say that wouldn’t I?!
So, maybe next time you consider commissioning or creating a logo, think about its importance in the greater scheme of the brand and what it stands for. Tip the creative process on its head, place the logo at the back of the queue for a while, and think customer-journey-centric first, and not logo-centric. Build it that way and “they will come” and they may just stay.