What do you think of when you see the image below? I’ll bet you a dollar you thought of Levi’s jeans. Without seeing a logo, you thought of a brand. Levi’s has done a great job of branding and making that brown label and yellow stitching synonymous with their logo.
This is a good example that branding is far more than a logo. True that your logo is a representative of your brand. But your brand is everything that surrounds your logo – writing, pictures and even company culture are your brand. Google has done a good job of making sure that their brand is authentic – true at all levels of their organization. If you’re creating a new company and brand, make sure you are true to the brand you’re establishing. If you have a really cool logo and name, but a very conservative work environment, you are not creating an authentic brand.
Several years ago I created a brand for Motorola – DigitalDNA. The new brand was suppose to show how cutting edge Motorola’s semiconductor products were. The logo was cool. The concept and ads were cool. But at the end of the day it was still Motorola’s highly conservative and structured work environment. And customers quickly found out that nothing really changed. The products did not generate the buzz they were suppose to. But it did help Motorola sell of 80% of its products to other manufacturers so at some level it helped. It was a good example of a brand that was not authentic.
Another time I created a brand for Anthem Education’s online division. The logo was 3D glass and a reflection of their proprietary delivery engine for online classes. The logo, photography and advertising all worked because as students signed up, they found the online learning environment was as cool as the logo and advertising. As a result the school grew to 4,000 students in its first 3 years and 10,000 students in its first 6 years. Anthem’s brand was an early success due to its brand being authentic.
So if you’re looking to create a “cool” brand, first look at the rest of the company to make sure it’s reflective of your vision.