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[By Matete A. Lehloenya]

The legend goes:  In Shenzhen, the worlds’ biggest electronic manufacturing city, if you threw the latest model of iPhone in the air, by the time it hits the floor, there’ll be more than 100 knock-offs of it. Looking exactly the same, performing almost all functions and some of them will be shamelessly branded with an Apple bogus logo. Being a brand matters, having a logo will only see your company die slowly disappear into market place oblivion.

By the time you finish reading this article, you will understand why your logo is not a brand and how you change that, how you can win hearts of many and derive value from that.  You will understand why especially here in South Africa, one of two similarly tasting, equally unhealthy, both sweet, soda drinks became the most loved, first choice and known drinks while the other is almost unknown at all. You will then have a better chance to do the same with your brand.

STAY FREQUENT: A brand is frequently appreciated

The classic slipup of many-a-small companies who will be roasted in the fire of zero recognition, is shelving their logo after it comes back from the designers. Many of these brand blasphemers won’t even use their logo on a Word document proposal. Some will only subject it to a two seconds exposure when they slip you their business cards.

A logo must be present, frequently seen and appreciated to become a brand. Look around you now, which logos do you see? Hp? LG? LENOVO? SUMSUNG OR APPLE…I’m looking at Bonaqua, a bottled water brand. I picked it up at the garage shop fridge this afternoon. There were other bottled water brands in that same fridge. So why did I pick up Bonaqua? Probably because I’m not a bottled water enthusiast, so I just chose the first one that looked familiar – one that had frequently entered my area of periphery.

Your logo has to be seen by your clients frequently enough to be imprinted in their subconscious so that they can see you as a brand. Frequency has become cheaper with Social Media, so take advantage of it.

FIND YOUR VOICE: A brand has a voice, a logo only compliments it

This is normally a term I’d rather it be left on the advertising boardroom jargon together with the its brother “disruption”, “Engagement” and her cousin “Thought Leadership”. I have however found no better way to present this concept other than its tawdry name “Brand Voice”.

Think of it this way. Why does Nespresso use George Clooney in his all smart suits, sharp haircut and suave in their ads? Because their voice is witty and professional with a touch of self-deprecating humour ( hence they also make fun of him). Do I make sense? What about Nandos, can you feel their voice? Casual, nonchalant with a bit of culture – who do you see in your mind when you think of Nandos personality? Kagiso Lidiga? Jeremy Maggs or Chester Missing? Now picture your company as an individual – a celebrity is easier to work with.

INVOKE SOME EMOTION: How do you feel about a brand and why you associate with it

A good brand voice invokes the desired emotions, and emotions are the key link to consumers actually parting with their hard earned money to invest in your brand.

Learn more about your existing clients and, why they choose your business. Is it your quick response to needs? Is it the warmth of your employees? Your shared culture? Your shared opinion and support for the female role, for example? Any one of these or similar aspects of emotional attachment dynamics are very important and must be identified and improved to move from just a logo to a brand.

BE YOU: Stand for Something

Be controversial, be opinionated, be radical, be simplistic, be minimalist, be happy, be sympathetic, be…. something.  You have to at some level resonate with your particular audience.

Even if your services are as professional and straight forward as a law or accounting firm, there has to be something under the surface unique and outstanding about you. It is something beyond your excellent skill, service or value proposition but a lot to do with your unique selling proposition that inspires trust and longing for your company – find it, hone it.

AESTHETICS:  Looks count, no matter what your granny said

A good brand often compliments itself with a great looking logo icon, colors that merge beautifully and typography that resonates with the intended target market. You will be judged by your looks. Opinion leaders in Psychology say that it only takes about 7 seconds to “judge a book by its cover” and we do it no matter how noble we pretend to be about judging others. You logo will be assessed in 7 seconds, and if doesn’t inspire trust, the procurement manager will take a whiff at it, grind her tooth and move to the next.

You can trust Studio40’s logo design department to give you a well designed logo, one that not only looks good but stands out  and is in line with the brand you wish to create.

GIVE IT TIME: A brand is a brand with time

This may sound like futile advice since this is not a factor you can control over but fact remains, a logo is only a picture graphic if it hasn’t spent its days among the stars.

A logo has to spend some time on the trajectories of usage. These may be as simple as showing up at the bottom of a client’s letterhead, or being recognized on a banner in some exhibition stand, or even on a beat up and torn promotional t-shirt you now wear to bed. With time, a logo can become a brand, give it time.

STAY CONSISTENT: The epitome of a good brand

In conclusion, I have saved the best for last. At the end of it all the features mentioned above must be consistent. Time must be addressed by frequency – let your logo be exposed frequently and in time it will grow in recognition. Your brand voice must be consistent as well – you can’t be calm, posh and reserved Charlize Theron one day and then loud mouthed and sarcastic Trevor Noah the next. Unless confusion is part of the strategy make sure you invoke the intended emotion every time in order to build trust.

If all else fails, at least your physical presentation must remain consistent and recognizable at every point. Your logo must use the same fonts, same colours (or least shade of) every time and every place. Constancy breeds trust and builds a connection that eliminates hesitation when someone wants to transact with your brand.