An award-winning logo never brought anybody any business.
Neither has a really cool color palette or set of identity guidelines.
Those are all part of Branding – usually the domain of design studios and often confused with "Brand." Not the same thing. And in all honesty, it kind of honks me (me, Woody Hinkle) that design studios often seem content to let the distinction go unnoticed by clients.
If you've read anything on our web site or know anything about us, you know that the two things we do are Brand Development and Creative. We're not a design studio and don't seek out that kind of work. Oh, we can design a logo or web site and produce a corporate identity guide. And Frank (that would be ace art director Frank Salonek) can come up with a color palette with the best of them.
But we tend to try to avoid doing that stuff if the client doesn't have a clear Brand or until we've helped them develop one. What the hell good does it do to have a beautiful logo on a snazzy brochure if your marketing materials aren't telling anybody why the hell they ought to do business with you?
And I'm here to tell you right now in no uncertain terms that people don't do business with you because of your logo. We can go out back and fight about it if you want, but it's the truth.
People will do business with you because of what you offer that the Next Guy doesn't. Or you offer it in a way that's more appealing than the Next Guy. That differentiation is what you have to clarify first. Then, you can make sure your Branding – the logo, ad campaign, tag line and all the rest (which we can and will produce very well for you thankyouverymuch) – follow your Brand.
While I realize that I can't paint everybody with such a broad brush, it has been my experience that design studios and PR firms often have one thing in common: They are focused on tactical things – what the logo looks like, what type face works best, what hot-diggity-dog cool stuff they can put in the web site, or what the message ought to be in the next press release.
And none of that stuff matters at all, if they aren’t working off a single Brand strategy.
Because your Brand is, well, it's the reason why anybody should give a damn what the hell you're selling.
The old joke about clients often revolves around "make the logo bigger." I'd say, make the logo second.
Do the Brand first.