Branding is a becoming a lost art in the age of algorithms and bots.
Once upon a time, branding belonged to the realm of high-minded humans—that is to say, humans who were fueled by passion, creativity, curiosity and empathy. Logos weren’t so much designed as born, through a drawn-out, often painful birthing process that could indeed take months when done right.
Now, many people think “branding” means getting a logo on Fiverr, or through a crowdsourced solution like 99 Designs.
Technically, there is nothing wrong with purchasing a cheap or crowdsourced logo. You will likely save money during the process, and you’ll get a passable logo—even though it’s probably been recycled by a designer whom you’ll never actually speak to or see face-to-face.
I get it. Economics wins. What I may have charged $15,000 for a few years ago (a logo and “identity package”) you can now get for a fraction of this. It’s harder for me and other brand experts to convince skeptical prospects otherwise.
Still. Something has been lost in the process…except for exceptional brands at the very top of their game, who know better.
They know better because they understand that brands truly matter. Indeed, most of the value of top companies is tied to their brand identities…not merely the products or services themselves.
The ultimate value is customer perception.
It’s why people pay more (sometimes way more) for a “commodity” product like a computer or smartphone (Apple), a pair of sneakers (Nike) or a collared shirt (Polo). And they always will. Because people associate with the brands they keep, and few want to go through life associated with being generic.
Someone recently asked me how much they should invest in their brand. She was a small business owner, and, as a small business owner myself, I could empathize with her plight.
I told her that branding is aspirational. While you might be able to “get away with” cheap branding for awhile, at some point you will hopefully aspire to more. You will want to stand out from the herd, and you will want people to say ‘wow’ when they see, hear, touch and come in contact with your brand. You will want every touchpoint to matter and make an impact, viscerally and emotionally.
When that day comes, you’ll want to find a human designer who still gets it.
And you’ll pay them what they’re worth—which is probably much higher than you initially budgeted. Because some things will always be invaluable and worth a premium when it comes to building first and lasting impressions. And because real, human designers bleed for their craft, and leave their mark indelibly on the world through the work they bring to their clients.Let’s have coffee