May 05

Infusing Life into Stale Brands

Noemi Zelaya
“We have a logo, isn't that enough?"
We’ve had these situations happen time and again. Some businesses think a logo is a brand. I need not preach to the choir on this, but those of us who’ve been at this for years understand that a logo has no more of an identity than Frankenstein’s monster had before lightning struck.
However, few realize that without a strong identity, their brand will become scattershot, confused, and lifeless; an amalgamation of several people's visions. A Frankenstein's monster so to speak. They’ll realize too late it’s out of their control and say as “Dr. Fronkensteenfrom Mel Brooks's Young Frankenstein put it:
You may start with a good logo design, and some nice brand colors, but as you bolt on more pieces eventually things won’t keep together, and if a logo and colors is all you have it's hard to evolve something that had no life to begin with.
Let’s take a page out of the second law of thermodynamics to explain it scientifically!
The second law of thermodynamics states, “In a closed system things will always go from being more orderly to being less orderly unless there is directive energy put into the system to maintain orderliness.”
Science fiction writer Isaac Asimov simplified it this way: “We have to work to straighten a room, but left to itself it becomes a mess again very quickly and very easily. Even if we never enter it, it becomes dusty and musty. How difficult to maintain houses, and machinery, and our bodies in perfect working order: how easy to let them deteriorate. In fact, all we have to do is nothing, and everything deteriorates, collapses, breaks down, wears out, all by itself -- and that is what the second law is all about." (Smithsonian Institute Journal, June 1970, p. 6)
The second law of thermodynamics may answer why your teenager's room always looks the way it does, or why that neglected garden of yours is more weeds than blooms. If you haven’t put any effort into the upkeep, you won’t have much of an order left.  Likewise, you can’t expect to have consistency or continuity of your brand if all you have is a logo. Your brand must be infused with an identity—a voice, a gut feeling, and a message/position conveyed through consistent design elements such as typography, color, graphics, and photography—that creates a unique personality & resonates with your audience. Then you must have a method to maintain it!
All these pieces must be kept together with a brand guide that helps others know the “why” behind your brand elements, and how to use them. With these guidelines in place the evolution of your brand becomes easier as you grow. Your design team will save time knowing how to visually present your brand in a consistent way using templates based on your guide and quickly be able to create on-brand materials. Your sales team will have the language of how to talk about your brand with communication that is consistent with your brand's voice. Introducing new products will be mostly seamless, and your brand will maintain its identity through and through. Think of this guide not as something limiting, but rather as a good foundation of a nice home. Inside it can go through many eras, but the bones of the home remain solid and intact!

In need of a megavolt to bring your brand to life?

To echo Dr. Frankenstein's words, "We’re rather brilliant magicians. Perhaps we can help you with that!"

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