So I’m gonna’ go ahead and put this on the table.
I don’t like you.
I accept the ‘she’ for the utter awesomeness of this image.
Now don’t get me wrong. I did like you. A lot. Like, alot-alot. But then you brought up the logo thing.
I rolled my eyes.
I changed the subject.
But you…you! You just had to keep pushing. Keep pressing until I didn’t just break…
Searched ‘shattered’. Found this. Google, you…trippin’.
Well, fine. Okay. Let’s discuss logos.
But let’s skip the stuff you can Google.
How bout’ we get real about those brand marks we love to focus on.
Let’s get into the reality of what they are, what they are not, and finally we’ll check out a strategy military spouses should consider when paying for or developing their own logos.
Guys, let’s dig in.
LOGOS JUST AREN’T THAT IMPORTANT.
Listen first. Then laugh.
Leo is how I block out my haters.
It’s just that I see it time and time again. One day Bobby Jo has an idea. That idea becomes a business. There’s a certificate and everything.
Then Bobby Jo says, “Yee-haw! Now, all I need’s a low-go!”
Cause’ suddenly Bobby Jo turned into this lil’ lady in my head.
Guys, come on. Take a step back and think. Logos are just lines, shapes and colors.
If you took the collective knowledge of every brand out of every single human brain, guess what people would think about all those shapes and colors surrounding them?
“Hm. Wonder what those mean?”
And that, is the very first secret to logos.
They just aren’t that important.
At least…not until you make them.
See, if you’re obsessing about the shape, color, vibe or…my gawd…doing it yourself in the beginning when you know you ain’t nevah’, evah’ in yo’ life drawn anything but stick figures, seriously Greg, and I told you—
If you throw a bunch of time or resources at a new logo without understanding what makes one truly remarkable, you’re wasting that investment. Promise.
SO WHAT MAKES A REMARKABLE LOGO?
What breathes life into a logo is the story behind it. The tale woven together from hopes and struggles and sweat and tears and hugs and those tiny electric sparks we call thoughts that kept pushing us onward until somehow, what had never before existed in the world, suddenly did.
The stories are what sell a logo. One day, your customers will place their own experiences into this story. One day.
But in the beginning, it’s your story that must be told, and told well.
That is how you make your logo important. By focusing first on having a clear narrative journey for your brand. Basically, I’m saying know what message, what story, your brand is pushing out and then…push it out!
Think of it like you’re an ancient times storyteller, spinning tales of mystery in the market.
I know I’m not the only 80’s baby who pictured this.
The better the story, the better the storyteller. They better the storyteller the more faithful the listener. The more faithful the listener the more people they tell to come hear you and the more likely some coins gets tossed in your basket.
But the newbies need some way to identify your stall, right? Don’t forget you aren’t the only storyteller at the market.
YOUR LOGO’S ONLY PURPOSE IS TO IDENTIFY YOU.
That’s it. Nothing else.
People need to know who, what, and where you are. Quickly.
Now stop! I see your mind churning. I can already picture that clunky, over-stuffed, Microsoft Powerpoint clip art-lookin’ hot mess you’ve got cooking up.
Throw it out. Now listen.
Your business is ‘Paulie’s Fish Butcher’. That doesn’t mean you need to have a fish and a knife and a cash register and a pier and a pelican in your logo.
No. What I’m saying is that if your logo makes sense within the universe of your total brand, then it’s halfway to success.
What do I mean by ‘makes sense’?
I mean you could have some image of a fish to show its sold as food. You could display it visually that way.
Or…you could find a nice, clean font and type out, ‘Paulie’s Fish Butcher,’ and that would work too. Plus it’s just as visual, and probably waaaaaay faster in the comprehension and communication departments. In a nutshell…
And millions of husbands glanced at their wives, only to leave me hangin’.
But I can hear ya’ll cheering loudly in spirit.
I’m saying one-half of your logo’s job is to give the total brand mobility. It’s the essence of your brand, boiled down to it’s smallest, most essential elements. If it works tiny-sized, you have more ability to take up space in a customer’s life.
And that leads me to a super simple, super-effective tip/strategy for military spouse logo development.
MILITARY SPOUSE STARTUPS…JUST USE A TEXT-BASED LOGO. AND, IF POSSIBLE, USE YOUR OWN NAME.
I know that burst some bubbles, but guys, hear me out.
I don’t know if you’ve really paid attention, but Big Brands know everything I mentioned above. For them, every step of their customer’s sales journey is gated and measured. They know every process has a beginning. An entry point.
Acting as an entry point is pretty much the entire job of the logo.
Big Brands need consumers to recognize and trigger their brand story fast. Way before another brand can sneak into that mindspace.
That’s why, if you walk around Walmart for ten minutes, you’ll see a REMARKABLE number of text-only logos. Because one of the first things people are taught to recognize are word symbols.
We don’t ‘read’ folks. We just remember symbols made of grouped shapes.
But enough of that. Why do I say use text-based logos? And just your name on top of that?!
Well, one reason is the exact same as above. Speed of communication.
Words are just fast. It’s simple. For non-designers, I like simple.
But another reason is, as milspouse business owners, you move a lot. That’s important for logo development as a startup because you don’t have the money or time necessary to research logo imagery against the cultural norms of different regions of the United States (forget about internationally).
But everything talks. Every single part of your visuals has a language. So if you aren’t aware, you may end up with some tiny little flaw that works great with one audience, but completely bombs in a city across the country. And by bomb, I mean cuts off a sale. It may be so tiny even your audience can’t articulate the reason why your brand rubs them wrong.
Soooo…text-based. Because there’s very little room for ignorant error with it. Pretty much the only thing to trip you up are colors, and that should have been worked out through an actual branding process anyway, not coming you’re your logo.
As for using your name, well…
First, as military spouses, your permanent and most important target audience should always, always, always be your military spouse network. In that community, name recognition and personal branding become absolutely VITAL to the success of your business. So having a business with a text-based representation of your name makes brand delivery methods (ie: social media platforms) so much more effective.
Basically, moving like you do means your presence has to be as permanent as possible. Tie your business to you and let your reputation steer your business development. That’s the key to military spouse business branding.
I think we’ve covered it guys. If you want to build a brand, on you own, TODAY and FOR FREE, then check out my 4-Step Strategy to a DIY Brand. It’ll give you everything you need to build a really killer visual identity system.
Good luck. There’s work to do.
Let’s get to it.