a great logo is a good start

but you need more to get in the door

The other day, a fledgling entrepreneur said to me, “I have a cool logo. I went on Fiverr and for just five bucks, I had a designer make one. My letterhead matches my business card and my website. I’m all set, right?”

Hmmm. Well, no.

While that may be a great start, and I want to emphasize the ‘may,’ your logo isn’t your brand and it may or may not suit your brand image.

The purpose of a logo is not only to be recognizable but also to represent your brand.

So, how do you determine whether your logo is right for the brand you are creating?

There are several factors to consider in creating your logo, before you even get into the actual design.

The first is your ‘big why’ or the reason you are in business in the first place. If you haven’t written it down already, you should. You want to be very clear on your reason so you can share it with your customers, staff, and partners.

What is it you stand for? Is customer service you biggest focus? Do you provide more choices than anyone? Do you customize? Is your turnaround time blazing fast? Your

What are your top 5 values?

Who is your customer? What do they value? What is their greatest need? What do they want a company like yours to do for them? And here, I don’t mean, install window shades. I mean something with emotion attached like ‘provide a cozy environment where my family can sit together and read.’ Why would they want to do business with you?

Once you know these things, you can start brainstorming ways to represent these elements through your logo.

There are different types of logos. Briefly, here is a list.

Wordmark where the name is the logo e.g. Yahoo, Visa, Coca-Cola. This type of logo is great if you are starting out and need to build awareness of your company. It is also great if your company has a memorable name.

Lettermark where the initials are the logo e.g. HBO, IBM, CNN and can be great if your company has a long name.

Pictorial where a graphic is the logo e.g. twitter, apple, target. With this one, you will need to think about your customer and what you want to them to think and feel when they see your logo. This can be great if you can establish a great connection between the symbol and your mission.

Abstract where the shape is non-representational e.g. Sprint, Nike. This logo relies on color and form to convey the emotion and meaning. Careful design is critical but can be great if you can build some of the associations you want your customers to make into the design.

Mascot where a character is the logo e.g. Kool Aid, Planters. These can be good for brands appealing to families or family values.

Emblem where the name, usually surrounded by a border is the logo e.g.Starbucks, Harley Davidson, Budweiser. These can be distinctive but be sure they are scalable. On large banners, complex detail can be overwhelming. On business cards, the intricacies and detail can get lost.

Combination Mark — where the name and a symbol are combined e.g. Burger King. This logo can be great because it immediately associates your name with the symbol.

You’ll want to work closely with your designer to be sure they understand what your company and brand stand for, who your customers are and what they expect from you.

Be sure they know your values and, if you have already identified them, the colors you want associated with your brand.

Confirm that your designer will provide options and consult with you once an initial design is produced and you will be allowed to have input on how it should be adjusted.

It’s best if you can, talk to some of the designer’s previous customers. Written testimonials can be helpful, but a direct conversation allows you to address these points and to ask about any concerns that you have.

Once you have a logo you feel represents your brand perfectly, you can then look at all of your communication collateral, websites and other platforms to be sure that you are presenting a consistent image. You’ll also want to consider whether your visual image and your vocal one (what you say and how you say it) are in sync.

Every point of contact with your customer should be planned for. You want to be sure that wherever a potential customer encounters you or your brand, that they are having the experience you have designed for them.

Let’s say you are the face of a company producing sustainable yoga wear designed to enhance the ease of movement that also creates minimal impact on the planet. Let’s say you are also passionate about internal combustion engines, or monster trucks, and you post on Facebook about the loss of parking spaces now designated for Tesla charging stations. This action conflicts with your brand image. To avoid such conflict, you might want to consider stepping out of your brand’s spotlight. Why? When your followers see you in both places, they will be confused. Confused followers don’t usually become customers.

As an example, consider USA Gymnastics. In the past, this has been an organization known for providing athletic opportunities for young men and women. However, there have been scandals about dietary pressure placed on girls and, recently, abuse by an affiliated doctor. As part of its reorganization, USA Gymnastics chose a powerful woman lawyer as their interim head. However, it turned out she was associated with the coverup of the doctor’s actions. Could they salvage their wholesome brand with her in charge? Though it wasn’t clear whether she was involved, the answer was still ‘no.’ She had to go.

So, you know you need to be clear and careful with your brand image. You have your logo,. You have designed your consistent communication strategy and updated your platforms. You have taken great steps.

Now, you need to get your brand out there. Be visible where your potential customers are. Provide value at every opportunity. Give, educate, and add more value. And when followers reach out, nourish the relationship. Give more. Stay connected.

Yes, your cool logo will help customers recognize your brand when they see it. It is enough for them to know you exist. However, by being consistent in your image, they can decide whether they like you. Those who do will see how much you have to offer. That trust will cause them to think of you when they need what you offer. That is what opens the door.