I recently came across a great article posted on Entrepreneur about branding.  Except for one teensy, weeny premise that I whole-heartedly disagree with – “The foundation of your brand is your logo.”

Yes, logos are important.  But, a logo is a result, not a foundation.  It is a visual manifestation – a component of the visual identity that communicates your Brand Strategy. 


The foundation of a brand is the Brand Strategy


The Brand Strategy is the first step in the process of branding –defining, developing, implementing, and maintaining your brand.  It’s where you define the who, what, why and how of your company.  It gets to your business’s core essence; reflecting who you are as a company (or product/service) and effectively communicating that core essence to your customers and prospects.

Strong brands like Apple, Coke and Starbucks don’t just rely on their logos to build a loyal following.  They are diligent and consistent in their strategic branding efforts – they’ve built strong connections with their consumers by deeply understanding their needs, accurately defining who they are as a company, and effectively aligning the two so that their intended vision and message is what is reflected in the minds of their customers.

“The secret of Starbucks wasn’t just the products they made, but more so, the welcoming environment they created, where a barista will call you by name and ask how you are doing.”

Stanley Hainsworth, Past VP Global Creative


That Starbucks baristas are friendly, can call regular customers by name, or maybe let you slide on that tall non-fat chai when you’ve mistakenly left your wallet at home, is not some chance happening. It’s intentional.  And it’s at the core of everything they do from product development to community engagement to employee training.

In his HuffPost article, What’s Your Brand Promise? Stanley Hainsworth describes how new employees – even executives – have a chance to work inside a retail store in order experience the culture of Starbucks from the perspective of its customers. To see Starbucks’ personality of being, “A welcoming environment that provides those moments of Daily Inspiration” first-hand. And to fully understand its brand promise.

{Check out ‘s The Guy Behind the Counter for the story behind her “Good Luck” cup.}


How to Develop Your Brand Strategy


So what goes in to a good Brand Strategy? It starts by answering the fundamental questions of:

  • Who are we?
  • Who do we serve?
  • How are we different?
  • What are our core strengths?
  • What is our personality?
  • What is our promise to our customers?

And it will include:

  • A Positioning Statement that differentiates the company and describes how it wants to be perceived by its target audiences
  • Key Messages that can be used across all marketing platforms in ensuring a consistent and unified voice
  • A Visual Identity – logo, fonts, colors, etc. – that represent the strategy and the company’s personality

So before you start designing your logo, take some time to develop a solid Brand Strategy. It will help ensure that logo accurately reflects who you are as a company and resonates with your audience.

Have questions? Leave a comment below.

Interested in having a loyal following like Starbucks? Reach out, and we can create a Brand Strategy for your business that turns customers into loyal followers.

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