I am in the early stages of branding a new company, and I realize there are so many bullet points for creating a brand identity. I am a little amazed by how much is chalked up as a logo, or simply, aesthetics.
Haven't we always been taught, "It's what's on the inside that counts?"
Well, your brand identity is more than just your brand image. Your brand identity has a soul. Your brand identity has a pulse. If you only focus on the way it looks, people are going to quickly see just how shallow your brand really may be. Looks are fleeting, they are inspired by trends. If you only plan to have your brand for a few years, then great, go for it. If you are looking to build a brand identity that lasts the test of time, you need to dig deeper.
This isn't High School--your brand image is less important than your brand's soul. Yet, I don't hear anyone talk about this to the extent they discuss aesthetics. What I see when I look at so many logos and brand images, is copycats. A bunch of "high school brands" looking to fit in with the other guys and gals. They want to be exactly like ABC company, but a 'little different'--why? Because people know that brand better than yours? Because they can easily piggy back on some other comapnies hard work and marketing budget? (If we are being truly honest, that probably is the best answer for doing this...)
The way our brand's soul is recognized is by what it does for the world. How does it serve the community around it? How does it harmonize with the values of the organization? How does it provide fulfillment to the user? What does the brands values say about the brands users? Does it claim to be about the environment and then hand out plastic bags with every purchase? This is a huge incongruency. It doesn't matter how beautiful your logo looks on that bag, it's hard to take your companies mission seriously when the double-talk is so loud.
Before you make 'claims' and jump on board with a bunch of trendy buzz words to tag onto your brand identity, be sure you are willing to do what it takes to fulfill those standards. Your brand identity has a lot more to do with the actions than the aesthetics.