The way consumers feel about a company and perceive their products and services is very important. The success of any company depends not only in sales, but also brand recognition, which would make it very hard for any organization to stay in business if customers are indifferent to its brand.
As designers, we consider branding as an emotional feeling. That is why we pay so much attention to a brand as a whole, not only as a logo or a type of font... And this is why we strive to create brands that create a connection with all constituencies in a fast and simple way that does not create indifference because it is too busy or overwhelming.
Usually, When you think of your favorite company, there is something that makes you relate and have an emotional connection to it. For example, Volvo cars have, for decades, enjoyed a reputation of a family car and safety; Nike, Rebook or Adidas as the essence of many sports; or Hugo Boss as sophistication and simplicity. Whatever that connection is, it is best if there is something that allows the brand to make a positive impact that allows it to position its personality in the market.
A common mistake when talking about branding is that most of us think of just "Logo," but branding involves much more than that. Branding is the logo, the colors, the design elements, the look of your product or service and pretty much everything that requires people to visually engage with your company, from a business card and letterhead to a postcard to a print ad to an email blast.
Normally, a company's brand is the first channel for people to gather feelings about a company, and as such it can help or harm the growth of a company and its brand as a whole. Many businesses tend to attack their logos with as many elements that represent their vision and mission without having in mind the impact that it will have on the consumer. Simplistic and minimalistic brands such as Apple and McDonalds have evolved to the point that their products and services are easily recognized through their branding.
There is no need to fluff your brand, but it is understandable that getting rid of fluff is easier said than done. You may get rid of the wrong thing or show just part of something and then you mess up what you want to communicate. Well, it's all about balance. For example, what would you get out of a logo with swooshes and bevels and drop shadows and all other sorts of saturations that have no purpose and don't portray the essence of your brand at all and instead would make it overbearing for your customers? Again, the purpose of a brand is to have your constituencies to create a positive connection with your products and services so they can remember you and recognize you easily.
Have in mind that such recognition is also a result of consistency. Having a bunch of different design elements, colors, layouts and such, decreases the chances of people to remember you and recognize your brand and, therefore, your products and services. As a business, your organization needs to acknowledge that the fact that your intern or office admin knows a couple of "cool" effects in Microsoft Word or Photoshop Elements won't provide you with an initial logo that allows you to solidify your brand. Here are some examples of brand fails:
It is also important to be aware of how you represent your business through your brand. Logos (and brands in general) don't need to be literal to the name of your business, but if they are, make sure that it reads correctly and that any imagery that you decide to use is not offensive... Here are some more brand fails:
Simplicity is key when creating a brand, it makes it memorable and consistent allowing you to get your point across all your constituencies. With a simple and powerful brand, you can have a more clear message to your audience, building trust in your business and encouraging your market to participate and engage with your brand. Once your brand has created an environment for inspiration and emotional connection, your audience will never forget and will carry that feeling through their lives.