A Recipe for Your Branding

This time of year always gets me excited about quality time with friends and family, most of which is spent around a dinner table sharing a meal together. For that reason, I love sharing this cookbook at this time of year. Food and design are two of my great loves,  which lead me to create this cookbook a few years ago as a passion project.

Since then, I have started using cooking as an analogy when I talk to people about their design and branding as a way to understand how investing in your design results in an improved experience. If you’re here and planning to download the cookbook, you and I both understand sometimes there’s nothing like a home-cooked meal, and the real purpose of this post is simply to share one of my favorite projects as a fun freebie. But this analogy has resonated with a lot of people so I figure this is the perfect place to share it. The analogy goes a little something like this.

A Recipe for Your Branding

What’s for dinner?

It begins with you being hungry. You have a few options to satisfy your hunger.

  1. Scour your kitchen. Pull together items that will work for a meal. Prepare, enjoy, clean up.
  2. Decide on a quick meal out and proceed to a drive through. Pick up, bring home, and enjoy.
  3. Take yourself out for a nice dinner. Order what you like, enjoy and relax while you wait, and then enjoy a chef-prepared meal. No clean up necessary.

Now, I’m sure you know where I’m going with this, but take each of the above scenarios and replace your hunger with the need for visuals in your business and replace your meal with the solution. What does each one look like?

The “DIY Dinner"

If we look at this as a meal, you had to gather the ingredients, prepare them, and clean up after yourself. (Ramen annnnd leftover lasagna, anyone?) You are working with what you have - and admittedly spending less. At the end of the day, you’ve still eaten, so technically this works.

But the question is how well? This option can be compared to making your own logo.

To me this approach translates to brainstorming ideas, spending time in an unfamiliar program, using skills you don’t often exercise, then continuing to run into problems you have to solve along the way. I have worked with so many clients who have started out with a logo they made themselves or had created by a friend, and it worked…until it didn’t.

Either it doesn’t provide you with the professional appearance you would like, you don’t have the file types you need, or you are unable to altar the logo in the future. The quick and easy solution ended up causing more trouble, taking more time, and costing more money on a recurring basis.

The “Fast Food Meal”

Run out and pick something up. Quick. Easy. Inexpensive. Right? You want a meal, but you want it quickly and don’t want to spend very much.

Well, this is kind of like finding a $5, $20, even $100 logo. It’s a little better than trying to pull something together from odds and ends, but still isn’t the best solution. What is most likely to happen in this scenario is that your logo will suit your needs for awhile, but you will quickly outgrow it or run into issues you aren’t sure how to solve and no one invested in your brand to turn to. You can find more on this subject of why you would want to rebrand here.

The 5 Star Meal

This is where you can really see a difference. Imagine yourself arriving at a nice restaurant. We’re talking impress a first date kind of place. You walk in and maybe have to put your name on a list or make a reservation ahead of time…but that’s okay, because you know the wait is worth it. Once your table is ready and you are seated, you waiter greets you and you know they are there to serve you the rest of the dining experience. You order what you would like, and wait for it to be prepared. You end up with chef-prepared cuisine and when the bill arrives, again, you are full, satisfied, and know that the meal was worth it.

The same is true for your branding! Your branding is an investment - of your time and your money. Having someone who will be invested in the journey, be prepared to spend the necessary time it takes, and be an expert in their field will inevitably result in a better product. Not only will your branding be stronger and be able to grow with you for years, but you will save so much of your valuable time by not having to take the time to create your own logo or deal with issues that arise from not having what you need from the get-go.

The Recipe

Much like you would expect a 5-star restaurant to use quality ingredients, by investing in your branding you can expect to end up with a quality foundation for your brand.

At a minimum the “ingredients” you need for a strong brand are:

  • Logo
  • Custom Color Palette
  • Custom Typography Treatment

From there you most likely will need a variety of things from a wide array of marketing materials to a website, to social media graphics depending on your needs.

Without a recipe, even with the best ingredients, you are still guessing. When you take the 5-star restaurant approach, you are creating a recipe made of fine ingredients for your brand and for your company. Having this base will save you time, frustrations, and guesswork, so next time your business is hungry, you may want to consider the chef prepared brand.

Anyway, enough with this analogy! I hope this helps to understand the benefits of investing in your branding, and even more, I hope you enjoy the Yum. I would love to hear if you have a favorite recipe!

Download Yum.