You Don’t Need a Logo. You Need a Plan


The conversation starts with familiar words: “I’m starting a new business. I need a logo and a brand identity.” That’s an exciting place to be. Creating your brand early in your business is crucial to establish your place in the mind of the consumer; however, I have seen a lot of entrepreneurs spend more time tweaking their logo than working on their most important task: their business plan.

You don't need a logo. You need a plan

I’m a marketing guy. And I think every organization should have the best brand representation possible starting with their logo, brand statement and identity item. However, before you pick colors, shapes, paper and all that shines and sparkles (and I love that process), make sure you think about:

Your target audience. Do you really have a firm grasp on your ideal customer? Only after you do, you’re able to create an identity that speaks to your core audience. Even if you’re a church with a broad audience base, you need to understand whom you’re most gifted and position to reach in your community. While this might be difficult for some to accept, your church will not reach everyone. There’s a group of people whom your message, style and location will resonate with and will be more likely to visit.

Your product. Do you know what business you’re in? In the early days of The A Group I didn’t. I was giving away strategy consulting to get the production work. That’s backwards and it will kill you fast. Make sure you know what you’re truly selling.

Your next steps. Do you know what’s the most import thing to do next? That might sound like an elementary question but I have talked with business owners who were not sure of their next move, and some who where focusing on the wrong thing.

You can tweak your logo and marketing materials long enough to go out of business. So before you go out with style, make sure you have the substance to back it up.

How clear is your organization on these three points?

  • James

    This is a timely post. We know what our audience and products are but I'm not sure my company knows what our next steps need to be.

  • Maurilio, thanks for succinctly sharing these points. Since Dream Year, I've been trying to think about how to get this process started, and I've felt a bit adrift at sea. These basic categories are a great starting point for me to put concrete words to what's forming in my heart and mind. Thanks again!

    • So glad I was able to help, Lindsay. Thanks for stopping by.

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  • Susan Wilkinson

    Yes, yes yes. Great post, Maurilio! Love this, "Before you go out in style…" That sums it up quite stylishly. 🙂 I love design and beauty and it's so easy to work backward from beauty to message. Easy, but not wise. Substance first. Plan second. Design third. I have to remind myself daily. You did the reminding today and I thank you.

  • jason

    their business plan is their most important task? i hope no aspiring entrepreneur follows that advice.

    • Jason, if you don't have a business plan and process, whether written or not, a logo won't help you get off the ground. Yes, knowing your business is your first priority.

      • As a serial entrepreneur, I agree 100%. But perhaps Jason is mistaking "plan" for what some may confuse with the "traditional" business plan. Yes, in many ways the old style plan is obsolete but as the old saying goes… "Fail to plan, plan to fail." I think Maurilio is speaking more so about strategy and thinking through the process, the steps, the "What's Next" and the execution and implementation. Those things are the plan and without them, failure is guaranteed.

  • I agree with the post. A brand name is nothing but a word in mind. But the "power of a brand" will depend on how it´s able to influence the audience behavior, that´s why without a good BP this "power" won´t exist…

  • Maurilio,
    Great post man. I'll never forget a meeting we had with a very successful businessman as we were starting MinisterSearch 10 years ago, . He said, "Don't worry about the embroidered shirts and logo mugs and pens at this point. Figure out how you're going to execute your plan and DO IT." Since then, I've had many people approach me with GREAT ideas for product or services that never get off the ground for the very reasons you mentioned.
    Another thing we've learned is the importance of getting out there and "doing it.” New clients, new customers, new church members aren't going to just come to us – we have to work for it.

    • Great insight from someone who has lived this out. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  • Dan Foster

    Great reminder and appreciate the call to action on planning. Your questions are great! I’ll be sharing with my team.

  • This is timely for me as I'm a few weeks into the launch of a new blog ( Definitely will need the logo and branding, but was wisely advised not to postpone executing for the sake of planning it to death.

    • people can tweak things to death as well. The "art' part of business is to know when you have just enough done to break free and go live.

  • You're speaking my love language. Amazed constantly how backwards many approach it. Logos and identities are important but the strategy behind them and beyond them (execution) is even more so. I think of Warren Buffet's company, Berkshire Hathaway. Website is horrible, mostly text, no logo that I've seen. But, he has a plan and he works it and it's made him a gazillion dollars.

    Form is important to function but function rules over form in the end.

  • Great post. I completely agree. Branding does you no good if there is no foundation to build upon. Great brands aren't built by accident, they come from the hard work of planning and executing.

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  • This as a great read. As a small business consultant, I find myself explaining to clients the importance of have a business plan vs. just jumping in and praying everything will work. Planning is key in our personal lives as well as with an business venture.

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