Businesses are cutting costs during the current climate by reducing outsourced expenses such as brand design / management, marketing colateral design and website design / development. More and more I'm seeing large businesses starting to look more amateurish through having created their own marketing materials.
I run a business myself and I'm fortunate enough to have the skills to look after my own brand and website, etc. I do, however, outsource other areas of business such as accounting and banking. I wouldn't do these things myself because I know that to be totally on the ball with all aspects of saving money through well kept accounts is a full time job. So I trust DEH to do it for me, and they do a great job.
It may seem like a lot of money to hire a professional to design your brand identity for you but think of the costs of having it re-designed year-in-year-out because it's never actually being done correctly in the first place. This isn't just a monetary cost, it's a brand perception cost too. Every time you change your brand your customers lose a little faith in you as a business. Not only that but if you drastically change it then they won't even recognise you anymore and will dash off to a competitor. It's a well known fact that consumers are being very careful about where they are spending their money now, make sure that your brand is one that they trust. Hire a professional and keep it consistent over many years and you will be onto a winner – as long as you are offering a good product or service, of course.
You may also be interested in reading Measuring the True Cost of Creativity.
The Shell Pecten
Shell are a great example of brand consistency. Over 100 years or more their Pecten has hardly changed – with the exception of a slight re-alignment here and there – giving them a substantial market share and a very recognisable identity. Consumers trust this brand because it has been around for so long, serving customers for many years. Imagine if they completely changed their main logo every couple of years to keep up with current trends in design, would you still trust them as much as you do? Probably not. The current emblem, shown above, was created by the great designer Raymond Loewy and introduced in 1971. Over thirty years on it stands the test of time as one of the world’s most recognised symbols.
Good design takes time. A designer must talk to all stakeholders, they must get a really good understanding of your business and its values. They must know you inside out and understand 100% where you want to position your business and what your brand stands for. All of this fact-finding takes place before the designer will sit at a computer to start drafting up initial ideas. Design isn't just about making something look pretty, it's about positioning a product or service perfectly. It's about communicating your values to the people that you want to sell to. It's about solving real world problems in a sustainable way. This does not happen in a just few hours so invest wisely and choose where to cut costs very carefully.
Download the history behind the Shell emblem.
David Airey also had this to say about the history of the Shell Pecten.