A couple of years ago, near about this time, I was working on the launch campaign for a new fashion store in the city. I can’t share the actual name for reasons you’ll soon come to know. So, let’s call it Grand Attire. One of my associates approached me after his agency had handled the initial branding (logo and baseline). After I came on board, we dove right into USP, positioning, tone of voice, demographics, psychographics – basically, all the brand-building building blocks – and came out with a campaign that had the client feeling quite grand.
A few months later, when working on a branding project for the same associate, I decided to revisit the Grand Attire logo. Don’t remember what exactly got me curious, but I decided to google for ‘grand logos’. The first search result, in images, was a logo template that looked like the Grand Attire logo. Ting. The designer that my associate had outsourced the branding work to had done the same: hit Google for logos that spelt ‘grand’ – in this case, literally – and developed that into the final logo with minimal changes.
But wait, it gets worse.
I decided to look around some more, and found that some other brand had used the same logo template, but for a different category. Ok, that is worse. But how much worse? A lot. The category / brand was for an escort service. Ouch. An escort service in Thailand. Ouch, ouch.
When I shared this with my associate, the main thing I remember hearing from him is that the designer had charged a minimal amount for the logo.
To underline its import, I spelt out the implications if the client came to know of this. Grand Attire would – and should – be upset twice over. Not just was its logo in use by at least one other brand (that it knew of), but a brand it was trying to establish as aspirational would now be equated with something very base. Grand Attire would be well in its right to ask my associate to develop new branding from scratch, that too, at zero cost.
I have had many a client haggle over the cost of branding. My main line of reasoning / justification is that branding is an investment, and you typically don’t change your branding for a couple of years. I guess my second line of defence should be how a low-cost logo can actually cost more.