Want to learn how to make a truly memorable logo for your chiropractic practice? Read on...
Logo design is a very impressionistic conversation. Convincing a team that a new logo and design direction is the right choice for a business can often lead to conflict and confusion. Both within the business and between the design team and the client.
Why? Well, unlike objective professions. Design is subjective. If you asked ten accountants to work out the answer to a sum of numbers, they would (and should) come up with the same solution.
With design, that answer is variable. Because design is subjective, and in being subjective, design can easily take the wrong direction. Leading to a confused and unaligned message.
So, take ten designers, give them a loose brief to design a logo and identity for a business, and they will all come up with ten vastly different solutions.
Over ten years ago, after graduating, I learned the ropes of my trade as a Junior Graphic Designer in a London and Jersey-based design agency. We had a reasonably corporate client base in the global finance market, fintech, law and local government.
One of our clients, who headed up marketing for one of the companies, would take our team’s creative work home after work for her cat to review. If her cat (who shall remain nameless) liked our designs, we would get the green light and proceed to roll out the creative. If her cat wasn’t impressed, we were asked to go back to the drawing board.
As unbelievable as this story is, it highlights a point: design should never be subjective and should never be based solely on visual preferences. In being open to subject, design can easily be misled. Resulting in a muddled message driven by what a few people (or cats) ‘like’ visually and not driven by what is suitable for the business and its client base.
The answer lies in where you start. In chiropractic, the iceberg analogy is often used to describe how minor symptoms on the surface are driven by much larger causes below the surface.
This analogy nicely connects well to how your brand interacts with your business. Your brand is what happens below the surface. It is that master brief that runs in the background and drives all of your business decisions moving forward.
Typically, ‘brand’ gets a muddied name. Business owners usually consider the style of their logo, advert and business cards as their ‘brand’. Well, in fact, these are all business outputs. As is your website, the colour of your practice walls, the scent in your oil diffuser, and the character of the staff you choose to hire.
These business outputs form touchpoints, and all of your touchpoints paint a bigger picture of who you are as an organisation. This is your brand. Your brand is your vibe, and your vibe can be felt across every touchpoint. From the way your receptionist greets your customers to the design and wording on your latest Facebook advert.
Brand guru Marty Neumeier, author of ‘The Brand Gap’, sums up what a brand is nicely:
“A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or organisation.”
I like to use the brain-body connection to further connect this idea of your brand directing your business. Chiropractors use this concept to educate their clients away from ‘pain’ thinking and toward ‘mindset’ thinking.
So, using this idea, your ‘brand’ is your brain, and your ‘business’ is your body. Your brand fuels your business with information, and your business is constantly feeding back information to your brand. Helping it develop and grow in richness and allowing it to adapt to your marketplace.
On average, in the UK, consumers need to interact with at least seven different business touchpoints before taking any action with a business.
To top this, as consumers, we are exposed to over 5,000 marketing messages each day, and our brains can take in less than 100 new messages a day. (According to The American Association of Advertising Agencies.)
Focussing on one consistent brand direction creates coherence between your touchpoints, from your office signage, to your Facebook ads, website, and event banners.
With consistency comes recognition, and with recognition comes trust. A well established and trusted brand breaks down barriers. It turns the conversation from ‘who is this stranger’ to ‘hello friend’ and, in turn, supercharges all of your marketing efforts.
When you get your brand message right:
your Facebook ads convert better,
your SEO generates more clicks,
your flyers yield more calls, and
your signage attracts more walk-in traffic.
At a very simplified, birdseye view, your brand foundation exists at the intersect of these three core business questions:
Who is our customer?
What makes us unique in our market?
Why do we exist as a business beyond making money?
These questions are inherently hard to answer and come with various deeper sub-questions. This sum of these answers collectively makes up your ‘brand strategy’, which acts as a master brief for your business.
Your brand strategy works to inform the subjective areas of your business. It removes guesswork and has the power to turn design from subjective to objective. Creating accurate solutions for your logo, website, brand story and tagline.
This brief can then be given to anyone working on your business, from your staff to your Facebook ads whizz. Ensuring that everyone is driving your business with one aligned and coherent message.
A business strategy usually has an organisational intent. For example:
‘By 2025, we will be making £X amount a year in revenue and have five full-time staff working within the business’.
The problem with using a business strategy to direct your practice is that your customer doesn’t care about your internal objectives. Communities care about your ‘why’. The reason you exist to better our world and how you can better their lives. Relying on a business strategy to direct a business usually ends in a weak brand due to disconnect and an inherent lack of excitement in business direction.
Your brand strategy gives your business direction, and it can be thought of as your north star. The thing that directs your practice towards the goals laid out in your business strategy.
Although, as we have established, it doesn’t make up your whole brand, good design is usually pivoted around a strong logo. A simple mark that is easily recognisable for your community and rich in concept.
Generally, my clients who care about their logo care about their other brand touchpoints. Which ensures their brand is consistent and remains strong. So caring about your logo definitely carries weight through other areas of your business. A logo is a mark to be proud of, to hang your hat off and say, ‘this is us, and together, this is what we stand for’.
I have three core criteria for a good logo and tagline:
Our world is busy, and people scan, so it should be easy to read and clear. It should work at 1cm on an advert and 10 metres on a billboard whilst ensuring nothing can be added or removed from the logo.
It should be rich in concept and meaning. Good logos and taglines should be based on the transformation you provide for clients and not on the ‘nuts and bolts’ of what you do.
It should be easy to explain and make people say ‘ah ha’ when they are told the meaning behind it. In being easy to explain, it creates a mini-story behind the logo for people to share.
Here are some of my favourite logos and their meanings:
The Nike swoosh and tagline ‘just do it’ stands for human possibility.
The Apple bite stands for ‘thinking different and creating change’. Taking a bite of the forbidden fruit.
The FedEx logo, my all-time favourite concept, has an arrow between the ‘e’ and ‘x’. Representing forward movement and pioneering the transformation of our postal service.
The Audi logo represents four tyres on the ground. Representing a sturdy, reliable machine.
The Nike logo isn’t a shoe. The Apple logo isn’t a computer. The FedEx logo isn’t a letter. And the Audi logo isn’t a car.
These businesses have all tied meaning into their logo and meet my above criteria. They represent a feeling of being part of their tribe. Then connect with that feeling through their marketing and advertising.
Have you been building your brand from a strong foundation? To take these concepts further, head over to my website theshapingbay.com where you can sign up for my free 20-minute training on organic brand growth. Within the training, I dive deep into buyer psychology, how to find your ‘why’, discovering your uniqueness and how to define your ideal customer. It also includes a Chiropractic specific mini brand strategy along with printable worksheets and helpful process tools.
If you have any questions at all, you can reach out to me using your preferred messaging channel; Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, WhatsApp, Signal or Telegram. Links to these channels can be found on my website.
And finally, I take on a handful of chiropractic clients a year into my signature brand building program, ‘The Brand Mind-Body-Spirit’. A brand building journey that starts with strategy and leads into graphic design, website design, search engine optimisation (SEO) and organic marketing.
To apply, book a free brand diagnosis and strategy call through my website, and we can decide if the program is a good fit for you and your business.
Keep building your tribes.