Branding: Expectations vs. Reality - Handshake Digital -An E-Commerce Marketing & Advertising Agency

Branding: Expectations vs. Reality

Branding Featured

We’ve heard some crazy expectations when it comes to branding and what it entails. What we’re here to do today is clear up some confusion that inevitably comes with the topic of branding, drop some knowledge bombs, and help reset your expectations about the branding process as a whole.

Having an accurate brand representation is more than just making your company “look” good. It is the strategic implementation of who your company is as though it were a person and it should be treated as such.


Expectation #1: Branding is just a logo design

This is the oldest expectation in the book! If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard someone ask for a brand by saying they simply need a logo, I’d be a very, very wealthy gal.

If you’ve hired an agency to work on a full branding process and you’re just expecting a logo, then I have some news for you. You’re going to get a lot more than that, some of which you may not understand.


Reality #1: Branding is infinitely times more than a simple logo design

Here at Duo, we take a deep dive into your business. We analyze your target market, focus on how to solve their problems, determine your brand story, positioning and messaging… And THEN we get to designing.

It’s so important to remember that your brand is how you portray your company to the world. A lot of thought goes into it and the messaging determines how we design your brand. You may like a certain color but it may not visually communicate what your brand is actually meant to communicate. It is so important to remember this.

Think of Apple. You know their logo,  of course. But did you know that they have an entire team dedicated to ensuring an incredible un-packaging experience? They’ve packaged their products so perfectly because they want that experience to be carried through from their hardware, their software, their storefronts, and so much more.

Brands are the entire experience, not just a logo.

Apple Branding


Expectation #2: Branding can be done by anyone

Unbeknownst to most people, the thought and intention put into the branding process can not be done by just anyone.

Branding is, in all honesty, closer to marketing than design and should be done by someone who is qualified. Sure, design is an essential part of branding but well thought out and purposeful designs are inspired by the messaging and meaning behind the brand.

Well thought out branding projects can take a lot of time, which is why you can’t trust just anyone.


Reality #2: Branding is a professional service, just like marketing, finance, etc.

The only people who should be handling your branding projects are professionals. Your brand is how your company is portrayed to the world, that is extremely important.

We recommend working with an agency who has proven experience in branding projects. When looking for an agency, look for ones that have a process in place to get to know your company. An agency that pushes you AND your team to collaborate and understand your brand’s past, present and future and how best to present that to your audiences.

It is not their job to create your brand from scratch. It is their job to hear you, and I mean really, really hear you explain your brand story and then apply their expertise to craft messaging and design that portrays that story accurately.

Building a relationship with the agency you decide to partner with is imperative. We believe that the best work comes from a collaborative relationship. A relationship where each party is excited to work with each other and bounce ideas off of each other every day.


Expectation #3: Branding is quick and if I don’t like my visual options, I can send it back for unlimited revisions!

As mentioned before, branding projects are not quick projects. They require a deep dive into your brand in order to unearth the good, the bad and the ugly.

Once the brand analysis and final messaging is complete, the designer uses his or her expertise (with a little help from you about a vague, general direction),  about what colors, design, etc., properly visually communicate what your brand is meant to communicate.


Branding: Salon Jia Li


Reality #3: Branding is a well thought out, detailed process.

If you are working with the right people, your branding process won’t be quick. You will work with your team and agency to determine your target market and their pain points. From there, you will analyze how your brand specifically helps them alleviate their pain points and then how best to message that. In between those things, there’s research, hours of work to craft the perfect positioning statement, and so much more.

Agencies create a timeline based on a certain number of rounds for revisions. You must understand that if you throw things back over and over and over again, costs go up and the timeline has to be adjusted. Most of all, your brand visuals start to take a hit as they stray further away from communicating what the brand is, to simply portraying visuals and colors you chose just because you like them.

We promise, having a well-thought out brand presence is one of the most valuable things you can do for your company. Just look at Apple, Spotify, Coke, Nike, and so many more well-known brands.



There are plenty of misconceptions about the branding process. Even after reading this post, I’m sure plenty of you will say, nah, I can go on something like fiverr or hire a freelance designer to create a quick logo for me and I’ll be fine. That’s alright, but we think it’s a mistake.

Investing in your brand is an investment in your business. The more people who recognize you and the more you recognize you, the more your business has the opportunity to grow.

If you do decide to brand your business professionally, do your research, speak with agencies that align with your own personal mission, and start as soon as you can. This world is ever-changing, work with those that want to lift you up and see you succeed.

And if you need anything, you know where to find us.