Do you need a branded logo for your ethical business?
By Guy Anderson
If you’re reading this then you’re probably an ethical business owner wondering whether you really need a branded logo. The answer is: yes you do! But first you need to focus on your brand strategy in order to create a design brief.
If you already have a logo for your business, by the end of this post you’ll be able to assess whether your logo is any good (as opposed to you just liking it). Or, if you’re about to have a branded logo created for your ethical business, you’ll have a good idea of where to start.
What is an ethical business?
An ethical business is a business that operates within a set of ethical boundaries or principles, often instilled in the business by the founder. Let’s dig a little deeper by looking at the two words in the term ‘ethical business’.
What does ethical mean?
Ethics or moral philosophy is a set of principles or rules that govern what is right or wrong. Living by ethical principles helps us to live healthier, happier lives and ethics provide society with a stable base of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
Our ethics originate from various sources. The two most important are our parents/family and the society we grow up or live in. But who decides what is right and wrong? Or when a certain course of action is good or bad? Ultimately, we’re responsible for creating our own set of ethics. It’s interesting to note that ethics are dynamic and can change over time and in different circumstances.
The topic of ethics is a deep one and I’m going to avoid diving down a rabbit hole here! So, for the purposes of this post, ethical simply means a set of principles that help to guide decision-making.
What is a business?
Very simply, a business is an organisation or entity that exists to trade goods and/or services. A business could do this not-for-profit, e.g. a charity, or for-profit. The majority of businesses are for-profit.
In this article, when we refer to a business we’re referring to a for-profit business consisting of one or more owners.
The business dilemma
Fundamentally, all for-profit businesses have only one goal: to generate profit. This is at the exclusion of any other factors. In this case, profit is narrowly defined as money.
There are lots of activities that could be profitable for a company, but they don’t generate money. However, these things are not included in the annual accounts of a company, so they can’t be measured in the same way as money in and money out.
So, to bring it back around to our definition of an ethical business. For the purposes of this post, we’re referring to a business that is not only profit focused. Instead, there are other ethical principles besides profit that guide how decisions are made. I suspect that most business owners feel that they’re running a business based on ethical principles.
At the centre of this approach of conscious capitalism are people – that’s right, you and me. This quote by the business leader Herb Kelleher is a good reminder:
At Wildheart we work with wellbeing businesses like yoga studios, retreat centres, yoga teachers, therapists, counsellors and coaches. Most of you who run these kinds of businesses feel like you’re being of service to individuals and society at large, i.e. directly helping people to feel better.
This feels incredibly rewarding but it must be balanced with financial profit, otherwise the business – no matter how ethical it is – will fail.
Therefore, the description we like to use when referring to an ethical business is a not-just-for-profit business.
What is a branded logo?
Let’s examine these two words ‘branded’ and ‘logo’. A business logo is a combination of text and a graphical element that’s a symbolic representation of your business. Having a logo means you can display it on any content, product or service that you offer so that your customers instantly know who the originator is.
Your logo should be included in all of your marketing, whether it’s your website, emails, instructional videos, free courses or social media.
The 3 parts of a logo
A good logo is typically made up of 3 elements that fit perfectly together:
- Brand mark
- Brand name
Check out our popular PDF 3 parts of a logo for more about the anatomy of a logo.
What does branded mean?
Branding is the art of positioning your business in the marketplace in a way that customers can easily understand and resonate with. My blog post, How important is brand strategy for spiritual entrepreneurs? sheds more light on how important this is.
Essentially, branding is a tool that helps you to differentiate your business from other businesses that offer the same or similar goods and services. For ethical businesses and spiritual entrepreneurs, this is especially important because you’re a not-just-for-profit business. This means that you want to attract like-minded customers who share your values.
So, when we refer to a branded logo, we’re talking about a logo that’s designed onbrand, meaning the design takes into account the brand values, the ethical nature of the business and the expectations and desires of your customers. A branded logo is a powerful symbolic representation of your business that resonates with your audience.
Creating a branded logo for your ethical business
If you don’t have a defined brand strategy for your ethical business, with clearly expressed brand values, then it’s going to be very difficult to communicate this to a designer, or anyone else for that matter. If you want a branded logo that really represents your business fully, you should have a brand strategy in place before starting the logo design process.
But, most business owners skip this important step and jump right into commissioning a logo before creating a brand strategy. A common reason for this is that your brand values are clear and intuitive to you – as they should be. You’re the business owner, right?
However, unfortunately none of us are as clear as we’d like to be. And if your designer doesn’t have a clear brief from you, you’re not going to get the logo your business needs and deserves. Every client we’ve worked with on their brand strategy has gained surprising and eye-opening insights about their own business, allowing them to communicate even more clearly with their designers and customers.
Our Brand Strategy Package gives our clients the clarity and confidence they need to successfully market their business in a competitive world.
Here’s what Irina of Iriness Yoga & Wellbeing said about working with us on her branding and website:
“I would like to thank the Wildheart Media team for creating a wonderful brand and website for Iriness Yoga & Wellbeing. They have an in-depth understanding of both the yoga/wellbeing and the internet worlds, so their ideas are always insightful. They have a good sense of style: contemporary and chic. And they know how to use your words in a way that makes them really stand out. Thank you again Guy, Hannah and all the team, for the great results!” – Irina Pashkevich
If you run an ethical business, you’ll want to prioritise your brand strategy so that all of your marketing resonates with your intended audience. The best way to do this is to invest in your brand strategy first and then your logo and website design will flow easily from there.
If you already have a logo, make sure it has all 3 parts working well together. The key takeaway here is that your branded logo should reflect your business in an authentic way that resonates with both you and your customers.
If you already have a clear brand strategy and are ready to go ahead with your branded logo, check out our Logo Package.
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