Picture a classic company logo. One that has a shared heritage amongst us all, instantly recognisable, a logo that seems to have grown up alongside us. What are you thinking of? The Nike ‘swoosh’ maybe? Coca-cola, or the bright blocks of colour of Google?
Now think of some classic vacation rental company logos. This is where things get more troublesome. Which brands stand out? Do any?
Logos and branding are not considered priorities for vacation rental companies. Most vacation rental companies run a business model where guests find them via one of the major portals. They don’t need to know your brand to book with you. In many cases, these guests can go through their entire stay without ever knowing the name of your business.
Right now, it is possible to keep a vacation rental business stocked with guests without a brand or logo. But, if you want to build a sustainable business, it will become more and more important to create a memorable brand.
The property management companies that will thrive in the next 5-10 years are the companies that are working on their branding now. By not stamping your branding on the experience you provide, you are missing out on:
Turning guests into return customers
Word of mouth recommendations
Referring their friends and family
Future direct bookings
Measurable business value
Your logo does not need to be a piece of art; the key to branding is consistency. We’ve created a guide to creating and using a memorable logo for your vacation rental business and some simple rules to make the most out of it. Choose the type of logo that fits your business:
Choosing a logo type
Word marks are just made up of text. They vary using fonts and colours and are the most common type of company logo (37% of logos are Wordmarks).
Wordmarks are most effective when your company name is unusual or quirky. It helps the name become memorable which makes them great for new companies trying to establish their name as well as their brand.
For vacation rental brands, wordmarks can be difficult, as they are most effective with short company names. West Coast Beachside Rentals, for example, would be a tough challenge to turn into an elegant and aesthetically pleasing wordmark.
Vacation rentals are built on imagery – far more so than things like search engines or software. This is why wordmarks can be a difficult sell for vacation rental companies.
A letter mark is simply a condensed version of a wordmark. They just highlight the initials of the company name, rather than the full title.
Letter marks are perfect if your company name is a mouthful. Often more pleasing to the ear, they can form a mnemonic – making your brand stickier. Think of how many lettermarks you know, yet don’t know the words they stand for.
Letter marks also have the practical advantage of being small. This makes them easier to print, and able to be printed on the smallest of your products.
A brandmark is a symbol or image that represents your brand with no text.
Great for large companies that operate globally and in many languages, the brandmark can be the hardest type of logo for small businesses to make successful. You are removing your name, making it harder for people to find and remember you. You make it more difficult for people to talk about your brand and understand your product.
But, you also remove the defined constraints of language. A brandmark is a great way to present the image of your brand that you want people to experience. Colour, shape, and imagery can be more powerful ways to convey your message.
Currently only used by 6% of brands, brandmarks are most commonly used for global companies that already have a huge reach. You already know their name, so they can refine their branding and concentrate on making their overall image stand out.
A symbol or image, combined with your company name. Combination marks can be a string choice for vacation rental companies. They push your brand name, and let you play with colour and shape to emphasise what makes your brand unique.
One of the major downfalls of a combination mark logo is the design work that goes into it. You need to match imagery and text and build them into a well designed and readable stamp.
However, you can then split your logo between your icon and your text, making it versatile. Combination marks are also easier to trademark. Every conceivable shape has already been used as a logo, so by adding text to your design, you become distinct.
Similar to a combination mark, an emblem style logo contains a symbol and the company name but contained in a shield or badge. These are often associated with official organisations.
Because they contain every element of your logo: Text, images, and colours, they can be hard to be legible. They also produce design and print challenges because they contain so many elements. Great for giving your company that ‘official’ look, emblems can cause design challenges later.
Once you have chosen your logo, you have to decide how it will be used. The first thing to consider is the space around your logo, known as clearspace.
The clearspace has been established to ensure logo visibility and impact. Maintaining the Clear space zone between the logo and other graphic elements such as type, images, other logos, etc. ensures that the logo always appears unobstructed and distinctly separate from any other graphic elements. – BrandingManual
Setting clearspace means your logo will never appear crowded or busy, or all at sea in too much space.
You can see from the examples here, there is no set formula for success. Choosing a logo is a personal journey and should reflect what your business really offers. What do you customers want to see and feel when searching for a company like yours? What are the unspoken aspects that your logo and brand should convey? These are questions that you should ask yourself before even starting the design process.
To see how deep you can go with the discovery stage before you start designing, read the account of the creative team behind Airbnb’s successful rebrand.
It soon became apparent everyone coming into contact with the brand has an emotional sense of purpose and affection for it, yet this spirit wasn’t being communicated externally. This became our mission, making the need for a rebrand even more pronounced. By us living the brand as the founders still do, by staying with different Airbnb hosts on each trip, we stayed focused on the theme of the community throughout the whole process. Most brands want to be loved and spend an age trying to achieve an emotional connection to them – and yet here was one that genuinely had the ability.
Is your brand message being delivered to your customers? Do they know your story and what you are trying to provide? Think about your target customers. Think about what you want people to think when they hear your name. The clearer the picture of your business goals and brand message you have, the easier it is to start designing and developing your branding materials. You can then start to add more facets to your brand and logo project.
A logo system allows you take the basic components, or ‘Atoms’ of your mark, and make changes to the order or structure of them, whilst remaining recognisable.
Think about how Google shift and alter their logo every few weeks to mark some historical event. Still instantly recognisable as Google, yet new and exciting.
Their branding is so recognisable and powerful that they can make changes to the structure and content of their branding and it’s still clearly Google. Airbnb managed to create the same effect. They created a whole tone and style surrounding their brand.
Once you have settled on your logo, you need to build your brand from there. Your brand and company materials should now all reflect the message you’ve built into your logo. The next step to acheivng this is to create a company design language.
This means starting a set of rules, or a guide to producing anything coming from your company. It creates a system for you and your team to know exactly what the standards of your brand are, and how to apply them.
Vacation rental brands are still finding their feet. Creating a design language is the first step to becoming a powerful brand. It gives you, and every member of your staff a structure and framework to match your brand and style with everything they do.
Here are some of the first steps you can take to build a design language for your brand:
Step one: Colouring
Choose a colour palette
These will be the 5 colours of your brand. They should complement each other but vary enough to give you a wide range of design options. Your primary palette should contain your logo colours
Choose a secondary palette
These will be your lesser-used colours. You can then assign ‘semantic meaning’ to your colours. This means colours associated with certain actions or results, your customers will understand how to ‘read’ your product and your page by how you use colour.
Think of how red generally indicated ‘danger’, or ‘cancel’, grey shows that a button can’t be clicked, green is ‘Ok’ or ‘accept’. A well-built design language can then make decisions for you, helping you create well-branded and consistent material faster than ever.
Coolors Is a great tool to help you choose a matching colour palette.
Step Two: Typeface
Your company name will need a font. Many companies choose to use a custom font here. This makes them more distinctive and less susceptible to being copied. Use this font very sparingly.
Secondary font pairing
A pair of complementary fonts that you can designate for headings and subheadings. Canva will help you choose a matching font pairing and your heading weight, colour and sizing
Choose a style for your fonts and offer variations on how to use them. Having a main heading style and two – three sub headings is a good start.
This will be the font to use for longer passages of texts such as descriptions, blogs, and emails. Legibility is the key here. Serif fonts are often used for paragraph text. But, as with everything to do with your branding, it ultimately depends on your taste, the message you want to present, and what matches the rest of your brand. Experiment with multiple fonts, view them together, in multiple sizes and in multiple formats before making your decision.
Even with just these elements, you have the makings of email templates, simple web pages, and blog posts that will all reinforce your brand.
Step Three: Going Deeper
You can then add as much detail as you like to your design language. The more you add, the more consistent your branding and design will be. It will also make it easier and faster to create new materials in your company’s style.
The Material design components can help you choose the elements you need to focus on to begin your design language. They cover everything from buttons and forms, to shadows and dimensions. There is no end to how detailed you can be, then every new project becomes faster and easier to plan.
Everything you produce will then match your company style. Your customers will then recognise your property, your images, your colours and brand from everything you produce.
This should be your final goal. To carve out a small combination of images and colours that are instantly recognisable as your brand.
Logos and branding can seem like periphery concerns, yet they are both foundations and assets of your company. Neglecting your branding hands a level of control over your business away. Your business and brand are what people say they are. Having a logo and a strong design concept allows you to have the first word when it comes to your business.
Property managers without a brand are wasting their energy adding value for guests and their owners. Make your brand the focus of your business then give your guests a way to remember you. This will help your business thrive in the future.
To find out more ways to build a brand that lasts, you can try Vreasy’s unique business platform for your business. Get a free consultation today.