The short answer to that is Your Brand.
Before you can do anything, you need to correctly identify your brand and define your brand values. Then and only then can you even begin to think about putting a face to your brand - giving it the right outfit, hairdo and make up - making it entirely appropriate to your brand and your brand values and to the markets you aim to attract. In other words, making it fit for purpose - making sure it represents your business and what your business stands for.
Every idiot thinks they can "design" a logo. I see the results all the time, every day, every where I look. Little graphic things that are sometimes even quite pretty, but that in actual fact mean nothing, say nothing and worse of all, do nothing for your business.
A logo is only 10% of your Brand, but it's the face that the public see and (hopefully) learn to recognise. Logo and brand design is probably the most crucial and specialist area of all graphic design. It should be a major investment for any business, and no business worth its salt should use anyone less than a brand design professional to produce it, because getting it wrong could be a disaster.
And by the way, logo and brand design is a specialist design field not taught on web developer courses. It is not something that you should let your web designer 'have a crack at', no matter what largesse crap they tell you! HTML does not = Logo Design in any stretch of any imagination apart from their own. And the same goes for your friend's husband or your sister-in-law's neice or the bloke down the road who was good at art at school. (Weren't we all?!)
Your logo is the face of your brand.
It needs to be memorable, recognisable and distinctive. It needs to
reflect your brand values.
Creating the brand
I help companies create brands. Some from the very beginning and some
later on when a company decides to take their business to a whole new
level. Re-branding involves taking a good look at what exists and
out what is needed to make it work better or more usually, properly.
Managing the brand
the brand is the first step and having a plan about how to make it work
for you is just as crucial. If all you have is a new logo or website or
brochure and you don't know how you're going to manage your brand, then
you're probably going to throw away all the money it cost to have done. And it should cost money. No one who knows what they're doing will do it for free or 'on the cheap'.
management is about creating a strategy. It's about looking for
opportunities to use
your brand to engage with your customers. It's not just about one thing
either. Don't make the mistake of thinking that a new website and a
Facebook page is all you need; brand management is about maintaining
relationships with your customers through every available appropriate avenue. Websites are crucial, but they're not the answer to life, the universe and everything.
So if you're serious about having a proper logo with a good healthy brand behind it, please call me, and not the bloke who's going to be doing your website or your daughter's friend's uncle's aunt. Do it right first time!