What's the difference between a logo and a brand?
It can feel overwhelming, all this talk of branding and logos that pops up on platforms so I thought I'd explain a little about what a brand is, and what a logo is.
I've worked in companies who haven't had a brand and seen all of these scenarios happen.
- Inconsistent visual so potential and existing clients aren't sure if this is the right company. The danger is that they won't feel secure or worse, mistake the company for a competitor.
- Different messages. Branding isn't just the logo but it's about the tone of voice and approach. It may include the reason why a company was founded, the ethics and the ethos which are part of the identity. Any communication that doesn't reflect this is spotted and for all the bad reasons.
- Frequent logo updates, changes of business direction, new words and changes in tone of voice are alarming to clients, stakeholders and partners. It's fine to make changes but they should be strategic and not the result of a late night conversation or as a response to what a competitor's latest updates.
- Inability to subcontract work. If the branding is in the mind, the business owner will spend hours, days even, trying to explain this and often decide it's not worth it. Investing in a written brand makes it much easier to have others work for the business.
What sets a brand apart from a logo? Why do you need a brand and a logo?
The Oxford English Dictionary says this:
A logo is all about identification. Logos are created around the product or service and aim to identify, not explain or sell. A logo is not a strategy, but rather a company’s 'face' to the world. Logos must be memorable, simple and timeless, leaving room for what the logo actually represents. Busy and complicated logos that are poorly designed simply distract from what is actually trying to identified.
A company’s logo and identity are wedded together. When talking about identity, we are talking about stationery, marketing collateral, packaging, signage... anything visual. Identity is the vehicle for a logo and, just like a logo, is purely for identification purposes.
What's a brand then?
A brand is an ethos behind what a customer feels, sees and tastes when they interact with your company on any level. It is your business beliefs and goals. As you might guess, a brand really is your personality and along with that personality comes numerous associations so it has to work a lot harder than your logo.
Brilliant branding is a big step forward because it is something that is open to public perception and therefore critique. A creative will form the foundation of the visual brand, it's the audience who shape it. So it's really important that goals, ethics and image connect to the brand.
Understanding how you and product or service are seen enables you to make informed branding decisions and develop a brand that will endure and remain timeless. It should be ubiquitous, consistent and follow a strategy. Make it engaging.
How to brand a small business
For small businesses branding is daunting. What does a thoughtful and impactful brand look like on a small scale for a small business? It's about creating a positive perception through clear, concise and consistent communication. Having a huge budget actually doesn’t mean you have a better brand. Being a massive global business doesn't make any difference. Or a luscious logo. Communication and a positive experience for your audience are what makes a good brand.