Why Your Logo Isn’t Your Brand
It’s 2016 and since starting this blog was on the 2015 to-do list I suppose it is time to get on with it. The blog isn’t the only thing new planned for this year. I have lots of fun and exciting things up my sleeve, so be sure to check back often to make sure you are in the know or just make it easy and sign for the newsletter at the bottom of the page.
So, there is a BIG, I mean giant, misconception that I keep hearing out there in the non-profit, healthcare and small business world that a business’s logo is its brand. So, today I’m going to layout the difference between your brand, your logo and your visual identity.
Sometimes in passing conversations with fellow business owners they quickly and assuredly inform me that they have their brand all under control, but here is the reality. Occasionally, they actually do have a good handle on their brand. Sometimes they have pieces of a visual identity established, but most often they have a logo. At hearing this declaration I internally cringe and try to decide if the time is right to jump on my soapbox to provide some free advice. So, I am alleviating my internal struggle by writing this post.
Your brand is the ever-shifting opinion consumers have about your business or organization. Their opinion is developed through keen (and sometimes subconscious) observation of imagery, messaging and experiences related to your business, services, products and people.
Your brand is found at the intersection of the messaging, visual identity and the customer experiences you provide. It lives in the public’s opinion of your authenticity, credibility, and what you represent.
The key to developing a strong brand is knowing who you are, what you stand for and what your goals are. Without answers to these questions it becomes hard to consistently craft imagery, messaging and experiences for customers to connect with.
Your Visual Identity
Your visual identity is the set of graphic elements used to consistently represent your overarching brand. These graphics give customers easily recognizable elements to connect to the messaging they hear and experiences they have. It includes your logo, but it should also include specific color palettes or graphics, photographic or illustrative styles, textures, patterns and more. But I must remind you again, without the messaging and experience aspects these visual elements are simply decoration.
Your logo is the graphic symbol used consistently to represent your organization or business. It is one very small piece to a very big puzzle, all of which isn’t even visual. So, when you think of our brand only in the terms of your logo you put far too much work and responsibility on this one item. Likewise, businesses and organizations put the responsibility of telling the entire brand story on one little graphic. In turn, that graphic gets so muddied with words and graphics it is confusing and unreadable. The only job of the logo is to be a symbol that represents your organization or business. That’s it. It doesn’t need to fully explain what you do or tell your story.
Is your logo an important piece of the puzzle? Yes, a strong logo definitely puts your business off on the right foot in establishing your organization or business as professional.
If your business already has a logo, can you build from it? Maybe, but first I would suggest making sure your logo represents your mission and vision in a simple, transferable way.
Is your logo where your branding consideration should begin and end? Absolutely not. Your branding starts with answering a lot of questions about who your organizations is at its core, what values it holds and what your goals are. Without these foundational questions answered, it will be impossible to build consistency throughout your messaging, graphics and experiences.
Now that you have a better understanding of the difference between your brand, your visual identity, and your logo, learn more about how we help clients build strategic cohesive brands over on our portfolio.