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Your Logo is Not a Brand

“My business needs a new logo.” That’s a phrase we hear often from people as they start to think about branding their business. But let’s be clear: A logo is not a brand, and a brand is not a logo. It’s a common misconception that these two are interchangeable.

So, what is a brand? What is a logo? And what do you need to be thinking and talking about when it comes to branding and marketing your business? We’ll dive into that here, but first, let’s talk about what a brand isn’t.

What a brand isn’t

A brand is not a logo. It’s not the colors, fonts or image style you use. A brand isn’t the advertisements, networking or sales efforts you do. It’s not the product or service you provide. Also, it’s not you, the business owner, or the type of customer you sell to. Finally, it’s not the customer service you provide or the price you charge.

What a brand is

A brand, however, is all of the above. A brand is how you communicate your value and culture in various ways. It is a strategically united front communicating your unique perspective and approach within your market.

In blind taste tests, most people cannot tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi, but chances are you would choose one over the other. You don’t choose Coke because of the logo. You choose Coke because at some point you became loyal to that brand. This is not accidental, it is a conscious effort made by these businesses to garner your favor.

Branding is the marketing practice of positioning a product or service in a particular market. It is the strategic effort to make people feel and connect to a business and can give it a competitive edge in many markets.

You might also be interested in: 10 Reasons Why You Need a Brand Strategy

Why bring this up

A logo should be simple, unique and embody the vibe of the business. We like to say that a stranger describing your logo would assign the same attributes to the logo as it would the company.

The business goal of any logo is to work its way into our culture’s visual lexicon,. At a glance it should communicate all of the things remembered about that business. Over time it absorbs meaning and becomes more and more valuable.

The Nike logo cost $35* to design back in 1971, but if you tried to buy it now for $100 million, Phil Knight would be insulted. That’s because over time it has absorbed all of the info you associate with Nike.

*It is worth mentioning that Phil Knight did, after Nike’s success in the ‘80s, give Carolyn Davidson an undisclosed amount of company shares.

What does this have to do with branding. 

Apples to apples, if you are contracting someone to do branding and they don’t do strategic workshopping, you are not doing branding. Yes, someone can create a new logo for you and charge you for it, but having that shiny, new symbol probably won’t get you closer to accomplishing your goals. In fact, it could be doing damage to your brand.

When brand strategy is used to inform communication and marketing, it has more potential to move the needle. Your business is making and doing things. Branding just makes sure all of the things you are doing are working toward a common goal, defining your value to your customer. By planning how you want people to think about your business, you have a better chance of controlling that narrative, gaining new customers and growing your business. Through strategy workshops, we can define the brand and then execute on creative and marketing that is designed to support the brand goals.

Dont make the mistake of starting with the new shiny logo without establishing who your brand is.

You’re not alone, we can help!

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