Brand isn’t logo

When most people hear brand they think “logo”. A logo is one part of your brand which is a simple yet recognisable element of your business. It is the flag you do business under. Flags are actually a good example if we use countries as an analogy, since it could be said the UK and Chinese flags are types of logos.

Sticking with the country flag analogy, if you take away the flag then a country will usually still be recognisable regardless. Whether this be landscape, landmarks, language, mannerisms, architecture or cuisine; a brand will still be intact even if you change the logo. That is assuming you have a strong brand identity anyway, if the only thing differentiating you is a logo then you have more fundamental issues.

Personally I think if you want to create a brand then a logo should be one of the last things you think about.

As Seth Godin has said:

A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.

define: Brand by Seth Godin

So personally I think the focus on building a brand should be how you set expectations, how your craft an experience and how you develop your brand story. Once you have these in place, everything you need will fall into place based on answering these questions:

  1. what do you want the customer to experience (or not experience)?
  2. how will you set expectations for your customers?
  3. can you tell the story of what it is you are trying to do better than the competition?

Answering these questions will help you deliver on your brand promises and also set a value that people are willing to spend to have them met.

You are responsible for a large part of it, but after a point the brand is a story that your customers tell themselves and other people. The brand story for a customer could be nostalgia of how someone remembers spending time with a loved one. It can be a feeling of getting pumped when they see their sports team they support. It can be the memory someone has of how people look at them wearing a particular suit. It can be the promise of being desirable from wearing a fragrance or choosing the right outfit.

Logo is less noticeable then all the other components working together such as:

  • Packaging
  • Colour scheme
  • Typography
  • Language and communication style
  • Slogans
  • Ethos
  • Company policy
  • How the phone is answered
  • Communication style
  • The decor

I’ve heard it said about some products that “they look like they could’ve been built by Apple”. This adds to my point that if you have all the other components in place then a logo is almost irrelevant for someone recognising your business.

There are also many other things I haven’t even considered as examples. Every part of your brand however should be decided as a response to how you will answer the three questions raised above.

Just think beyond your logo while developing a brand.

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