A logo is not your brand, nor is it your identity. Logo design, identity design and branding all have different roles, that together, form a perceived image for a business or product. There has been some recent discussion on the web about this topic, about your logo not being your brand, although this may be true, it still doesn’t clarify any of the differences between ‘brand’, ‘identity’ and ‘logo’.
What is a brand? – The perceived emotional corporate image as a whole.
What is an identity? – The visual aspects that form part of the overall brand.
What is a logo? – A logo identifies a business in its simplest form via the use of a mark or icon.
To explain this in more detail, let’s start at the top – the brand… what is branding?
Branding is certainly not a light topic – whole publications & hundreds of books have been written on the topic, however to put it in a nutshell you could describe a ‘brand’ as an organisation, service or product with a ‘personality’ that is shaped by the perceptions of the audience. On that note, it should also be stated that a designer cannot “make” a brand – only the audience can do this. A designer forms the foundation of the brand.
Many people believe a brand only consists of a few elements – some colours, some fonts, a logo, a slogan and maybe some music added in too. In reality, it is much more complicated than that. You might say that a brand is a ‘corporate image’.
The fundamental idea and core concept behind having a ‘corporate image’ is that everything a company does, everything it owns and everything it produces should reflect the values and aims of the business as a whole. It is the consistency of this core idea that makes up the company, driving it, showing what it stands for, what it believes in and why they exist. It is not purely some colours, some typefaces, a logo and a slogan.
As an example, let’s look at the well known IT company, Apple. Apple as a company, projects a humanistic corporate culture and a strong corporate ethic, one which is characterized by volunteerism, support of good causes & involvement in the community. These values of the business are evident throughout everything they do, from their innovative products and advertising, right through to their customer service. Apple is an emotionally humanist brand that really connects with people – when people buy or use their products or services; they feel part of the brand, like a tribe even. It is this emotional connection that creates their brand – not purely their products and a bite sized logo.
What is identity design?
One major role in the ‘brand’ or ‘corporate image’ of a company is its identity.
In most cases, identity design is based around the visual devices used within a company, usually assembled within a set of guidelines. These guidelines that make up an identity usually administer how the identity is applied throughout a variety of mediums, using approved colour palettes, fonts, layouts, measurements and so forth. These guidelines ensure that the identity of the company is kept coherent, which in turn, allows the brand as a whole, to be recognizable.
The identity or ‘image’ of a company is made up of many visual devices:
• A Logo (The symbol of the entire identity & brand)
• Stationery (Letterhead + business card + envelopes, etc.)
• Marketing Collateral (Flyers, brochures, books, websites, etc.)
• Products & Packaging (Products sold and the packaging in which they come in)
• Apparel Design (Tangible clothing items that are worn by employees)
• Signage (Interior & exterior design)
• Messages & Actions (Messages conveyed via indirect or direct modes of communication)
• Other Communication (Audio, smell, touch, etc.)
• Anything visual that represents the business.
All of these things make up an identity and should support the brand as a whole. The logo however, is the corporate identity and brand all wrapped up into one identifiable mark. This mark is the avatar and symbol of the business as a whole.
What is a logo?
To understand what a logo is, we must first understand what it is for.
A logo is for… identification.
A logo identifies a company or product via the use of a mark, flag, symbol or signature. A logo does not sell the company directly nor rarely does it describe a business. Logo’s derive their meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolizes, not the other way around – logos are there to identity, not to explain. In a nutshell, what a logo means is more important than what it looks like.
To illustrate this concept, think of logos like people. We prefer to be called by our names – James, Dorothy, John – rather than by the confusing and forgettable description of ourselves such as “the guy who always wears pink and has blonde hair”. In this same way, a logo should not literally describe what the business does but rather, identify the business in a way that is recognizable and memorable.
It is also important to note that only after a logo becomes familiar, does it function the way it is intended to do much alike how we much must learn people’s names to identify them.
The logo identifies a business or product in its simplest form.
Brand –The perceived emotional corporate image as a whole.
Identity – The visual aspects that form part of the overall brand.
Logo – Identifies a business in its simplest form via the use of a mark or icon.
For over 10 years Belle Media has been assisting clients as they build their brands with solid business identities and creative logos. Belle Media has helped clients launch new products, websites and brick and mortar businesses. Belle Media can help your business realize a successful marketing plan while providing ongoing web support.
Special thanks to Just Creative for this interesting explanation.
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What is a Brand…? 5 Factors that Define a Brand
The concept of branding is a confusing topic that many seasoned marketers don’t even clearly understand. What is a brand? What is branding? It seems like a simple question, but the answer is anything but simple. If you’re confused by your brand, your customers will be confused, too. The last thing you want to do is waste time and money by developing a weak uncertain brand.
1. The Brand Promise
At its core, a brand is a promise to consumers. What will consumers get when they purchase a product or service under your brand umbrella? The brand promise incorporates more than just those tangible products and services. It also includes the feelings that consumers get when they use your products and services.
Example: Think about your favorite brand and what that brand promises to you. If you’re a Nike fan, the brand might represent athleticism, performance, strength, good health, and fun. Your brand promises something to consumers. What is it?
2. The Brand Perceptions
Brands are built by consumers, not companies. Ultimately, it’s the way consumers perceive a brand that defines it. It doesn’t matter what you think your brand promises. The only thing that matters is how consumers perceive your brand. You need to work to develop consumer perceptions that accurately reflect your brand, or your brand is doomed to limited growth potential.
Example: What are consumers’ perceptions of Lady Gaga? You can bet everything she does is meant to create specific consumer perceptions.
3. The Brand Expectations
Based on your brand promise, consumers develop expectations for your brand. When they pull their hard-earned money out of their pockets and purchase your products or services, they assume their expectations for your brand will be met. If your brand doesn’t meet consumer expectations in every interaction, consumers will become confused by your brand and turn away from it in search of another brand that does meet their expectations in every interaction.
Example: Imagine Rolls Royce launched a $10,000 car. To say the least, consumers would be extremely confused because such a product doesn’t meet their expectations for a luxury brand.
4. The Brand Persona
Rather than asking, “What is a brand?” a better question might be, “Who is a brand?” Every brand has a persona. Think of your brand as a person. What is that person like? What can you expect when you interact with that person? From appearance to personality and everything in between, your brand persona is one that consumers will evaluate and judge before they do business with you.
Example: Think of it this way. Who would you rather spend time with — Apple or Microsoft? These two brands have very different brand personas. Your brand should have one, too.
5. The Brand Elements
Your brand is represented by the intangible elements described above as well as tangible elements such as your brand logo, messaging, packaging, and so on. All of these elements must work together to consistently communicate your brand promise, shape brand perceptions, meet brand expectations, and define your brand persona. If one element is awry, your entire brand can suffer.
Example: There is a reason why that blue Tiffany’s box has been around for so long. It means something to consumers.
Bottom-line, a brand is clear, reliable, and believable to both your consumers and your employees. However, brands aren’t built overnight. Before you can define and live your brand, you need to do some research so you don’t waste time taking your brand in a direction that won’t allow you to reach your goals. You must understand your competitors and audience, so you can develop a brand that promises the right things to the right people. Research should be first, definition, strategy, and execution should follow, and in time, your brand will grow.
For over 10 years Belle Media has been building business brands for clients across a variety of industries. Belle Media has helped clients launch new products, websites and brick and mortar businesses. Belle Media can help your business realize it’s marketing plan and goals while providing ongoing web support.
Special thanks to AYTM for this detailed explanation.
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The Dancing Tail Collar System will be available for purchase soon!!
Featuring 8 styles of interchangeable designs:
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