A brand is just a great logo, right? The Nike ‘swoosh’, the red Target ‘target’, the three-pointed Mercedes star, the McDonald’s ‘M’.
But keep thinking a little more about some of the world’s most famous brands. Among others, we’re talking about the likes of Coca-Cola, Google, Apple, Disney and Ferrari. They all have great logos, but now imagine that they change their logos completely. Are they still great brands?
Of course. So what’s the difference, exactly?
Firstly, it’s important to understand that while great branding is more than just a great logo, a great logo is nonetheless important.
But there are plenty of other elements to great branding. Take away the Ferrari ‘Prancing Horse’ and keep thinking about the perception that people have of this iconic Ferrari brand and its cars.
How to get there? Obviously it takes some time. But creating an excellent brand identity also requires some resources, planning and creative expertise, with the end result being a brand ‘experience’. So while you can have an excellent logo, it’s possible to have a fairly poor overall brand.
What is a logo?
We all know what a logo is. What it should be, of course, is easy to recognise, easy to reproduce, something that quickly and visually represents you and your message, and something that can be deployed across the spectrum of your branding in terms of colours and style. It should be something that causes whoever looks at it to be able to make an immediate connection with who you are, what you do and what you stand for.
What is branding?
A logo is a big part of branding – but your logo is not your brand. In short, your brand is everything that goes into how you visually and otherwise interact, market and identify your business, and how you represent and differentiate it from your competitors. It is your message, your communication, your business’ visual appearance, your voice, and your overall representation of your product, passion, excellence and customer service.
What is a brand strategy?
A brand strategy is where your logo and your branding come together and interact. So while your logo is just the graphic representation of your business and name, a brand strategy is where it all combines in terms of effectively communicating who you are to your intended audience. It should do this by wrapping up your message, showing what you offer, demonstrating how you are the best choice among your competitors, and much more.
Combining logo and branding
Let’s go back to that famous Nike ‘swoosh’. Why is it a great logo? It’s simple, it’s memorable, it can be applied across the spectrum of its branding and it evokes thoughts of speed.
But Nike’s branding involves more than that: it’s the famous commercials, the packaging, the sponsorships, the slogans, the visual appearance of shops and websites, and so on. It is how the business manages to communicate with you.
So how does this all affect you?
You may not want to be Nike, but you still need much more than a logo. So while you could easily engage the services of a single graphic designer to come up with a good logo for your business, that’s not all you’re looking for.
In short, you need a team that can come up with a great logo and then effectively create an environment so that logo combined with your entire message reaches the people you want it to target. Remember, your ‘branding’ is the sum total of a much larger collection of graphic elements.
Here is where too many businesses who use a single graphic designer to ‘do a logo’ get it wrong:
1. Potential customer sees a great logo
2. Potential customer reads ‘message’ of logo and knows the brand is good
3. Potential customer becomes actual customer.
If only it was that simple. Actually, it’s more like this:
1. Potential customer sees a great logo
2. Potential customer makes a link between the logo and their experience of the brand.
3. Potential customer has an intellectual or emotional response to the brand, which could be neutral, positive or negative.
4. Potential customer may or may not become an actual customer.
In this way, it’s easy to see how branding is much more than a logo.
So what can a branding team do for you?
In order to turn your potentially neutral or negative image into actual customers, you need great branding. And just as a single player could not win the AFL Grand Final on their own, to do that, you need a branding team.
Together, a team will consider, weigh up and devise every aspect of what the brand is, what it should represent, and then integrate all of these elements throughout the design process. How do they do that? Like any team, a branding team has individuals with a range of expertise doing what they do best – pulling together to form an overall implementation strategy.
In the end, you’ll have a great logo but also strategies for colours, fonts, styles, signage, websites, uniforms, ads, content, packaging and much more. All of these things will communicate to your intended audience not just what you sell, but what your values and goals are.
In short, you’ll not just have a logo, but … a brand!
So while it may be a little cheaper to leapfrog a full branding team and stick with your single graphic designer, it’s crucial to recognise that your brand is not just a part of your business – it is your business. Therefore, a branding team is arguably one of the most important investments you’ll ever make, and one that will potentially pay you back in the most lucrative way.
In summary, there are three parts to consider here:
1. Your product or service
2. Your message
3. Memorably communicating 1 & 2 to the world.
To find out how we can help, get in touch today.