“Your brand is what other people say about you when you are not in the room.”

It might be confusing to you when you read the phrase: Your logo is not your brand.  Too often logo design is treated as being identical as your brand and although they go hand-in-hand, it is not the same. A logo must come before a brand, but many businesses overlook the true potential of what a brand can and will accomplish, settling for just a logo.

Let us take a look at what exactly the difference between a logo and brand identity is.  A logo is in its most basic form the graphic symbol with a typographic part that represents your business. It can also be purely typographic with no additional symbol, like Coca-Cola. A logo should never be messy and complex to distract, but should rather be appropriate, memorable, simple, timeless and versatile. Your logo is not a strategy and is purely there for identification purposes.

An important complement of your business’s logo is its identity. A logo and identity are inseparable. Once a logo has been designed it is made useful on many different applications. When talking about identity, it simply means applying the logo to anything visual, for example on business cards, a letterhead, marketing collateral, signage etc.

Identity is in essence the vehicle for your logo and is, just like the logo, purely for identification purposes. To ensure that your brand’s identity is consistently applied the rules are placed in a document called an identity manual. Typical elements that form part of this document is to name but a few, fonts, colours and imagery.

Only in time when your businesses logo becomes recognised and your brand identity starts working, you might start using it without the name, like how Nike uses the swish. What is your brand and how can it tell clients what to expect?

Your business’s brand is without a doubt much more than just the logo or the brand identity. The logo is just a ‘hint’ about your business – like the tip of an iceberg, while your brand is the substance that lies underneath. It is the way you endeavour to do the things you believe in and how clients and staff members ultimately ‘perceive’ you. Jeff Bezos, the founder of said: “Your brand is what other people say about you when you are not in the room.”

As you can see, branding is a serious element of any business. It is the emotion behind what your clients and staff members experience when they interact with your business on any level. Having money and a branch in every province does not create a good brand. Your facilities and people makes your brand. The way you communicate and how your marketing content is written shapes your brand. A good reputation and providing a positive client experience is what allows your brand to stand out.

World-wide Apple is known for their simplistic and smooth approach to all things technology-related.

From their stores to their products to their keynote speeches, this brand stands for simplicity and is well-communicated. It is an emotional experience that people want to be a part of. Your brand is therefore not just your logo as it can tell clients what to expect.

Do bear in mind that branding takes time because it is something that is constantly being formed by the public and your staff’s perception. You should therefore have a clear strategy to develop a brand that will endure and remain timeless.

A designer might lay the foundation of a brand visually but it is your brand’s audience who truly shapes it. The best logos are typically the best brands, but it is possible to establish a brilliant brand with an ordinary logo. Branding is much deeper than mere visual representation.  Ultimately your brand gives your clients and staff something to believe in!

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.

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