Your logo, your brand and your corporate identity are all separate things. There is quite a lot of confusion around this topic, so I thought I’d take this chance to clarify the difference between the three, the roles they play and how they interrelate. Here goes!
Regardless of whether you’re a multi-million dollar corporation or a lone freelancer working from home, your logo, identity and brand are all important. Used well, they can yield countless benefits (i.e., help you win new customers, create loyalty among your existing ones, support your marketing goals, raise your profile and build financial value). So let’s examine them in a bit more detail – starting at the top.
The concept of ‘brand’ is tricky to get your head around. That’s because it is largely intangible. It’s a feeling or a ‘vibe’ about a company, product or service that is shaped by the perceptions of the consumer. It’s the essence or promise of what will be delivered or experienced.
You can’t brand something. You have to earn your brand. It’s what customers connect with – and comes as a result of building real, passionate relationships with your audience.
When creating a brand, you need to identify the following:
Once established, a brand can be developed through various methods and channels – e.g., images and advertising that contain consistent messaging, consumer recommendations and word of mouth, direct interactions with the company (and its people) and real-life experiences using a product or service.
To build a strong and trusted brand, consistency is vital. Everything your business does, owns and produces should reflect the brand values and the aims of the company as a whole.
A designer cannot create a brand. Only the audience can do this. What I do, as a designer, is help you lay the foundations.
While corporate identity is separate to the brand, it plays an important supportive role – in that it helps to strengthen recognition, influence perception and reinforce core values.
A simple way to define identity is to say that it covers all the visual aspects of a business. For example logo, stationery (letterhead, business cards etc), marketing collateral (flyers, brochures, websites etc), products and packaging, apparel and signage (interior & exterior design). It also covers ‘voice’ – i.e., how a business chooses to communicate and use language – the overall tone and feel.
All the elements that make up identity are generally constructed within a formal set of guidelines that dictate how they should be applied across a variety of platforms and mediums (e.g., using approved colours, fonts, and layouts etc). This guide ensures that the identity of a company is kept consistent, recongnisable and coherent, which in turn, enhances and reinforces the brand as a whole.
A logo is best defined by its key purpose, and that’s to identify. It is an instant visual representation, signifying a company or product with a mark, symbol, signature or icon. Logo design is usually simple. It is not intended to sell or describe a business. Its job is merely to be recognisable and (preferably!) memorable.
It can take awhile for a logo get established out in the marketplace. Only after it becomes familiar does it function the way it is intended to.
Why does any of this matter?
Good question! A logo on its own is not going to achieve a lot. Your customers can’t possibly get the full experience of your company or business simply by looking at one small mark. They need active engagement, positive reinforcement and a genuine connection to back it up. This comes (over time) with the development of identity and brand.
It’s also a hugely competitive world out there, and only the strongest, smartest brands rise above the noise to be noticed—and remembered.
If you’re after superior branding and design solutions that will help your customers and prospects distinguish your brand from the rest, talk to me today.
Anthony Simons (Director)
09 392 5889