03 Jul Beyond the logo: What is branding, + why all the confusion
There’s been A LOT of misconception around the discussion of logos and branding, and since this is the primary focus of my business, and in the spirit of the launch of this new site, I decided to write about Branding.
This is a massive topic with so much to consider, especially if you’re an entrepreneur just starting out. Even I was slightly confused when I decided to become a solopreneur, and I had background in marketing and advertising!
In my 15 years in the Graphic Design industry there have been many changes. Although the internet has been around much longer than this, it’s really only been in the past 15 years that it’s really exploded.
In January 1998 there were 75 million internet users world wide, and in January 2013, it’s risen to almost 3 billion users. (taken from www.internetworldstats.com)
The internet explosion has no doubt reinvented the way we communicate: both socially and with business. Companies are learning to market themselves differently, and branding has been at the helm of this transition. There have been many advantages for businesses with the expansion of the internet and some disadvantages, such as: limited customer interaction, less loyalty, more time researching/comparing vs purchasing, making building a brand on the internet more challenging.
Logo vs Brand: Are they the same thing?
Despite the confusion by many, a logo isn’t a brand and a brand is so much more than a logo. It is more than a set of colours and shapes or generic clipart. Granted, a logo is a critical component to any brand and business. More so, a brand is a reputation, it is a commitment, it is a promise. It’s a living, breathing emotional connection to consumers. It’s all of the elements that come together to create the image, and the brand’s image is about how a business is perceived by consumers. The impact of the image can be good or bad. In the past, a relatively successful brand could be achieved through bombardment and repetition. Since technology continues to grow and advance, companies are placing the consumer at the forefront of their branding efforts and creating, consumer-centric strategies. Consumers are much more savvy and discerning these days. That’s why it’s so important for companies to take the time to analyze consumers’ needs and provide solutions in a clear, well thought out strategy, that demonstrates to the consumer that you’re listening.
Consistency: Whatever the brand promises – it must stay true to that
Good branding consists of the experience that a company creates with it’s community, vendors, employees, public relations, and customers. The consistency of this experience establishes clarity and sends the message to the consumer that the company has integrity and reliability. That promise lives in consumers’ hearts and minds as an expectation. Ultimately, a company can plaster the same logo and colours across websites, social media platforms, billboards and magazines, but if there is no targeted consistency in the products, services, employees, and congruency with the messaging, then chances are they aren’t leveraging their true potential in the marketplace, and in the end it’s nothing more than haphazard advertising.
To recap what Branding is:
- All the combined impressions (yes, logos included) and experiences associated with a particular company, products or service
- What consumers relate to on rational and emotional levels
- Think: “image”
I hope this helps to clear up any misinformation. Now that you understand that a brand is much more than a logo, you can see how design is an important component. As you plan to create a logo, recognize that it’s actually a brand that you’ll be creating. Think about how it will be used. Will it be used on social networks, websites, packaging, business cards, stickers, clothing, pens, USB’s?
In the comments below, let me know if you have any questions.
Thanks so much for reading!