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What is the difference between a logo and a brand?

June 23, 2012 | Posted in: Articles & News, Branding, Uncategorized

Many companies are formed without a flight path and therefore their logo is created without a brand strategy. This logo can serve them well for some time – they probably inadvertently develop a brand along the way…and there is nothing wrong with that if you are prepared for some hiccups along the way, except that you may like to read on to consider whether at this stage you are really wanting to just develop a logo or build a brand.

At some point companies that are inadvertently evolving their brand may come unstuck when they realise their logo cannot be broadly applied to things they had not considered on start-up. For example, a company that starts out as a home-based business may have difficulty when they move into office premises later on and realise their logo doesn’t lend itself easily to building signage (e.g. the logo is an awkward layout or shape!). They may also find that their logo does not sit comfortably with the diversification of their work (e.g. they started as a massage therapy business using the logo of MFU – Massage for you, but have since added beauty therapy). Or they may have trouble communicating to their employees what their service expectations are because they haven’t thought through their brand values.

A brand encompasses ALL of information connected with a product or service. A brand typically includes a name, logo, and other visual elements such as images or symbols. It also includes the set of expectations associated with a product or service which occur to people when they think about the company. Such people include employees of the brand owner, people involved with distribution, sale or supply of the product or service, and ultimate consumers. Good examples of strong brands include Starbucks, Nike, Levis, Gap etc. These brands know what they stand for and what their values are, they are relevant, have personality, they are consistent with their messaging and design, they are emotive, they have metaphorical stories that evolve over time, they can invent or reinvent an entire category and they are in it for the long-haul. Their brand strategies dictate not only how the product/service communicates and interacts with the customer, but how their employees interact with the customer (right down to the messaging on their voice mail systems) and how the company interacts with it’s employees. The “brand” considers the entire customer and employee experience, both independently and inter-dependently.

In summary, a logo is only a visual symbol to represent your company. An effective logo does not require a person to read, is distinctive and instantly recognisable, and conveys something about the brand experience of your product or service. A brand is the impression that your product or service leaves on a customer. It’s how people feel about and what people think of their experience with your product or service. A logo can be used to help customers recognise a brand, but is not required for a brand to be effective. In order for a logo to be effective, a customer has to come into contact with the brand in its intended context before the logo can mean anything to the customer. This interaction can either be hap-hazard with mixed results, or it can be planned with objectives in mind, increasing the chances of success.

There is a different process and time (therefore cost) involved in creating a brand vs just a logo – it pays to be sure of your goals and expectations before venturing down either path. Either way, Flex Marketing & Design is here to help:

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