I know, it’s an awkward stated headline, but I wrote it that way intentionally because it clarifies the point. In business we often hear the term ‘logo’ used interchangeably with ‘brand’. However, while these 2 terms are inextricably linked, they are not synonymous. A brand is so much more than its logo. It encompasses the persona, essence, and positioning of a brand. While brand logos play a significant role in a brand’s identity, “a logo does not a brand make’.
Case in point: When you see a bitten apple logo, you instantly think of Apple. But is it just the logo that resonates with you? It’s the association of innovation, sleek and minimalistic design, superior quality, and a certain lifestyle that comes to mind. This total experience is the brand.
The Brand Beyond the Logo
A brand is the sum of all experiences, feelings, and perceptions a customer has with your company. It’s your company’s personality and character, the promises you make and keep, the values you uphold, and the way you communicate with the world.
Let’s talk Coca-Cola: Their brand is not just about their unique logo or signature red and white colour scheme. It’s about happiness, togetherness, refreshing moments, and universal appeal. Coca-Cola has consistently positioned itself as more than a beverage company – it sells an experience, a feeling. Their ads, marketing campaigns, social responsibilities, and even the tone of their communications, all resonate with this brand essence. And I must point out that it’s the evolution of its brand essence. Coca Cola has been around for a long time.
Logos – Part of the Larger Whole
A logo, while essential, is only a visual representation that triggers recognition for a brand. It’s like the cover of a book that invites you to dive deeper into the story – the story is the brand itself.
Okay, I can’t talk about logos without bringing up Nike‘s famous ‘swoosh’ logo. The simple, fluid design symbolizes motion and speed, fitting for a brand that outfits athletes. But Nike’s brand goes beyond the logo. The Nike brand is about motivation, aspiration, performance, and breaking barriers. The tagline “Just Do It” echoes this sentiment and has driven association of that sentiment right into the swoosh.
The Persona, Essence, and Positioning
Creating a successful brand involves establishing a strong brand persona, essence, and positioning. The brand persona is like the character of your brand – how it behaves, communicates, and interacts with its audience. The essence is the heart and soul of your brand, its fundamental nature or quality. And brand positioning is how your brand distinguishes itself from competitors in the market.
Take Tesla for instance. It has positioned itself as not just a car manufacturer, but a pioneer in sustainable energy solutions. Its brand persona is innovative, forward-thinking, and bold. Albeit, I would say that has more to do with Elan Musk than any branding initiative! The essence of Tesla revolves around sustainability, cutting-edge technology, and luxurious performance. Tesla’s logo, although simple and elegant, does not alone make Tesla the brand it is today. It’s the larger narrative that brings the brand to life.
In a nutshell, a logo is an essential part of your brand, but it’s only a piece of the bigger branding picture which extends far beyond it.
What does branding mean to you, beyond the logo? Share your thoughts here!