The Difference Between Branding & Your Brand.

Q: It’s all in a logo right? Nike, Microsoft, Apple, Google.

A: Specifically? No.

The reason for this is a brand is a sum-total of the entire experience an audience, culture and era as they engage with your brand.

Logos become a shorthand to those experiences, but in reality they are just as they seem - simple icons, lines & text.

Something we regularly encounter are briefs to create branding, but without scope to help develop the brand. So while we can create a logo, a wordmark or a hallmark our general response is usually to ensure that our clients understand the power of ‘LOGO +’. That is logo + <everything else>.

Pillars to consider when strengthening your brand (beyond your branding):

Customer Experience

Think about everything your customer does, thinks, feels on their way to buying your product. At what points do they encounter your brand or engage with your staff? On what platform do they engage with you? Is the process smooth? Are there barriers or things that slow them down at all? How can you ensure their customer journey is as smooth, effortless, errorless and exciting? Lastly, how many other brands are they in bed with before they make a final decision? In that mindset, customer experience is everything.

Branding Constancy

Agencies harp on all the time about ‘the brand guidelines’, but this is because it’s actually one of the most important documents a brand has - although this focuses around 'branding’ which is only a small part of your brand, what it does is helps to ensure everything your customer sees is consistent (between assets and over time) and professional. The single biggest challenge for new brands is often making sure their brand is shown in the best light from a visual and digital point of view. For brands who are well established, it’s when their branding is used in a way that doesn’t fit in with how the branding has been constructed. The best example is you’d never see an upside down Nike swoosh, or an Apple logo without the bite. You’d also not see a Google logo in black and you’d almost never see a Facebook document without the ‘San Fransisco’ font they’ve updated many times over the years. Consistency matters, because anything else is sloppy and starts to look unprofessional.

Two-way communications

You can’t feedback, review, comment or agree/disagree with a logo. It’s just a thing, but you can have a conversation with a brand. So when our world is almost entirely two way (social media/review culture) it’s monumentally important to realise that just a logo, a font and your colours isn’t going to cut it. Brands can’t avoid negative press by updating their logo (or can they, maybe we need to delve into that one). The bottom line here is people have a conversation with your brand almost as if it’s a living thing, and with trust levels for brands now outperforming government, it’s important to remember this.

Logos can be changed overnight, but brands cannot

In some respects, a logo is transient, amorphous, combinations of pixels and colours. Sure, a lot of value is instilled in some logos, but in most instances, a logo is easily changed overnight. Building brand loyalty, differentiation and preference for most companies is about what they ‘do’, not how recognisable their logo is. Sure, you might get there one day, but in most cases your customers may not even notice your new logo update. A great example is the most recent UBER rebrand. There are rumours about how much the rebrand cost (think x,xxx,xxx) but when poling the general market, normal users didn’t seem to notice until it was pointed out. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t brilliant and really well pulled off from a visual perspective, but it means that people care less about logos than the functionality of the service/product they’ve purchased. How many people would have cared if they changed their logo vs if the app went down globally. I think we all know the answer to that.

So, how much of your brand is your logo? You tell us, and let us know if you need some unparalleled design expertise.


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John Paul Wager