It’s common for clients to refer to their logo as their brand, when in fact it’s really one of many cues that connect your audience to your brand.
With so many definitions and varied references to brands and “branding”, it’s easy to understand why everyone is so confused. It doesn’t help to see some professionals offering vague or difficult to understand definitions and even acquiescing to improper use to attract customers or gain SEO ranking.
I offer you this definition:
Your brand is the relationship you have with your audience.
This is something you have to earn and it’s important to lay the right foundation. Basically, your brand is every single touch-point your customer has with your company. A company’s brand, while intangible, is its strongest asset.
Now to help clarify, let’s see how the logo and brand are connected.
Let’s start by explaining what a logo is and how it is connected to your brand. Your logo is a graphic or typographic symbol that identifies your organization. Not to confuse things but often logos are also referred to as Identities or Trademarks. Organizations of all types use logos to help customers identify who they are and, if done well, communicate the origin and quality of their product or service. The logo is one of many elements an entity can use to express the relationship with their audience. A logo alone will not create that valuable relationship all organizations seek. The logo must be connected to something larger than itself – the brand.
Up to this point I have been avoiding using the word "artifact", but I simply can’t think of a better term to describe all the graphics, colors, words, photos, patterns, etc. that make up basic visual elements of a brand. But the brand goes beyond its artifacts. The brand is all of the experiences, impressions and knowledge (good, bad, true or false) that a customer has about your product, service or company. Every visual, sound, taste, touch or smell.
Why artifacts and their consistent use is so important.
Any cue, such as sight, sound, touch, taste, smell builds on the relationship with your audience. Every time your customers and potential customers interact with your organization, they’re being influenced – it’s up to you to decide how. The logo artifact is a visual cue that evokes a memory of the brand experience, which then triggers a reaction. The goal is to engage your audience through artifacts that tell your story in a meaningful way. In order to build up familiarity, express who you are and what you offer, it’s critical to also be consistent with the presentation of your artifacts across all media. Consistency establishes and reinforces the memory. Now, evaluate your organization's artifacts and ask yourself if they express who you are, if they are easily understood, and if they are delivered in a consistent and meaningful way.
Here’s a side note for you… Initially, branding (of livestock) was adopted to differentiate one person's cattle from another's by means of a distinctive symbol burned into the animal's skin with a hot branding iron. Ouch!
Have a Pawsitively Tail Waggin’ Good Day!
P.S. Ruff Haus Design is a results focused brand consulting company located in San Diego, CA. Let us help unleash your brand image, connect with your customers and gain their loyalty.