Why your identity matters...
A brand is so so critical for a business. Many of you might say, “Hey! We are not a brand or our business doesn’t require us to have any branding, it doesn’t apply for us. And anyway, we have a logo. We don’t need to get any more fancy!”
I hear this a lot. It is important for entrepreneurs to know that even if you don’t do it consciously, you are building your brand by the way you talk to your customers, the look of your website, the way to send them greetings, the way you work with your employees and so on. Now, since you are not putting a conscious effort to do all this, their might be inconsistencies and you might be behaving in a manner that your customer just doesn’t appreciate! Further, as a brand strategist, my biggest concern arises when I see entrepreneurs confuse their logo with their brand! I feel like a huge opportunity being missed by them as I feel they are not utilising the power of a brand to the maximum advantage for their business.
But anyway, we are writing this to have a clear answer to the question, are a logo and a brand the same thing? Well, the clear shortest answer to this is indeed a big, fat NO!
A logo is not your brand. It is just a teeny-tiny part of your brand. It is a small visual representation of it. Yup! It’s true.
Let’s try to understand the two elements separately and then connect the dots.
What is a logo?
A logo is simply a visual mark. It could be a pictorial element, text or a mix of both. It’s style could be graphical, coloured, name initials, anything, but it’s purpose is to just stand as a representation for a particular brand, a business house or an individual. It is to help people identify that a particular good or service belongs to a particular business. It is as simple as that.
Now let’s move to the bigger picture and talk about what is a brand?
Think about this, when we meet someone, we tend to sub-consciously analyse that person. Our mind just processes the interaction we had with him/her. We form an opinion based on how they were dressed up, how they spoke, what they spoke, where did we meet them, what was the purpose, how they treated us and so on. Sometimes, some aspects might have a stronger impact on our analyses than others. For example, sometimes we might simply love what they wore and get impressed. But overall, it’s all things put together that make us shape our opinion. Now if we interact with this person on a regular basis, this association gets even stronger. It embeds a strong perception in our mind. We know if we like or dislike them and what about them makes us feel that way. We know their strengths and weaknesses and we can almost predict how they are likely to behave in given situations. Guess what…..basically we have build a ‘brand’ of this person in our mind!
This is exactly what happens when we come across the offerings/product/services/experiences by a business entity. Our subconscious mind processes everything about them. What was their product like, what purpose did it solve for us, what did it look like, was it worth our investment, do we like their advertisements, can we relate to it? Oh! Our beautiful mind processes it all. All the time. After all this churning of thoughts, we form an opinion about it and it is pretty strong. It can be a deciding factor of whether we will continue to subscribe to the given products, will we be loyal customers and will we recommend this to others. Now, as an entrepreneur, you will surely want your customers to do all this! You will want to ensure that they form the right opinions about you. If you strategically plan this, you can indeed be sure about the kind of opinions they form. This is your strategy for your brand and the opinions they form is ‘your brand’.
Hence, a brand is really not built by you, it is built by your customers. I love how brand guru, Marty Neumeier puts it. He says, a brand is built in the minds of your customers! And when multiple customers built a similar positive opinion, which you had strategically planned, you become a powerful brand!
Does this throw some light on how building a brand is a big big world and a logo in an element living inside it?
Let’s talk a little more about the connect between them and perhaps why the confusion arises.
So as we have understood, a brand has to be planned to be built. This means, every element associated with it, like visuals, personality, offerings should come together to influence customer opinion. When a logo is designed keeping all this in mind, it will have a stronger impact. Your audience will love it more and relate it to more strongly.
I feel a logo gets confused with a brand because once a brand becomes powerful, its value increases. Hence, customers are even willing to pay a higher price for it. This is because they have done their own analysis, they have processed all information about you in their mind and are convinced that yes, this is ‘worth’ it! Now to identify your product/service and be assured that they are picking the product of the brand they love, they perhaps look out for your mark on it. Now connect the dots. This mark is indeed your logo! Hence, a logo becomes powerful only when your brand has become powerful enough. Then this ‘mark’ works to differentiate your product, but the worth is established by your ‘brand’, not your ‘logo’.
Build a great brand, and your logo will automatically leave its ‘mark’.
Radhika Nathany, Brand Strategist/CEO, Laughing Popcorn
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