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    An In-Depth Guide About Differences Between Logo Design and Branding

    By Alejandro Montiel

    A number of people use the terms logo design and branding interchangeably. This is far from correct because one is part of the other (logo design plays an important role in the branding of any business). Besides, coming up with a logo design and formulating a branding strategy requires following different measures. Adding brand identity to the mix makes for increased confusion. While there is a distinct difference between logo and branding, you’ll need to rely on both for the growth of your business.

     

    What is a Brand?

    What is a Brand?

    A brand, in its simplest form, refers to a name or any other feature that customers might use to identify a business, its products, or its services. However, a brand also refers to how people perceive a business and its offerings based on emotional and practical factors. 

     

    Businesses use brands as tools to drive measurable return on investment (ROI). A brand relies on consistency in its visual voice and tone to demonstrate its competitive advantages as well as to position itself suitably in any given market.

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    Businesses work hard in presenting specific images to their target audiences directly and indirectly. It is common for brands to establish themselves over time because consumers tend to take time to view new practices and actions as the norm.  Apple, a company that has strived hard to create excellent products, has positioned itself at the top of the mobile phone segment partly because the Apple brand is in line with the image that the company wants to project.

     

    Businesses need to realize that creating successful brands does not happen overnight and cannot be done forcefully. Your company needs to build its reputation by projecting the same image to its target audience consistently, while also making sure that you build and maintain its trust.

     

    What is a Logo?

    What is a Logo?

    A logo refers to a visual that comes in the form of an icon, textual content, or a combination of both. A good logo is an integral part of a brand and its identity. It can serve as an effective visual identifier for your brand and help distinguish your business from its competitors quickly and easily. It works in encompassing the essence and character of a brand. You may also use your logo to offer insight into what your business does and build brand recognition.

     

    Product Logo vs. Company Logo

    While a company logo refers to the logo of a particular business, several businesses choose to have product-specific logos as well. In this case, a company logo represents the heart and soul of your business, and a product logo helps highlight an individual or a line of products that your business has to offer.  For example, the “Swoosh” is Nike’s company logo, whereas the “Jumpman” logo specifically promotes the company’s Air Jordan line of basketball sneakers.

     

    Brand Vs. Logo – Does One Matter More Than the Other?

    While a logo serves as a valuable visual identifier for a business, a brand functions as its foundation as well as its backbone. In itself, a logo is just a graphic element that associates with a name. A brand, on the other hand, represents all the tangible and intangible aspects of your business, giving meaning and credence to your logo. When the two are combined effectively through a well-laid out banding strategy and a suitable logo, you may expect benefits such as reaching out to your target audience in an efficient manner, effectively communicating your message, attracting more leads, and boosting conversion.

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    Bear in mind that people’s opinions about brands can have a significant effect on how successful (or not) they become. A logo’s strength, on the other hand, comes through its amalgamation with a clearly defined and well-articulated brand voice. You may regard the difference between a logo and a brand by taking the example of an iceberg, where the logo is the tip you get to view above water, whereas the majority of its mass underwater serves as the brand. Both, obviously, have to survive in tandem. 

     

    What Does Logo Designing Involve?

    What Does Logo Designing Involve?

    There is much more to a company or brand logo design than coming up with seemingly appealing imagery. When you get a reputable branding and design agency to work on the creation of your brand’s logo, you may expect the process to go through multiple steps.

    • Brand evaluation. This is when the agency will understand what your brand embodies and stands for as well as what business goals you have in place. This phase might involve considerable communication between you and your agency.
    • Industry research. Your agency needs to ensure that your brand logo helps your business stand out and leave a lasting impression even in a sea of competitors. This might involve determining if your target audience veers to particular types of logo design; if specific logo design techniques work well in your industry – be it surrounding shapes or colors; and if there are any techniques that have been overused or under-utilized.
    • Determining its intended use. Your agency might wish to approach the brand logo design process after accounting for how and where it will be viewed. For example, if it’s to find a place at one corner of your products, your agency might opt for smaller scales and a simplistic design. On the other hand, if it’s to feature prominently, no matter through which medium, the agency might choose to opt for a larger scale well-detailed design. When it comes to use on social media, you should ensure that your logo is capable of adapting to large cover images, and that its displays well across square and circular avatars alike. Using an animated logo might also work well across digital platforms.
    • Creating concepts and drafts. In case you have ideas for your logo, consider sharing them with your agency. It may then create a few hand-sketched or digital concepts from which you get to choose. Once you narrow down on any, it would move forward with creating digital drafts using specialized design software. 
    • Feedback and refinement. This step involves sharing your views about the draft design, and you might even benefit by getting an outsider’s view.  Then, the agency will tweak the logo as per your requirements and present you with the final logo.

     

    Benefits of Brand Logo Design

    Your brand logo serves multiple purposes, and a well-crafted logo comes with several benefits.

    • Builds trust. Once you put your logo on something, your brand takes responsibility for its quality and conveys a message suggesting that your customers can place their trust in your products/services. 
    • Improves brand recognition.  An eye-catching logo, however simplistic, is typically easy to remember and recall, thereby improving brand recognition.  Nike’s Swoosh and McDonald’s Golden Arches are perfect examples.
    • Helps differentiate you from competitors. Consider walking through Manhattan looking for a pizza. While you’d be spoilt for choice, you might have trouble deciding where to go if you’re new to the area.  Even if you spot the Pizza Hut logo in the distance, with its text illegible, you’ll know your next possible pizza of debatable quality is within reach.

     

    What is Branding?

    What is Branding?

    While your customer base has a significant role to play in deciding what your brand is and what it stands for, businesses can take measures to drive home desired perceptions. Branding, in its most basic form, refers to the active process that helps create and shape perceptions about your company. Every strategy that you follow and every step you take to increase awareness about your business and build its reputation falls under the far-reaching branding umbrella. Sure, not all branding efforts have the desired effect, but if you have a cohesive and well-calculated plan in place, you increase the possibility of success.

     

    Branding covers different elements that go into creating a brand’s identity. It typically begins by determining what a business stands for and identifying its core values. Brand logo design is a part of the overall branding exercise. Other aspects include creating different types of marketing material, communicating with customers, and presenting a brand across different mediums. Branding essentially covers every touchpoint that you rely on to build a memorable identity.

     

    Branding Extends Beyond Marketing

    A number of people feel that branding efforts are limited to the marketing department of an organization. However, this is far from true. Take for example a good hotel. While it would have a strong marketing team in place, it is important that every employee of the hotel – be it, front office staff, those from housekeeping, or security personnel – should make efforts to communicate the hotel’s brand.  For instance, if you walk into a Marriott property, you would expect a certain level of service and consistency in voice from everyone working at the hotel. 

     

    Incidentally, your brand’s community does not limit to those working at your organization. While your customers are part of the parcel, so are your business partners and all other stakeholders. Marketing executives, on their part, should make conscious efforts to include everyone associated with your brand into their overall branding efforts.

     

    Then, There’s Brand Identity

    The aim of the branding process is to create a successful brand identity. This is how you want your customer base to view your brand after you’ve implemented your branding strategy in a consistent manner.  Brand identity accounts for all the tangible elements that a business relies on to portray the desired image. These include, but do not limit to, logos, product packaging, website design, social media graphics, employee uniforms, letterheads, business cards, radio ads, and physical signage.

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    In recent times, talking about social causes has become integral to the branding strategies of several big businesses. An example in case is Nike including NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in one of its ad campaigns alongside LeBron James and Serena Williams. By making this decision, Nike ruffled many conservatives’ feathers, but also reinforced its reputation of standing up for athletes. However, since brands have been boycotted because of their political leanings, it’s best to err on the side of caution.

     

    Brand Development

    Brand Development 

    Brand development needs to be an ongoing process, where goals serve as benchmarks, alongside new ideas and products/services that help your business grow. Over time, you may expect your branding strategy to change or evolve as you reach out to new customers and experience cultural changes.  A good brand development strategy should touch upon these aspects.

    • Market research. This includes identifying your competitors, aspects that differentiate you from others in the field, the pain points you help address, the value you bring, your brand’s personality, and the story you want to tell.
    • Reaching out to your target audience. One of the best ways to reach out to your target audience is by providing useful and relevant content through different mediums. Using targeted digital marketing helps further your efforts. Getting and acting upon customer feedback is also crucial.
    • Brand positioning/messaging. This involves creating a core message that has recall value and is compelling enough to convert potential leads into customers.  It should touch upon your company’s culture, its story, its customers, and its solutions.
    • Tools for promoting your brand. Your brand development strategy is likely to consist of multiple digital and traditional marketing tools. These may come in the form of your brand logo, website, brochures, mailers, posters, and more.

     

    Conclusion

    Now that you know the difference between a brand and a logo, it’s important that you follow a streamlined approach to promoting your business. Creating a logo without paying attention to other aspects of branding might not do much good, because that’s just one aspect. Before you begin with the branding exercise, ask yourself what your business goals are and how you want your customers to perceive your brand.

     

    Remember that brands take time to form and you can take proactive steps to build the image you wish to have in place. Businesses also need to follow well-laid-out branding strategies to ensure that they remain visible consistently.

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