A logo is a really important element of your brand identity. It isn’t a brand identity all on its own. To confuse things further, your brand identity isn’t your brand!
It’s a bit like making a cake.
Your brand is the cake. The end product. To make the cake you need a strategy – the recipe. Then you need the brand identity – the ingredients. This includes the logo – and you need all of these to make a cake!
A brand is intangible. It’s something you can’t really see or hold, it’s what your business is all about. It’s that quote you’ll have seen time and time again – what people think about you when you’re not in the room. It’s the memories, perception, experiences and feelings that people have about your business. So it’s quite a touchy feely, can’t be seen, won’t be exactly the same for everybody, invisible sort of thing.
As a business, you’ll have something that you want to be known for, a reputation that you want to build and a message that you want to share. This is something that you can control to a certain extent. This is where the brand identity comes in. Again, this is not your whole BRAND, but it’s the most obvious way to take your values, ideas, goals and thoughts and do what you can to be in charge of how your business comes across to other people.
How your business is perceived by others is not just down to your Brand Identity. I’m sorry about that, but how your business looks is not a quick fix to ensure that others get what you’re all about. It’s a massive help and worth doing for reasons I’ll go into in a moment, but alongside this you’re going to need to do other things to make sure that people know about your business and get a good feel for what you do. You’re going to need to invest – either time or money or both – in marketing, both online and offline, you might do a lot of social media marketing, write a lot of articles or speak at events for example. Public Relations also helps with getting your message out there. Appearing in newspapers and on the radio. You’ll need to think about how you answer the phone, how your office or shop smells, the kind of music you might have playing. These things are crucial for helping you build your brand and they have NOTHING to do with how you look. These are part of a Brand Strategy.
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How your business LOOKS is your Brand Identity. Before you get to this stage you’ll have spent some time figuring out what your BRAND is. So you’ll have thought about your values, vision, purpose and goals and be ready to translate those into an image which fits your business.
Your Brand Identity includes:
Your colour scheme
Your tone of voice
Notice that your logo features alongside these elements as a part of your Brand Identity. I’d say that it is the foundation for your whole brand identity. The logo design will help to inform the colour scheme and the typefaces in particular. It’s a mark with a huge job – no pressure! It has to convey what your business is about and what it stands for all on its own. Most of the time it will have a supporting cast – but there will be times in the life of your logo when it appears alongside other logos as a sponsor for an event, or when you pop it on a T-shirt with no words near it or when it appears on Facebook next to a comment on someone elses business page. In these times in particular it needs to make sure that conveys what you’re all about and works hard on your behalf.
When you look at your business you’ll have a vast range of applications which all form a part of your Brand Identity. These could be:
Your business cards
Your pull up banner
Your car wrap
Your Facebook cover
Your blog post images
Your shop interior
Your free offer PDF
You can’t design any of the above without first thinking through your Brand Identity and knowing which colours and typefaces to use.
So to summarise this:
Your logo is a mark which is part of your Brand Identity.
Your Brand Identity is what your business looks like and is informed by your Brand Strategy.
Your Brand Strategy is all of the intangible stuff that helps you to make decisions for your business.
Your Brand is what other people think about you. You can try to control this – although you really can’t completely – but you can do your best to give out the right impression. Which is why you need a Brand Strategy AND a Brand Identity.