Ever Heard The Saying "A Logo Is Not Your Brand"?
There are a lot of voices out there preaching this common marketing buzz-phrase... "a logo is not your brand". While I will agree it's not the only important piece of your brand, I want to spend a couple of minutes and shed some light on a few things you may want to consider when building your brand. So, a logo is not your brand. Let's de-mystify this a bit, shall we?
The argument of "a logo is not your brand" often dies on the hill of customer service.
Where this argument starts most times is this idea that all you need is to have great customer service. Customers will always come back if you go above and beyond. All your brand needs is a smiley human behind the counter handing you your mocha frap, double whip, grande, skinny, sugar bomb. Even if they did burn the espresso a tad.
Can I propose that I think a smiley human only gets you so far? What attracted you to the coffee shop in the first place? Does it have something to do with the logo on the cup and what you'll like holding it? I know this isn't always the case, but, I can think of many times, right off the top of my head, that I've made a buying decision based on how a logo or brand helps project my persona. I'm fascinated by the way different people invite different brands into their lives. What causes someone to be proud enough to wave the flag of their favourite brand.
I'm fascinated by the way different people invite different brands into their lives. What causes someone to be proud enough to wave the flag of their favourite brand.
Let's take Tim Horton's for example. A coffee & donut company that has a cult following, with less than amazing coffee, inconsistent service and an underwhelming in-store experience. But if you look at the way the brand has been positioned over the last 10+ years, it can explain more of why Canadian's keep coming back. It's because the essence of what Tim Horton's stands for has been boiled down and tangibly created through advertising, strategic partnerships and marketing initiatives. And somehow, every time I drive by a Tim's, it's drive-thru is lined-up around the block. What is it about the brand that has people coming back and self-identifying?
Or, what about Louis Vuitton? Have you ever stepped foot in one of their stores? Get ready for glares and straight faces. Not exactly a "Disney" like experience. But why does it seem like many women would be ecstatic to walk around with the LV logo plastered all over a handbag? What is it about a brand that makes people buy into them and not just buy from them?
What is it about a brand that makes people buy into them and not just buy from them?
I'm all for great customer service to help build customer loyalty. It's an amazing way to generate repeat business and build a cult following. The argument of "a logo is not your brand" often dies on the hill of customer service. But, what I'm talking about is how does your start-up or small business come out swinging, ready to turn heads and draw attention? Chances are you don't have a million dollar media budget to help communicate that like Tim Hortons or Louis Vuitton. But, I'd argue that you likely have the budget and resources available to start creating a sophisticated logo and brand. One that helps start to communicate the true essence of your company and start the process of fitting into the lives of real people.
What I'm talking about is how does your start-up or small business come out swinging, ready to turn heads and draw attention?
You need to begin to think about things like the emotion your logo or brand may evoke. What visual elements can you incorporate into both your logo and your brand imagery that will help your targeted demographic identify with your brand?
So, yes, a single logo may not be the be all and end all of your brand... but I'm convinced it's a great place to focus when you're starting out or re-branding. It's a great place to begin to set the tone of your brand, look & feel, and beyond.