A logo is not a brand!

At the start of the blog, which I see as an extended conversation, I’d like to establish my rules. my tropes. my limits. or you could say the canon I pull from when speaking about branding. Some might disagree, but I’d like to establish the baseline from where my conversation begins..

The best phrase that sums up my beliefs is A logo is not a brand. This statement takes the first step towards understanding branding goes past just the visual.

I also have to establish that I’m a designer not a writer.. although I did win a literary contest in high school, and score some seriously high grades in college English… and with that in mind, I’ve put my thought into a more visual presentation:

If you’d like a quick breakdown of the slides, reduced the major points into the summary below:


  1. A logo is not a brand.
    The best way to discuss what is makes a brand is to identify some common misconceptions about branding, and identify what doesn’t make a brand. A logo can be the face of a brand, but a logo is not a brand. If most of your branding efforts went to your logo- you probably don’t have a brand.
  2. Branding is more than a visual exercise.
    Some people especially designers and agencies claim branding experience, and most of what they show to back that up is redesigning logos, changing the company identity, and/or adding some fresh graphics to the organization’s visual systems. While this definitely freshens the company’s face. Logos and graphics are key, but there is much more to creating a great brand.
  3. Better products don’t (always) make better brands.
    You’ve made the better mouse trap, streamlined the tire changing process, and now all you have to do is sit back and wait for consumers to quantify your discrete imprevement and flack to your products in droves… WRONG. Beta max vs. VHS, Laser discs vs. CD’s, Hd vs. BlueRay – all equal or superior products that lost out to better branded competition.
  4. Bold claims don’t (always) bolster your brand.
    We’ve all seen the crazy ads with bold statements. Sometimes they make us laugh, others times they make us wince. But a cocky statement from a demure brand does little to fortify that brand. While some brands may benefit, bold claims are not a cure-all and sometimes  can be damaging. Adding clarity to your brand is always good, but just shouting a muddled message is irritating.
  5. Your reputation is not your brand.
    The world loves your products, they talk and tweet about them all of the time. With a great product, great service, and good relationships you’re the talk of the town. So at this point, who needs branding, RIGHT? um.. WRONG. Although reputation can factor into a brand, a reputation is very hard to control- a good one can quickly change negative.

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