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A Logo is Not a Brand, Nor is a Font. Why Your Business Needs to Figure That Out!
There are only a few things more unappealing to a branding agency than hearing from a business that their branding revolves solely around a logo. The first that pops to mind is a logo that is simply a free Google font that has been downloaded and passed off as representing your brand and who you are. Don’t get us wrong; there are a lot of great Google fonts; we even have a free download that tells you all about them, but they ain’t a brand, no matter how much you paid for them. Second is contractions to make up a bullshit name that has no meaning but has a couple of letters of trust, value and experience slotted in there because nothing says trust better than ‘tru’, maybe ‘ust’, someone must be called ‘TruValExp’ somewhere out there, but we digress. This is about a logo, not being a brand.
Before we go any further, let us make ourselves crystal clear: a logo is neither a brand nor is a font. You don’t have to read any further if you don’t want to; we have told you all you need to know by this point 4 times. We even used H1, H2 and bold with an underline. We are serious; this isn’t for discussion; it is just fact. It’s not a brand.
What is Branding?
So by this point, we presume you want to know why neither a logo nor a font is a brand. It is simple. A brand is a culmination of who you are. It reflects every facet of your company – where you began, what you do, who you have become and how you operate. Whether you are based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Belfast, Ireland (notice what we did there?) or London, the UK or Timbuktu, it represents your business everywhere. It is your very essence as a company distilled to convey who you are and why someone should give a damn about you and what you do. A logo can’t convey all of this. Believe us, we’ve made some pretty snazzy logos, but the Titanic didn’t sink by hitting the tip of the iceberg. It got ripped apart by everything that couldn’t be seen, or we wouldn’t have a James Cameron classic. (Smashing in some Belfast-orientated metaphors, aren’t we clever?). If you want, after you’ve gone spelunking through this article, you can read another smashing article here on the 6 incredible benefits of cohesive branding.
So What Does Actual Branding Include?
Rather than making this a 5000-word explainer – you can find that here. Let us break it down into its simplest core elements.
Queue the drum roll….
Branding includes but is not limited to:
- Brand identity (logo, typography, colour palette, photography, video style)
- Brand messaging (tone of voice, brand personality, brand story, tagline)
- Brand experience (office etiquette, company culture)
- Brand awareness (recognisability)
- Brand loyalty (positivity towards your brand)
- Brand equity (perception to the consumer)
- Brand positioning (distinguishing features)
- Style guide
- Brand promise (What customers expect of your product or service time and time again)
- Brand values (social values that you represent, the causes you believe in)
If you look at that concise list, you’ll notice that a logo is a mere fraction of what a brand is, nae a fragment of a fragment. It is something that gets hung up on because, for many, it is the symbol that they feel represents them to the public. For any business, whether in London or Belfast or Dublin, a website and social media are as important as a logo for front-facing recognisable objectives. There are few who search for a business on Google and say, ‘Gosh, I really wish this website that answers all my questions with a trustworthy rating, and fantastic reviews had a better logo’. We imagine they are a graphic designer if that is how they operate. If you’re not a graphic designer or a hater of Helvetica, there are more essential elements to creating a brand than just a logo.
So What is a Logo?
We are ragging on logos with this article, but we aren’t downplaying the significance of one for your business and what it can achieve. It is just not a brand. Again. A logo is neither a brand nor is a font (say it with us now).
A logo serves as a visual representation of a product, service, or company, allowing for immediate recognition. It is something that can distil your brand into a recognisable force that you can slap on every letterhead, hat, fleece, t-shirt, mug, pen, and USB stick that your heart desires. But it is not a brand. Acknowledging at this point that a logo is just one element of a business’s overall brand identity is crucial. It’s critical that by this point of the article that you, sitting in your office in Belfast, Newry, Armagh, Derry, Dublin or London, understand that a logo is not the brand itself; instead, it’s merely a symbolic representation of the brand.
Sometimes designers compare a logo to a person’s face; unlike a person’s face, however, it isn’t forced to be the one god gave you. And if you don’t like yours, give our Belfast graphic design team a call for the logo, not the face. We aren’t miracle workers.
Your face is a recognisable identifier but is only one aspect of your overall identity. How you talk, how you walk, how you hold yourself when you stand, each little element makes up who you are and how you represent yourself. In the same way, a logo serves as a visual representation of a company, but it does not define the company’s entire identity. It’s critical to develop a comprehensive brand strategy that incorporates the logo as well as other elements like brand messaging, tone, and personality.
Why Your Business Needs a Brand.
More than likely an actual branding agency, and one that won’t bullshit you on a Google font being a cool logo, such as our Belfast and London-based Branding Agency. So we’ve explained what a logo is, what a brand is, and why a logo isn’t a brand (hello there, cheap seats at the back, that one was for you!). Let’s now explain why your business needs a brand.
Branding Tells Your Story.
A logo is just a visual cue. The experiences that you recall when you see that logo is actual branding. That’s who you are. It is not a logo. It is the feeling that people have when they see it plastered on a jacket or a pen, their recollection of how you carried yourself and what you represent and how you operate. Your brand includes so many moving parts that are welded together, yet each remains individually important and comes together to create something cohesive and memorable for your customers. Brands are complex, and logos frankly just aren’t, don’t get us wrong, you can have a god-awful logo, but if that god-awful logo becomes an identifier for incredible service, honesty, and trustworthiness within your sector, you will take that to the bank over an over-designed logo any day of the week. Stand strong on that terrible logo if it means people know you do an incredible job because that is what your brand represents. What a branding agency simply does is distil a message across any medium to tell your story and what you represent.
Branding Adds Meaning to Your Logo.
Branding is storytelling. A logo is abstract, and a font as a logo is just a part of a typeface that says a word. It has no meaning unless that word has a meaning, in which case it does, but we wouldn’t recommend calling yourself Belfast accountants. That would be great for local Belfast SEO for an accountancy firm, but a truly terrible name for a business. For the most part, though, when a logo is first crafted, it has no meaning. The meaning takes time to be attached to the symbol that you paid for. It might look rather fetching but without the story to go along with it; it is just a pretty picture that you placed above your door. If that doesn’t ring true yet, just think of Apple as a logo, it is an apple and has a mouthful taken out of it, but it is still an apple. Without the context and the story that has been built over decades to create and reinforce and drive the brand, it will remain an apple, it could be Eve’s, or it could be Isaac’s, but it will still be an apple. We attribute meaning to it, though, because of branding. We think of quality, high-end, satisfaction, premium and creativity, all words that jump to mind when we see the logo on an iPhone or above the Apple shop window. We look at a Macbook on a designer’s desk, and we think, ‘oh yeah, they know what they are doing they have an apple on their laptop.’ Creativity isn’t defined by the laptop they use, but we attribute this meaning to the logo because of branding.
Branding Helps Craft Your Business Strategy.
Your brand comprises your strategy, products, and the narrative they convey. Even if you have an eye-catching logo, if you are unaware of your company’s goals and the path to attain them, that’s how your brand will be etched in memory, vague and disjointed. Building a brand that resonates with customers necessitates a comprehensive grasp of your product, the competitive market, and your audience and how your business reconciles all these things to be memorable.
Branding is Your Customer Service.
From the moment you pick up the phone or answer an email, you are representing your business and your brand. Your brand is as much your customer service and how you represent yourself to them. If you fail to engage with clients or if your employees appear uninterested when interacting with customers, it can have a negative impact on your brand’s reputation. To establish a strong brand, how you represent yourself is crucial to maintain frequent and meaningful communication with your customers, connecting with them both emotionally and intellectually.
Branding is Your Reputation and Your Business Credibility.
Developing a brand can showcase your company’s ability and professionalism, enhancing your credibility and fostering trust with customers. Many go on Google with search intent, for instance, ‘Branding Agency Belfast‘. They seek out not a logo but a clear message on the topic they want. They want to see a company that thinks about branding in Belfast through all aspects. They don’t judge a branding agency’s website on its logo but on the content and answers it provides, the services that branding agency in Belfast offers, and whether they are credible. They are looking to see what your reputation is and whether you are credible to be their Belfast Branding agency. The branding incorporating the visual identity and content of a website of a business more often than not, plays a role in the purchasing decision, and having a strong brand can attract more clients to your business.
So How do you Improve Your Business Branding?
You call, email or DM us. That’s it, really. Our branding agency is based in Belfast and London, and we work across Ireland, the UK and North America. We understand brands and branding, not just logos and fonts. We hope that you found this article helpful and understand after 1930 words that a logo is not a brand! But even after all this, if you have any questions on branding or your logo, you know how to find us. You’re on our website.