Your brand is more than a logo

Dan Jubb
  • Dan Jubb
  • Head of Brand and Strategy

Whatever type of organisation you’re part of, your brand is hugely important. It’s at the centre of your marketing activity and can be a big factor in how well your business performs. And yet, there’s still a certain mystique and vagueness around what a brand actually is. For many people, the word brand is still synonymous with the word logo.

This probably dates from the earliest type of branding, which was indeed all about logos. The ancient Egyptians used fire-heated marks to identify ownership of livestock way back around 2,700BC and we still use the term livestock branding for similar identification techniques today.

But let’s get a bit more up to date…

What is a brand?

Defining a brand isn’t straightforward. Thousands of words have been written on the topic and it’s provoked many lively discussions (including a few interesting chats here at The Graphic Design house)!

Your brand comprises multiple aspects of your organisation and the way that customers, employees and other audiences interact with it. That includes:

  • How your customers view your organisation.
  • How your workforce feels about the business they’re part of.
  • The way you talk to customers and other audiences – your brand voice.
  • How well your organisation is recognised and understood. That includes the expectations people have of you: what you do and what you offer.

These are some of the many components that go towards creating a brand. Breaking down the definition of a brand in this way and using terms like ‘brand identity’ and ‘brand positioning’ can be useful in helping us to quantify our goals and work towards them.

The fact is that the definition of branding has evolved over the past decades, alongside the marketing techniques that use it.

So where do logos fit into the branding process?

Many of clients ask us: If the brand isn’t the logo then where does the logo fit into the branding process? It’s a good question.

Although your brand is much more than your logo, your logo is nonetheless and important part of your brand. Logos can play an important role in an organisation's brand; helping to promote its products or services, alongside its values or brand promise.

A good, well-designed logo can:

  • Attract
  • Mark you out from the competition.
  • Reassure consumers and build loyalty.
  • Act as a simple shorthand for building awareness of who you are and what you do.

Your logo isn’t your brand. But it is an important part of your marketing arsenal. To fully understand it we need to think of it within the context of the entire branding process. Let’s start with a look at brand stories and brand architecture.

Brand stories and brand archetypes

Brand stories have always been important, but social media marketing and other digital marketing have arguably made them one of the most important marketing tools available. Your brand stories are essential. So, what are they?

Brand stories are not just about the words you use in your marketing communications. Your story is also what people think and feel about your organisation, based on every aspect of how you present yourself and how you communicate. Successful brand stories are stories that the target audience feels part of. So, ask yourself – how can I make our audience feel as if they’re part of who we are and what we do?

Then we come to brand archetypes. Brand archetypes may be part of your story and are a useful tool for defining the nature of an organisation’s brand and its customers' behaviour. Brand archetypes use Jungian psychology in the form of symbolic characters that anchor your brand with something that already exists in the audience’s subconscious.

Sounds a bit highfaluting?

It’s not really. There are usually acknowledged to be twelve brand archetypes and they can help you in defining your brand identity and building your messaging and storytelling. Archetypes include characters such as The Ruler, The Explorer, The Regular Guy, The Innocent and The Hero.

Brand architecture

Brand architecture is the vital physical framework in which you place your brand stories and archetypes, alongside all your other branding and marketing activity. Your brand architecture includes:

  • Logo
  • Colours
  • Typography
  • Tone of voice
  • Visual style

Your brand architecture is the blueprint that helps you carry out marketing, communication and other activities in a consistent manner that constantly reinforces your identity and messages to your chosen audiences.

Brand architecture needs to be consistent and clear. Consistency is more vital than ever in our multi-channel world. That means consistency across all digital communications and devices as well as print media.  

What does this consistency look like? Imagery and your logo are a big part of it, but it also includes the importance of using a strong written and verbal style as part of establishing a recognisable brand; one that communicates effectively with target audiences.

Your brand is more than a logo and sometimes that can seem like an awful lot to chew on – there are so many different aspects that go into building a successful brand. With the right focus and a bit of professional help, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. It just needs to be clear and on target.

Understanding branding and getting your branding right can be one of the biggest factors in creating successful marketing and a booming business, year on year. If you’d like some ideas to make your branding work harder, then get in touch with us here at The Graphic Design House.