A Logo is Not a Brand... But What is the Difference?

March 2018
Melissa Sorini

Hands up who spends their weekend highlighting sections of communications textbooks or flicking through the latest copy of Marketing Geek Weekly*? Nope. Me either. So you – like many others – might be a little bit less than clear about logos, brands and the difference between the two. Join us as we attempt to explain in clear and simple language what a brand is, what a logo is and why you need both.

* not a real magazine, but it should be

What is a logo?

Simply put, a logo is a unique design or symbol that represents an organisation. Savvy businesses use the same design across all of their communications, from email signatures to letterheads, advertising and everything in between. Logos enable companies to be easily identified, and the best ones become universally recognised shorthand for their brand - the “golden arches” spring to mind.

Logos incorporate an easily recognisable design element, often including a name, symbol and specific colours. They are an important part of your brand, because not only are they required to make the right first impression, they also provide a shortcut to the emotions that connect people with your business. In short, they offer a quick visual representation of your brand’s message and position.

What makes a great logo?

Here’s where things get tricky. A well designed logo is more than just a pretty graphic paired with a fancy font. Great logos surpass the nuts and bolts of their design to evoke some sort of memory or emotion within the viewer, a feeling that captures their relationship with the brand. A truly great logo communicates a brand – and everything it represents – at just a glance.

Effective logos are always the result of strong conceptual development, and they aren’t something you can throw a fiver at on Fiverr to get a great result. To really make your logo sing, the ideals that make your business unique need to be understood by the designer and moulded into a visual signature that perfectly represents your brand.

Which bring us to our next question…

What is a brand?

A logo is not a brand. It’s part of your branding, sure, but a brand is so much more. A brand incorporates every interaction with consumers and every marketing practice that differentiates your business, product or service from another. These include the visual design, marketing, communications and messaging which make up every experience that people have with your business.

**takes deep breath**

If that sounds like a mouthful, what it all boils down to is that your brand distills the nature of the experiences that consumers have when they come in contact with your business, whether that takes place through a product or service online, offline or in person. Ultimately, your brand encompasses your business at every level, from high-level corporate mission statements to minor personal interactions.

What makes a great brand?

We’ve already talked about the need for distinctive and memorable logos, but what makes a brand great? A great brand perfectly captures the emotions that people experience when they interact with your company, whilst also representing what your business believes in, what makes them unique and what they are striving to accomplish.

A brand is your company’s personality, and truly great brands exude a charisma and magnetism that engages people. A logo without a brand is a glorified name-tag; ineffective without an accompanying strategy to communicate your passion and expertise. The best results are found when both combine to reach your audience, communicate your message and cut through the noise.

The upshot is that your brand is more than just a logo. And your logo is worth a lot more than the five dollars you could pay some faceless amateur on the internet to design it. The best results come from working with professionals who understand the underlying mechanics of communication and the individual nuances of your business.

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