Why your branding is more than a logo

Your logo plays a role in your brand, but it doesn't make your brand what it is: it isn't just the way your business looks on the outside, but your brand should be weaved into everything you do. Your logo is kind of the tip of your branding iceberg!

What does this really mean and how can you build your brand into a proper iceberg?

I love designing beautiful logos and brand systems, but I understand that a great logo means nothing if it isn't part of an authentic and consistently applied brand. That means business owners and teams need to be able to implement their brand well after the logo files are handed over from the designer. This is where your brand strategy comes in (more on that later).

Here's a look at some common misconceptions of branding, an overview of what branding really means and how businesses can realistically build a wholesome brand in their day to day.

Let's break down why your branding is more than your logo from the misconceptions to the solution:

1. The misconception of branding
2. What is branding? (and what it means to your business)
3. How to build an authentic brand (STRATEGY)

1. The misconception of branding in business

An easy trap to fall into when it comes to your brand, is to think of it as an exclusively visual thing (i.e. your logo and brand colours), and how these are applied on your 'stuff'.

Slap that logo onto the top of your headed paper, your packaging, your signage, your social channels and you’re pretty much there with your branding... Right?

Ok, so that may be an overly simplified conclusion of branding in business. Almost all business owners recognise the need for depth beyond the logo in their brand, but struggle to achieve this or fully understand the problem.

So if branding isn’t your logo, what is it?

2. What is branding?

Your brand should be weaved into everything you do, from how you speak to your customers to the look of your building, your social feeds and website, to your company culture, marketing and the design of your logo and visual identity.

Branding can be defined in one or many ways:

• Visual identity
• Customer perceptions
• Vision & values
• Voice
• Promise
• Community
• Tangible & intangible

(Phew! That's a lot, stick with me here)... All of these definitions are valid. It is true that your brand is your promise to your customers, while also being the visual identity of your business or products; and your brand is the way you make your customers feel (the expectation, experience and afterthought of interacting with your business or products); and it’s the voice of your marketing and materials (and more).

Branding doesn't have to be complicated.

Thinking about branding in this way makes it feel like a such a complex concept that tackling it becomes an impossible task (and that’s coming from a certified brand nerd)! In the day to day you and your team need to be able to maintain and promote your brand, without the everyday assistance of your brand designer.  

Having an amazing logo and brand system is a great start but if you don’t have the tools to implement it when it matters most (consistently, every day, in everything you do) then it can become a wasted investment.

So how can you make sure you keep your brand authentic every day?

3. How to build an authentic brand (STRATEGY)

I believe that there is one practical answer to the question of branding. And that is to keep things simple: branding can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.

Authenticate everything you do with your brand’s persona.

To make the concept of branding digestible and manageable, you can give your brand a personality. By creating a persona and personality to define your brand, you can authenticate everything you do with your brand’s persona in a way that is easy to relate to.

It’s important to differentiate your brand’s personality from your own though, it is its own thing and not an extension of you as a business owner.

The tough bit is getting to your brand’s personality and defining it in a way that is authentic to your values. This your brand strategy, and defining it will help you reap the benefits of a consistent brand, and help align everything you do to your business goals..

It does take time, and a deep dive into your business aspirations, goals, culture and customers. But once the hard work strategising is done, you have a solid foundation to build your brand on.