Perhaps you’ve never given much thought to the difference between your logo and your brand? Maybe you don’t know the difference, or, don’t believe there is one. In this week’s blog, Red Five Creative talks about what “brand” means and how your logo figures into the whole picture.

Here at Red Five Creative, we’ve been talking a lot about what the word “brand” means these days. Here’s the thing: we’ve noticed that as soon as that word makes an entrance, it’s almost always followed by a conversation about logos. We soon realized why.

Not everyone understands the difference between a logo and a brand. But there is a difference, and a pretty spectacular one at that. A logo is one part, one piece of your overall brand voice, while your brand is the totality of how others truly view your business as a whole. And these two perceptions are not always on the same page.

Here’s a hypothetical example. Let’s say a particular women’s clothing store is known for catering to conservatively dressed middle-aged women, yet they’ve chosen a kitten in a leather jacket as their logo. In fact, they have even gone so far as to write the name of their business in a font like Comic Sans, that is decidedly not conservative. What’s wrong with the cat, you say? It’s cute and young and fresh.

If fact, there’s nothing wrong with the logo, or with the business for that matter. But it sure doesn’t feel right together does it? And this is where the real problem exists. You can have all the leather-clad kitten logos in the world; but if your perception of your business and the public’s perception contrast this much, you’re in trouble.

Obviously we’ve used an extreme example here, but it’s effective in illustrating our point.

Looking back on our clients over the years, the businesses who understand that their perception of who and what they are must be aligned with all their outward facing branding are the most successful; primarily because staying true to their brand voice in all brand elements, such as logo, business cards, website, advertising etc, allows them to market themselves in a way that that is consistent, recognized and becomes associated with their company. Why is Nike’s logo a swoosh? Because they want the public to associates them with winning, forward movement and striving for your goals. It’s a perfect logo that aligns beautifully with what they want the consumer to feel emotionally when confronted with their brand. If you look at the rest of the Nike brand elements, their website, store signage, packaging, you will see the same sense of movement and energy. All the pieces they put out there in the world align to form the “brand”. The logo is just one part.

Gaining a clear understanding that your logo alone does not carry the weight of your entire company or product voice, that it is just one tool, can help bring all your other marketing assets into focus. Just what are those other marketing assets you ask? Well, simply put, it is every single interaction your customer has with your company or product. The receptionist who answers the phone from initial call ins, the sales clerk, the store decor and product display, the signage, website, etc. Anytime a customer interacts with you it leaves an impression. A little entry next to your product name and you want that entry to be positive. One way to do that is to always deliver a consistent message and expectation.

So to sum up. Your “brand” is the collection of everything a customer sees. The logo is just one part. Make sure to put as much attention into all the other elements of your company as you do in the logo.