(All logo images via Branded In Memory from Signs.com)
The phrase “your brand is not your logo” has been around for years. It’s a simple idea that helps shake a common misconception. It pushes people to expand their understanding of what a brand represents. It lets you know there’s a lot more to think about in terms of your brand’s role beyond a visual mark.
But it doesn’t go far enough.
To push this idea further, we need to put logos in their place. Which, when it comes to your brand, is last-place.
The full phrase should be:
“Your brand is not your logo. In fact, your logo is the last part of your brand you should worry about.”
Your brand is one of the most important aspects of your business. It’s how you build lasting relationships and trust with your customers. Your brand is how you connect emotionally with your customers. It’s what drives customers to share what you do with others. It’s what separates you from your competitors.
The products you build and the services you provide can be replicated. But the relationships you build and the way you connect are unique and fully owned by your business.
That’s the most challenging and most valuable part of building a brand.
And your logo — whether it’s your company name, a visual mark, or some combination of the two — can not make that happen.
All your logo can do is serve as a visual reminder of all the other work you’ve done.
On its own, your logo doesn’t mean anything.
If you haven’t built real relationships with your customers, there’s nothing to remind them of…or at least nothing good.
Because of this, your logo should not be a priority.
Your business should invest its time, resources, and money first and foremost in building the strategy behind your brand. Develop the meaningful foundation of your brand.
It will be a long, long time before your logo will have any value on its own. Even companies that spend millions developing and promoting their visual identity still struggle to hold a spot in people’s heads.
Over the course of decades of exposure and endless campaigns, this is how memorable the best logos in the world are (via Branded in Memory, where people were asked to draw famous logos from memory):
Invest in the areas of your brand that will make an impact
Businesses should actively and consistently work on their brand. And when you dedicate internal resources or collaborate with external consultants and agencies you need that investment to count.
If you look for outside help, keep your eyes peeled and your ears open.
If a consultancy or agency says they can improve your brand, wait and see how long it takes them to mention the word “logo”. If it comes up quickly or it’s a central part of their offering, you may want to reconsider. If it’s near the top of a bullet list of services under “brand” on their site, you may want to move on.
Instead, look for companies that help you develop the critical, strategic areas of your brand.
Your big picture vision, mission, and values.
Your brand positioning.
Your brand messaging.
These are the areas that build customer trust and improve sales and marketing.
These are the areas that will drive growth.
These are the areas that will impact your bottom line.
These are the areas that align your team.
And look for companies that have a process for developing these things. Make sure you get the tools to continue to develop your brand as you grow.
Yes, you need to put your company name on your website and business cards.
That “logo” can be just that — your company name. Your icon can be an initial.
There are more than a few companies out there that have managed to scrape by with this approach:
If you use the products and services of these companies it’s not because of their logo. It’s because they used their brand to build a relationship with you and earn your trust.
That’s the key takeaway:
Your company’s success won’t be dictated by the quality of your logo. But your company’s success will be dictated by the quality of its brand.
Invest in developing a brand that lasts. Worry about your logo last.
Crystallize Your Brand Strategy
If you’re ready to define an actionable brand strategy, reach out for a free consultation. We’ll help you transform your best business thinking into a shareable, growth-oriented guide, click below to learn more about the Brand Guidebook process.