Mindful Marketing Blog
By Joyce Padilla
The difference between a logo and a brand
I find that a lot of people don’t understand the difference between a logo and a brand. Therefore, I want to explain the key distinctions in the easiest way possible.
Why is it important to know the difference?
When you have your own business or are about to initiate one, it’s important to know what sets apart a logo from a brand. This way, you can plan accordingly and set the right expectations. A lot of companies spend their budgets on marketing initiatives and hope to get specific kinds of results. In reality, this can be the wrong action to take if you don’t know the difference between a logo and a brand, because it can result in your implementing the wrong marketing tactics.
In order to avoid this, let’s get to know the difference:
What is a logo?
Based on the web dictionary:
A logo is a symbol or other design adopted by an organization to identify its products, uniform, vehicles, etc.
That’s the simple, direct concept of what a logo is, but let me explain a bit further.
A logo is a representation of your company, it is a way people can visually identify you anywhere. A logo should have elements that represent your company’s name —such as a type of font— and it may or may not have an icon that will accompany your name. An icon is usually created so people can easily identify your brand. This way, if you were to place your icon on a magazine ad on its own, people will still recognize it as your company. Apart from the icon and the fonts you use for your company’s name, a logo can also be accompanied by a slogan, which is tightly aligned with what you promise your target market. Not a lot of people take the time to define a slogan. This is mostly because they do not know the difference between a logo and a brand. Yet, there are some people who do have a slogan, but most probably do not use it the way it should be used.
How do people apply their logos?
Typically, a logo can be applied in stationary, such as business cards, letterheads, or envelopes, as well as in digital items, like your email signature, digital letterhead, websites, and social media profiles. In cases where the company is implementing any kind of promotional activities, the logo can be placed on a flyer, postcard, brochure, catalogue, magazine, website, apps and more.
Formats for saving a logo.
I also want to talk about the formats of a logo because, in my 15+ years of experience, it is very rare to find a person or company that has their logo in the proper formats. For any agency, this can be frustrating sometimes, so I want to explain what you should have. If you decide to have someone or an agency create a logo for your company, typically they will provide you your final logo in a JPEG. or png. format.
The reason why most designers do this is to have control over your logo, thus creating new opportunities for them, as at some point you will need your logo in a different format or size. Then, they can charge you for these services and time. I totally respect that: I know it does take time to set logos in different formats, so this is fair. However, I find that this is not being mindful of your time and knowledge. I always like to deliver the end results in all formats, so the client has a file for future use. To be able to do this, I account the time in my initial proposal because I believe in building long-lasting relationships with my clients, and trust is the #1 way to create this. I show my faith of trust by giving it all to them.
So, in what formats should you always ask your designer to deliver your logo?
Jpeg: Is always good to have, as it gives you quick access to use your logo in many places where it does not need to be too big.
Png. with a transparent background: It is great to have this so your logo can be used on websites and places where you do not want a white box around your logo.
Depending on your logo design, it is always great to have your logo converted into all white, all black, and even all grey options. Sometimes, your logo may not look visible or well on certain kinds of backgrounds, such as pictures. Having a white, black, or grey option that has no background will definitely help in this situation. Make sure to ask that your logos are saved in a high resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch).
Editable format: It is important to always have an editable version of your logo. This way, if you ever need a higher resolution or a larger format, you can always edit your file. Typically, the programs used to design a logo can be InDesign, Illustrator, or, in some cases, Photoshop. It is unlikely that have these programs, and thus you won’t be able to open any files, but that’s ok. You can just forward them to your supplier and they most certainly will be able to open them. Keep in mind this: some design program versions are not compatible with other versions, so it’s important to always have a format that can be compatible. For example, I use the program InDesign a lot. Apart from saving the file in its raw format, I also save it as idml, which is a format that can open with any version of InDesign. Ask your designer about this.
Fonts: Normally a logo is a vector or is converted into a vectorized format, which means you cannot edit it. For example, if your logo has fonts, you can’t just open it and type in another letter. Designers will vectorize a font to be able to manipulate it and create something original. Once it is vectorized, you cannot go back —it has become a design. But, in some cases, the designer used a specific font instead of editing anything. In this case, it is great to have access to your font files, so you can use them to remain consistent in other areas, such as a letterhead or a brochure, if applicable.
Pantone's: These are the colors used for your logo. The Pantone is a code of numbers that make up the tones of your logo. It is important to have this so you can always keep your colors consistent everywhere.
The pantone's look something like this: C:05 M:55 Y:9 K:0 C is for Cyan, M is for Magenta, Y is for Yellow and K is for Black. Normally these are used for printing, while R: 56 G: 90 B:20 (Red, Green and Blue) are normally used for web. It’s great to have these numbers, but in case you don’t, these codes can be found on the editable files.
In conclusion, if you have just a logo, then you have just a logo.
What is a Brand?
Based on the web dictionary:
A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.
Or in other words:
A brand is the collective impact or lasting impression from all that is seen, heard, or experienced by customers who come into contact with a company and/or its products and services. In creating a brand, or "branding," you have to manage the effect that your product or service is having on the customer.
In my words, a brand is what people say about it (when you are not there).
On the definitions above, I highlighted the main keywords which differentiate a logo from a brand.
Other features: Because a brand is much more than just the name, term, design, or symbol.
Distinct from those of other sellers: Because a brand creates a new way to separate you from your competitors.
By customers: Because a brand, as I mentioned above, is created by the experience your customers have when they are in contact with your products/services in one way or another.
Now, let's talk about the foundations of creating a brand.
Creating a Brand
Let’s assume that you have a product or service in mind, and you have a name for your company. What you want to do next is define your Brand Promise. A Brand Promise is a statement of the promise you are making to your clients. It should not be about the features of the product or services. Instead, it should be about the outcome your product or services provide your customers. Let me explain a bit more: it should be about the desired state your customers want to have after they use your product or services. This is the main reason why they would buy from you.
More than just a logo.
When creating a brand, you want to see it as creating an impact on someone else. Ask yourself: How does my product or service provide value to my target market? How can I create an impact on people when they engage with my brand? What do I want them to say about my brand?
When you answer these questions, it will allow you to see a much bigger picture for your business. It will show you how your product or services can become much more than a logo, but more of a mission people can stand by and relate to.
Creating a Brand Statement
What is a brand statement? It is a brief summary of what your business does, your mission, your vision, your values, and how your business is different from your competition.
It is important to have your brand statement clearly defined because this serves as a guide for everyone who is part of your company.
After you have all these components defined, this is when you should proceed to create your logo. The logo is the component that will represent your brand statement. Your logo now becomes a story. This story is what will guide any branding and marketing initiatives. As you see, most companies skip this part and go directly on designing a logo. When you are creating a brand, it is the other way around.
Now, because you have a story behind the idea of your brand, the possibilities of creating something that represents your company are endless —there is no more room for creativity. You can create an icon by drawing inspiration from your values, your mission, and your vision, rather than creating an icon-based solely on your service, which is what normally happens when you create a logo without going through the whole thinking process.
Once your brand is created and you have a physical representation of your brand statement, —in other words, a logo— the next step is to build your brand equity. This is done over time and with strategy. However, the key to building a brand is consistency. You can work with your brand over time and with strategy, but if there is no consistency, then there is no real brand equity, as there is no real brand awareness. Consistency is crucial.
It is very important that your brand is consistent in everything you do. What does this mean? This means that all the components that make up your brand are always implemented in the same way everywhere. Your brand colors should always be the same —not a similar tone, but the exact tone. The same goes for your fonts, imagery, message, etc.
Why is this important? If your brand is all over the place, using many variations, it becomes hard for people to recognize you and therefore remember you. People remember by repetition. Keeping your brand consistent is repetition. Then people will remember you, meaning you are beginning to build brand equity.
Having your marketing agency or designer create a brand book as a guideline that can be shared with anyone who will be implementing activities that involve your brand is the most effective way to assure brand consistency. In this book, you will have all the details and outlines on how to use and not use your brand. A brand book is very useful for any external communication strategies, as well as for any internal ones. The brand book should also include all the components of your brand statement.
Assett Marketing Agency
Our agency specializes in branding. Over the years, we have helped people develop new brands, we have helped companies refresh their current brand, and we have designed and implemented brand strategies helping them build their brand equity and brand assets.
With that, if you are looking to create, re-design, or organize your brand; or if you are looking to develop or review your brand strategy, connect with me and let’s start the conversation.