A Logo and A Brand: What Is The Difference?

Most small business owners and entrepreneurs erroneously believe that a logo and a brand are one in the same thing. In most cases, these two terms are even used interchangeably, which begs the question: What exactly is the difference between a logo and a brand?

What is a Logo?

Quite simply, a logo is nothing more than a design element. A logo could either be a symbol or an emblem that serves as a means of identification. It’s nothing more than a visual representation of a person, place, or thing.

In other words, a logo is simply an icon or written text (or both) that conveys a brand’s name and often what the company or organization does. A logo serves as a visual cue. It works as a tool of recognition or discovery for people to evoke an emotion or impress a memory.

A logo can’t solely describe what an organization really does, or (more importantly) what it cares about. No matter how aesthetically pleasing or expensive a logo might be, it still lacks the context for people to formulate a complete opinion of the brand.

“Logos are a graphic extension of the internal realities of a company.”
-Saul Bass

So Then, What is a Brand?

A brand is a collection of experiences, interactions, and ideas that consumers have about a particular company or organization. A logo is basically the visual identity system of a company, whereas, a brand is a non-visual, experiential identity. A brand is the basis of a company’s goal to its consumers.

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
-Jeff Bezos

From the consumer’s perspective, a company’s brand is its reputation, marked by the memories and perceptions generated by experiences. Over time, a brand imbibes itself into society, and then becomes a norm. This essentially means that consumers, after a while, can easily relate to a company’s products or services based on familiarity, as a result of its branding.

From the company’s perspective, a brand is the culmination of its visual representation, mission, client/customer experiences, marketing strategies, and the overall presence of the company.

A company’s brand is a promise. It’s the commitment of a company to the people who interact with it. It demonstrates the company’s values and expresses its desires (mission). Two common examples and their brand / mission:

  • Coca-Cola: To inspire moments of optimism and uplift.
  • Virgin: To be genuine, fun, contemporary, and different in everything we do at a reasonable price.

 

Note: neither of these two specifically mention what they literally sell or the services that they provide. They only emphasize the feelings that they impart on their consumers, in the form of promises.

A logo, in itself, is merely a graphic representation comprised of shapes and colors. A brand is the intangible and even perceptible representation of a company that gives any logo meaning. The real magic occurs when an aesthetically pleasing logo combines with good branding. The two work in synergy and create a more lasting impression.

Even the best designed logo won’t help overcome negative emotions associated with poor branding.

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