Logo vs Branding - What’s the Difference?

07-02-2022
Marketing
Small Business
Branding
Logo Design
Graphic Design

A question that get posed a lot to the design community is ‘what is the difference between branding and your logo?’ The simple answer is that your logo should be one part of your branding, but doesn’t complete it. No brand is complete without a logo, but there’s much more to a rich brand than just a logo.

What is branding?

Branding, as described by marketing guru Seth Godin, ‘…is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.’

You can see how a brand’s logo could play a part in this, as it gives a quick impression of the brand’s values and ‘vibe’ as well as target audience, but it cannot be the whole thing. In order to set expectations, create memories and tell stories as Seth Godin says above, branding needs to be made up of consistent messaging, target audience work, brand values and touchpoints before even beginning to think about colour schemes, photography, typography or a logo.

In order to create a rich branding experience, your business needs to tell a strong story and have a worthy set of values. Then, visuals like logos and social media graphics can be built to strengthen those brand foundations.

Elements of Branding

Not all brands will have all of the elements below, but most great ones will. It’s important that your visuals maintain enough consistency for brand-recognition, but offer enough flexibility that they’re usable across all your touchpoints without weakening any elements.

  1. Brand mission - what problem does your business solve
  2. Brand values - how can customers relate to you and share in your brand experience?
  3. Audience personas - to ensure effective marketing, we like to create ‘perfect customers’ that can be referred back to any time marketing is being created
  4. USP (Unique Selling Proposition) - what makes your business different (and frankly better) than the competition? Why should your customers choose you over them?
  5. Touchpoints - where will your business show up most; social media? Through print advertising? On television?
  6. Logos - a full suite of logos, brand marks and monograms in full and single colours. You need these to maintain visual consistency across flexible mediums.
  7. Colour scheme - arguably the most important element for brand recognition (think Google, they change their logo constantly, but those four bright colours are all you need).
  8. Typefaces - there’s so much personality and meaning behind typography, choosing wrong could seriously damage your brand image.

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Can a Logo Work Effectively Alone?

Look, maybe if you’re an enormous mega corporation that practically every human on the whole planet has heard of, then yes a logo would probably do the trick. But that’s just because if you’re that prolific, your name alone would likely be enough. Most people couldn’t draw Amazon’s logo from memory, but pretty much everyone on the planet knows what Amazon is (just an example, certainly not worth going all Bezos!)

For any regular sized SME, it certainly isn’t enough for decent brand recognition. At minimum, you would need a logo suite, colour schemes and typography - and these are impossible to design effectively without the proper messaging, audience and values work. Note I’m saying

effectively

, not

well

. Any half-decent designer can pull something visually appealing together in no time at all - but will it work effectively for your business? It’s unlikely.

Which Should Your Business Have?

We always recommend setting your business up for marketing success with a full brand package. But, we appreciate sometimes time and money is of the essence, and it isn’t always doable to spend months and tens of thousands working with an agency to create this.

As a minimum we recommend working with a smaller agency who will really get to know your business values and your goals, and create a logo suite, and create a colour scheme and typography selection for you.

We offer a range of brand packages to suit any small biz budget, and take massive pride in getting to know our clients’ businesses in enormous detail. If you’re interesting in putting any of the above into practice,

fill out an enquiry form

today for a consultation and quote.