Many people use brand and logo interchangeably. While a great logo says a lot about you, your company, or your brand, it’s only part of the equation.
Calling your brand your reputation is a lot closer. As a consumer, I am more likely to buy or subscribe based on the brand than the logo. For example, when I see a cute, little panda icon, I don’t know if I should eat Chinese food or make a charitable donation to save endangered species. If you are putting together a logo, I encourage you to read this article. Unless you really like pandas, consider the first rule: “Uniqueness: Do not emulate the logo of other brands. A copied logo or a common one will make your business look cheap and unoriginal. It is far better to create your own logo for your brand otherwise people won’t take you serious[ly]. A unique logo will also tend to be one that stands the test of time.”
Your brand is shorthand for who you are. It is the gut feeling people have when they think of you as a business, artist, or product. Start this process by identifying how you are similar to other brands. This helps you clearly define both your market and your image. Once you know your similarities, look at your differences. These are what make you marketable. The similar and different combine to create your brand. And it is a balance. Being too similar makes you appear to have nothing to offer. If you are too different, you run the risk of confusing your market and losing your share.
Once you identify your brand, everything you do needs to support that image. Every interaction you have with the public, every product you release, every service and piece of art needs to support your brand. Even your charitable giving needs to support your brand. In January my company, Bedient Pipe Organ Company became the first corporate partner of the Nebraska Organ Recovery System. It started as a joke. We moved a pipe organ across the country and called it an “organ transplant.” But we made a statement about ourselves as a company when we partnered with a group that types and matches soft tissue donors with recipients. We stated that we care about the lives of the people in our greater community. Our hashtag #Organs4Organs supports that partnership. Our brand serves many religious organizations. It’s important to support organizations that do good for a living.
Think of the child stars of the past. Most did not transition well to adulthood, because their brands were tied up in the image of sweet, doe-eyed children. In contrast, look at a company like Mountain Dew, now Mtn Dew. Their product has always included an element of fun and energy. Today’s advertising agencies would never name a soft drink Mountain Dew. Their original 1969 logo included a hillbilly on a tire swing. Over the years the company has changed their logo, but their brand has remained constant. They continue to be a brand of fun and energy, and support that by sponsoring snow and skate boarders, and musicians like Dierks Bentley.
So, figure out who you are. What makes you just a little bit different? Make sure everything you put out there, every contact you make, supports that brand. A great logo won’t hurt, but it is more susceptible to trends than your brand is.