logo and a brand

Branding vs Logo: What’s the Difference?

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Branding and logo design keep getting confused with each other. Many people think that these two terms refer to the same concept. However, despite being closely related, they are completely different things. In this article, we will focus on their meaning and the differences between them.

Logo design and branding – definitions

While logo design and branding may seem similar, there is a difference between them. The logo is just a small part of branding, which is a much broader concept encompassing the whole process of brand building, brand identity, brand recognition, and brand awareness.

So what exactly are they?

Logo

Logo is a part of visual identity, a graphic element that creates brand identity and contributes to brand recognition. It might be associated with a company, world organization, but also with a product. Logos help to distinguish a brand or product from those offered by the competitors. They are supposed to catch the eyes of the clients, be remembered and associated with the brand.

Logo design consists in the selection of appropriate typography, colors or graphics and combining them into a graphic mark, which is later used on a website, in marketing or on product packaging.

Logo design

Branding and branding process – what are they?

Branding is the process of building a brand. Companies develop a branding strategy to spread brand awareness, help consumers quickly identify their products and give them a reason to choose that brand over competitors.

The branding process allows you to create and show your company’s identity that resonates with potential customers and gives them a full picture of your firm’s brand personality.

A branding strategy consists of a great number of elements that show what a brand is and what it is not. Branding efforts can be implemented through many different tools, including:

●     brand definition, i.e., defining brand goals, promises given to customers and values, which should be consistent with the expectations of its target audience;

●     brand identity, i.e., its name, brand tone or visual identity, including logo design or trademark;

●     marketing efforts, i.e., advertisements, special offers and communication;

●     products, services, and product packaging designs;

●     creating experiences for consumers in the store or on the website;

●     company’s headquarters and work environment;

●     customer service and pricing strategy;

Simply put, the real meaning of branding is that it is an important process which might determine whether a business will be successful or not, and logo design is one of the significant steps of that process.

brand identity

Logo vs. branding – which one was first?

The answer to this question is obvious – the logo. Images have been important for interpersonal communication since the dawn of humanity. Moreover, in the past, the number of companies on the market was significantly smaller. The methods used in logo designs were also very limited. Back then, having a very simple logo was enough.

Currently, there are many programs and techniques that make designing logos easier and efficient. The need to obtain a unique logo, and at the same time the difficulty of acquiring one, has also increased. Today, you can use logo creators or hire specialists that will walk you through the logo design process and create the perfect mark for your company. Unfortunately, although the first option is cheaper, making a good and unique logo with the use of a logo creator is nearly impossible. However, with the development of the Internet, it turned out that even a well-designed logo is definitely not enough for your company to flourish.

The competition is fierce and new companies enter the market all the time. Consumers are constantly bombarded with new brands and logos. A logo and a brand must complement each other.

Creating a brand identity, its values and goals is essential to attract new customers and stand out from the competitors. A good logo is a part of many important elements of a brand strategy. This is where branding comes in handy.

The logo identifies the brand, but does not describe it in a broader sense, which is necessary in today’s world. Consumers want to see more than a logo to engage with a company.

Branding is still a young concept. People who know that a brand or a company should have a good logo often do not realize that they have to do a lot more to convince consumers that their products are better than the competitors’ in order to sell more.

Why do logos and branding efforts have to go hand in hand?

While the logo is only a part of the brand strategy, it appears literally at every touchpoint between the brand and its customers. It is on the website, on marketing materials, in advertisements, on the company buildings, brand stands, product packaging, employees’ work clothes, their business cards and company gadgets.

In fact, the logo is one of the main visual elements that people use to identify organizations, companies, brands, products, services, and of course, you as the business owner.

Logos and branding are very important not only for large but also for small businesses. Here is why a well-designed logo is so important if you want to improve branding efforts.

The logo allows consumers to quickly identify and recall the visual identity of the brand

The logo is the main point of brand identification for customers and others who may be interested in the brand – for example, business partners.

It makes the brand visible and easy to spot in various communication and contact channels.

The logo ensures brand consistency in all touchpoints

These days, companies advertise their services and products everywhere – not only on TV, newspapers or billboards, but also on the Internet.

Firms gather their audience on various platforms, social networks, websites, blogs, and events. The logo of a cohesive brand must therefore have multiple functions in order to represent it properly across all channels of communication.

Logo is a part of brand identity

As the business owner, the brand, or organization logo is part of your virtual identity. It is the first thing that graphically represents the brand, its name, values, and personality.

The logo creates a professional brand image and builds trust

Customers expect brands to look professional, and that includes their logos. A good logo design done by a specialist allows brands to stand out and evoke trust. Hiring a designer increases your chances of having a unique and innovative logo that represents your brand identity.

trust

A good logo will distinguish the brand from the competition

When creating a logo, you can use various colors, styles, shapes, and typography. It is a great way to show what your brand really is, what it represents, and compare it to the competing brands. Thanks to the appropriate logo design, clients can also easily remember your company.

The logo strengthens the emotional connection with clients and more

The logo strengthens the bond that people have with brands and increases their loyalty. This is important not only for customers, but also for employees, employee candidates and business partners.

A good logo design helps people remember the company forever and influences how they feel about it. The emotional connection to a brand can be very strong. The best example here is the clothing company Gap which came up with a new logo in 2010. Unfortunately, it was never really used because shortly after its reveal their clients were extremely unhappy about the change – the management decided to keep the old logo and discard the new one.

Brand definition

In order to have a good understanding of the concepts of logo and branding as well as the differences between them, it is essential to understand what a brand really is. Brand is not the same as a company.

Just like a brand identity is not the same as a company’s identity. Company is tangible and the brand is not.

A brand is not a thing, but an idea, a feeling and a brand experience that the customers receive. It is the way in which clients experience the company which created the brand, the essence of what business owners do and what they represent.

A brand is the way people think and feel about a company. In order to create a great brand, you need a real purpose and extra attention to its every aspect, and there are many, for example:

●     vision, reputation, brand mark;

●     business mission and goals;

●     history, values, ideology;

●     promise;

●     definition of the ideal customer;

●     visual identification, including logo design, colors, fonts, packaging and other elements;

●     brand information and marketing;

●     brand tone and brand personality;

As you can see, a brand is the foundation of your business, and the list of its aspects is very long. The logo is important, but it is still one of many elements that actually make the brand.

It is an integral part of the brand identity, which encompasses all the visible elements, for example colors, fonts, icons, bigger or smaller pictures, photographs, patterns or graphics. They are encoded in the minds of customers and make the brand recognizable.

cohesive brand

Logo is not the most important element of a business

This might come as a surprise, especially since it is written on a blog of a company that offers, among other things, logo design services. All business owners should know that a brand should speak for itself, regardless of its size.

Let’s use a larger brand and its drink as an example. Imagine, that you pour Coca Cola into a glass, but you have no idea what this liquid actually is because there is no label or logo on the bottle. You will realize what is in front of you in a matter of seconds based on its smell and taste alone. This is the effect of the whole brand building process.

In the same way, you would always recognize a McDonald’s restaurant, even if the logo was removed from everything that is inside. The colors, the menu, the decor, the smell, the way you order and receive your food, the staff’s attire, their predictable questions, the way the food is prepared – you immediately know it is McDonald’s. It makes no difference whether you see the logo or not. And that is what made this company successful all over the world.

Logo that is not a part of a good brand is nothing more than just a logo. All business owners should know that.

First create the brand and its brand identity, then the logo

The brand is the foundation of the company, so it must have a solid base. Creating a logo for something that does not exist is a mistake. You need to build the brand first. How to create a brand? This process involves finding answers to many important questions in order to come up with the right concepts. With the most important of them being “What distinguishable features does your brand have?”. Here is a list of questions you should answer:

●     What is the purpose of your work?

●     What is your brand vision and mission?

●     What brand values do you want to convey? What is your brand good at and what should be improved?

●     Does your brand have a unique promise?

●     Who is your target audience? How do you want to run your business?

●     How would you like your clients to perceive your brand? What emotions should your brand evoke?

The answers to these questions are the basis of visual representation. The list includes questions about the logo, so it does not make sense to create it first. First you need to know everything about your brand and its elements. Brand building is an active process, involving the creation of a brand strategy and later a brand identity. Once you have chosen your brand’s visual direction, colors, fonts and symbols, you can proceed with new logo design.

Brand vs logo – summary

We hope that you now understand the difference between brand, branding and logo. It is probably already clear to you that you need to create your brand first, and then a logo. Only this order makes sense. The branding process should not be shortened by thinking that simple logo design is enough – it would not work in today’s world.

By reading this article, you also learned that doing everything yourself is a bad idea. A better choice is to hire a logo design and branding specialist, such as Nopio.

If you need a new logo design, we recommend our custom logo design services – you can learn more about them on our website. By using the Nopio services, you can be sure that the product you receive will be of the highest quality.

We also recommend other articles from our blog about logos and branding. If you are a new entrepreneur, make sure to read our branding tips for startups. And if you are interested in the logo itself, read about logo shapes and their meaning.

This knowledge should save you from making a wrong decision. Nopio will help you conquer the world!

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