The difference between a brand and a logo is misunderstood by many. Business owners often believe a professional logo suffices as the criteria for having a brand. So, what is the difference?
This blog post will outline the difference between a brand and a logo while outlining the reasons why having a strategic brand for your business is so important, especially if you are trying to build an online community.
Let’s start with the question of the day, and possibly of the century:
“What is branding?”
In my definition, branding is the overall feeling encompassed by your business. It is embodied by what people feel when they interact and gain experience with your business.
An example of this is Starbucks. Starbucks has branded themselves especially well, which explains their exponential growth over the past ten years. Starbucks has branded itself as the beverage/food company for the trendy, environmentally-conscious consumer. Starbucks customers are willing to pay a premium for their drinks because they like the status symbol of that green emblem in their hands. Not only does it make the consumer feel “cool,” but it also is a visual symbol to everyone around of how the consumer wants others to view them and their beliefs.
Even I must admit, my opinion toward the actual Starbucks products is neutral. I do not think their drinks are bad, but I also do not think they are anything special. Though I am not a frequent customer, I do feel rather trendy whenever I purchase from their store. I almost feel like I am a California girl being healthy and doing good for the environment.
These are the types of emotional responses that make brands so powerful. It is not the logo that makes us feel this way when we interact with brands. These emotions are built off of the experience we have with the brand. It is not a one-and-done exposure to a logo. A brand is built through the logo, advertisements, graphics, commercials, voice, and many more aspects of a business.
Your logo, therefore, is only one small piece of your brand. Alone, it does not mean much. I like to think of a logo as a Monopoly dollar. Sure, it might look like something that has value, but it is a worthless dollar if there is no gold backing it. It is only something to look at and be pretty. This is the common misconception trap business owners fall into. They think paying hundreds or thousands of dollars on a professional logo is the magic trick to eliciting emotions from consumers and making them want to hand over their money to make a purchase. While a professional logo will certainly help, it is not the end-all-be-all to creating a successful business. A logo is one visual element of many within your brand. It is used to represent you, but there must still be the substance behind it. Like the gold with a dollar, your logo must have a brand backing it to add value.
Now that we have a firm understanding of the difference between a brand and a logo, let’s dive into:
Why is a brand important to business owners?
There are three main reasons why having a brand for your business is so important.
The first reason you need a brand is that it helps differentiate you. Almost any market space you decide to enter will already be saturated unless you happen to find an area where you can be a first-mover. Even then, you will need a brand to differentiate yourself if you want to maintain an edge once competition arrives. A brand allows consumers to relate with your brand over others. The emotions evoked if they have interacted with you before, or the first-impression gave off by your brand, if they are a first-timer, makes all the difference when someone is trying to make up their mind between your product/service and another. If the consumer feels you can relate to them more and soothe their pain points better, they are more likely to choose you over the plethora of other options available.
The second reason you need a brand is that it allows you to charge a premium. We can go back to the Starbucks example here. Consumers will pay $6 for a Starbucks cup of coffee over the $1 Community Coffee they could get at the convenience store right across the street. Heck, they might even have free coffee waiting for them at the office but still, choose to stop at Starbucks. This is because Starbucks has created a brand that evokes emotion in its consumers. This is the power of a brand. It allows you to charge more for essentially the same product/service because consumers become emotionally attached to you.
The third reason why having a brand is so important is because it enables you to build a community. Think for a second about the Jeep community. Have you ever owned a Jeep or taken a ride in a Jeep with a friend? Everywhere you go, other Jeep owners will honk and wave. It is almost like all Jeep owners are a part of one big, exclusive family. There are private groups everywhere created specifically for Jeep owners. This community was built through the brand Jeep created. A brand has a personality and allows people to come together through shared interests and personality traits. Once you have consumers in your brand’s community, it is much less likely they will leave you for a competitor and they will become raving fans and tell others about your product.
Have I convinced you of the importance of branding yet? I sure hope I have.
Creating a strategic brand for your business is often the missing piece to take your business from another run-of-the-mill company to an over-the-top powerhouse in your industry. Creating this type of emotion-inducing brand can sometimes be a bit of an investment, but it is an investment with a huge return.
If you are considering taking that next step in your business and want help rebranding, reach out to me and I’ll see what I can do to help. Until next time friends…
Upward and Onward!
Founder of Honeywave Creative