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What is a "Brand"?

First of all, let’s clear up a common misunderstanding...your logo is NOT your brand. Your logo is not your brand. Your logo is not your brand.

Your logo is a piece of a larger pie that makes up your brand, and we’re going to get into that in a moment.

What is a logo?

I learned something interesting recently, and it’s more of a technicality, but I learned that the word “logo” isn’t even used correctly. It stems from the Greek word “logos” which translates to “word” in the English language. The term designers were using back in the day was “logotype” which means "a custom lettered word," and over time it got shortened to "logo." It was a cool and catchy sounding word, so it stuck with people and became what we now think of when we say "logo" today.

Technically, what we refer to as a logo is actually a "trademark." According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, "a trademark can be any word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these things that identifies your goods or services."

A trademark can be created many different ways, here are a few examples:

  1. as a wordmark

  2. as a symbol

  3. as a monogram

An example of a wordmark trademark would be Google. An example of a trademark that was created with a symbol would be Nike with their iconic swoosh. And lastly, a good example of a monogram trademark would be IBM.

Again, that’s a technicality, and I applaud you if you made it through that jumbled explanation! For the record, I’m still going to call it a "logo" because I want to be able to communicate with my clients and use terms everyone will understand. And let's be honest, it is a catchy word.

So if your logo isn’t your brand, then what is a brand?

Your brand is a very intangible thing. It’s a perception that is held in the minds of others, in the minds of your customers and those who see or interact with your company.

“A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or company.” - Marty Neumeier, The Brand Gap

However, there are some very tangible things that form the whole of your brand and help to form those perceptions that people have of your company. Those perceptions are formed whenever they see or interact with anything that represents your company: your logo, colors, fonts, icons, signage, website, physical location, personality, story, staff and how they interact with customers, photography style, social media presence, and more.

Your brand lives in the thoughts and perceptions of other people and your brand is what others say about you when you’re not in the room...and that’s a scary thought! Luckily, we can help to steer the conversation and influence our brand through Brand Strategy.

What is Brand Strategy?

Brand Strategy can sometimes feel like sort of a buzz word. It’s this seemingly intangible thing, but when you boil it down, Brand Strategy is simply making a plan for your brand. It’s investing your time and resources into intentionally building out all those things we listed out above.

When you’re strategic about your brand, you have the opportunity to shift the conversation and influence how people perceive your company.

Does Branding Matter?

In short, yes. 100 percent yes. And here's a story to prove it:

A few years ago Payless launched a fake, luxury shoe brand they called "Paylessi" and invited fashion influencers to come buy their exact same shoes for $200, $400 and even $600+ price points! The logo was polished, the store front was luxurious, and these influencers were recorded on camera raving about the high quality materials and shoe designs.

Does branding matter? Yes. Not sure where to start with your brand? I've got you covered. Check out The Four Essential Brand Components.


Next Steps

Branding is at the heart of soul of what we do here at Branch. I'd love to chat about your company, your goals and your vision for your brand and determine if we are a good fit to bring all of that to life through brand strategy and design!


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