What is branding? And, is it different from logo design?

What is branding? Branding is the process of defining who you are as a business. It helps you gain clarity so that you can connect with your ideal customers.

As a small business, you may be wondering: what is branding? Do I even need it? And what’s the difference between branding and logo design? 

Recently, I undertook some market research to find out what small businesses were looking for when it came to branding, but instead, what I found was that most people confused branding with logo design and visual identity design. The following article presents simple definitions of what a brand is, what is branding, what is logo design and what is visual identity design.

So what is a brand?

In short, your brand is how your business is perceived, whereas branding is the process of shaping those perceptions. A brand is held in the minds of your customers. It’s their perception of your business, what you do, who you are, what you stand for and why. It’s the reason they rave about you to their friends and loyally support you, through the good times and bad. 

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

Jeff Bezos

What is branding?

If your brand is how your business is perceived, branding is the process os shaping those perceptions. Through the process of branding, brand designers can help you to define who you are as a business and help you to gain clarity on the what (products or services), the how (your point of difference) and the why (your purpose). Understanding this helps you to dig deeper and uncover who your ideal customers are and what your brand positioning is, so that you can craft the right brand messaging and strategic visual identity that will connect with them.

Through branding, you can create a strategic framework, or blueprint, that will guide all of your future campaigns, marketing and advertising material in order to ensure every customer touchpoint has meaning, purpose and relevance to your brand. 

The ultimate goal of branding is to work out how to put your business in front of the right people (your ideal customers) and build a connection with them so that they become your biggest fans.

What is a logo?

A logo is a visual representation of your business, in the form of a unique and carefully considered design that usually consists of a logomark (a pictorial design), a logotype (the company name presented in a specific style), or a combination of these. A logo should be unique, visually identifiable and recognisable. 

What is a visual identity?

A visual identity is the set of visual elements -including your logos, brand marks, brand assets, fonts, colours, patterns and imagery- that generates visual consistency for your brand and showcases your brand code

Your brand code is how people know it’s you, without seeing your logo or mentioning your name. For example, Qantas consistently sprinkle their trademarked colour red throughout their commercials from beginning to end (maybe there’s a red ribbon floating in the breeze, or a bunch of red roses in a vase). You recognise the colour immediately for its association with Qantas and you know you’re not watching an ad for Jetstar.

Another example is Cadbury’s purple.

Or Burberry’s checks and stripes.

In summary

Branding is not the same as logo design, or visual identity design. They all work together to create a cohesive brand that your customers love. In other words, you could design a logo without going through the process of “branding” – but it’s not easy to build brand loyalty, or even brand equity without it.

I hope this has helped to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the differences between branding and logo design.

Has it changed your mind on what to look for?

Need branding that connects? Let’s chat.

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