What Is Brand? Logo Don’t Brand Me. Don’t Brand Me, No More.

Written by

Adam Rice

Design Director

For Adam, it starts with branding: creating the visual identity and standards that will provide a client with a recognizable look and set the tone that makes everything that follows uniquely theirs. Adam’s personal appreciation for how art and words work together helps him bring insightful, intelligent and visually impactful design solutions to each project he touches—from product brochures to trade show booth design experiences. Prior to joining BFT 5+ years ago, Adam spent 10 years working for well-known brands across the contract furniture industry (Steelcase, Herman Miller, izzy+ and The HON Company). He’s also helped rebrand and create visual identities for various museums including the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA), The Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) and Grand Rapid’s ArtPrize. His passion for design developed early; by age 15, he knew he wanted to be a graphic designer.

Good work begets more work.

Fast Facts:

  • Youth sports coach.
  • Known to stalk stray typography in the wild.
  • Loves the crack of the bat, the smell of the grass and hot dogs. Baseball is just the best.

Your logo is great. Everyone agrees that it’s clever, smart and sophisticated. It even looks amazing on mobile. It’s simple and memorable, making it an important differentiator for your company. But here’s the thing: That logo, as timeless as it may be, is not your brand. It’s simply one very visual piece of a larger identity.

I’ve noticed this confusion while having worked with several small B2B in-house marketing teams. Often, team members are wearing multiple hats, and marketing isn’t necessarily their primary function. So, they may not be as steeped in brand identity as other people, such as those in the Creative department, might be. Plus, their company brand guidelines may not be as robust as they could be. In these cases, it’s understandable when people start to think of brand and logo as one in the same. However, an important distinction between the two should be made.

So, What Is a Logo?

Your logo is the visual representation of your brand. More simply: Your logo is for easy, quick recognition. Using graphics and/or typography, a well-intentioned logo may try to express what your brand does as much as possible. That said, your brand—and what it represents—is really so much more than this.. The best logos differentiate but people get that important emotional response and connection from interacting with your brand.

What Is a Brand?

Think of your brand as a collection of perceptions, impressions, experiences and expectations your customers have about your company. It goes beyond just having great products, which is important, of course. It’s how you greet people at the door with a smile, the digital experience provided during a transaction and even the sight of your service vehicles out in the real world. That’s your brand. It’s the condition of your product upon delivery, the hand-painted sign in your window or the time you made your followers laugh with that funny post. Each of these touchpoints—these experiences—not only reflect your brand; they ARE your brand. 
In other words, your brand is your promise and the value you offer customers.

The Whole Is Greater Than the Sum 

Along with your name, your brand’s logo is its identity—the same as your name and face. Who you are and how you act, treat people, talk, walk, laugh, sing and dance are all experiences and touchpoints that make you who you are. Changing your clothes or hairstyle simply alters your visual identity on the surface, but you’re still you. The same is true of your brand.

Your Great Brand Deserves a Great Logo.

Your logo not only needs to look nice, but within today’s digital world and the plethora of devices, it also needs to function properly, such as having the ability to scale without losing the integrity of the visual. Your logo may be the first touchpoint a potential customer sees, and you’ll want to give them the best first impression you can. After that, you’ll want to deliver an impactful brand experience. Your logo will then serve as a reinforcement of that positive experience when they run across it again, leaving them wanting more.