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Your Logo is Not Your Brand

“Branding” is a word that has lost a lot of its specificity in the digital age. If you ask 10 people what the word means, you’re likely to get as many different answers. The most common will sound something like, “a logo and colors.” That answer is partially correct, but in actuality it does a disservice to the importance of brand identity. Contrary to popular belief, slapping your logo on things is not going to solve inherent problems that may exist within your brand.

If you think of your company’s brand as a house, then your logo is just the welcome mat outside the front door. It’s important, it’s the first thing people see, and it welcomes them into your space. First impressions are important, but they’re not the end-all; no matter how nice the welcome mat may look, it doesn’t inherently promise anything about the interior of the house.

Sneakers with doormat

There are so many things about your home that make it unique, and that’s what makes visitors want to come back time and time again. Your furniture is arranged a certain way, the decorations on your shelves and wall are curated to suit your style, and the rooms are painted just the way you like them. In the same way, your company’s messaging, core values, feel, color, tone of voice and approach are just as important as your first impression.

A nice welcome mat is great, but it’s useless if the rest of your brand is a jumbled and confusing mess.

An excellent example of this model is Nike. When they first unveiled their famous “swoosh” in 1971, the mark itself meant absolutely nothing. As time went on and they grew in popularity, their products became known for their quality, their athletic presence and their dominance on and off the field. Today, the Nike “swoosh” symbolizes these things to people all over the world, and is one of (if not the) most recognizable logos on the planet. This process didn’t happen overnight, and the result had nothing to do with the logo itself.

London, United Kingdom - April 22, 2011: Nike store logo located in central London, near Covent Garden. The Nike Swoosh logo hanging from a house wall. Nike is a global sports clothes and running shoes retailer. Nike stores are located all over London. Covent Garden is a famous shopping area and tourist hot-spot.

When you are looking to further your brand in this digitally driven world, it’s important to build trust and loyalty with your audience. Welcome them past the logo, and they’ll find value that sets you apart from the rest of the brands on your block. Each of these pieces plays a key role in building a cohesive, approachable and flexible brand identity that will keep customers coming back for more.