You should not confuse your company’s logo with the brand or the identity of your business. Each one serves a different role and only when they are combined together do you get an accurate depiction of the image that your business has. For many people, they are still unclear on what is the difference between the three, so here is a quick rundown. The logo is the simplest way to identify your business through a simple image such as an icon. The brand is the overall emotional corporate image. The identity is the totality of all the visual aspects of the brand. Now let’s go into more detail about each one.
Branding is a topic that has been discussed in hundreds of publications, but, in simple terms, it represents the personality of a business as it is perceived by the public. It is important to note that the business owner can never create the brand that he wants for his company. This is always left up to the audience, but he can set the foundations for that brand.
It would be wrong to assume that the brand only involves a few elements such as colour choices, slogans, logo etc. It is much more than that as a lot more elements are necessary in order to form the corporate image. This image is built by everything that a company does, everything a company says and everything a company produces. The brand is used to look at a business as a whole. Over time, there is a consistency in the actions of a company that starts to define its brand. The brand becomes a lot more than just words and colours. It becomes the reason why a company exists and what it stands for.
For something more concrete, let us look at a big company like Apple. It is a corporation that strongly values ethics and human culture. It promotes itself by doing good deeds, volunteer work and strengthening the community. All the people that buy Apple products also identify themselves with this image. The values of the company that make up the brand get passed down from the business to its clients. This connection makes the customers feel like they are part of the brand so, as you can see, the relationship goes far beyond a simple logo.
Identity plays a large role in defining the brand of a company. In general, the identity refers to all the visual aspects of a brand that usually adhere to a set of guidelines. The guidelines will determine how the identity of the company is applied through different mediums. They usually refer to colours, fonts, layouts, measurements etc. By sticking to these guidelines, the identity remains coherent which helps to establish it as an integral part of the brand.
Here are the most common elements that make up the identity of a business:
- The logo. This is a symbol that is meant to represent the entire company and its branding through a simple image like an icon or a mark.
- Marketing tools. This refers to simple items that are used for marketing purposes in order to better establish the brand. They include flyers, brochures, booklets etc.
- Stationery. This is pretty self-explanatory: envelopes, business cards, letterheads etc.
- Apparel design. This refers to creating uniforms and other pieces of clothing that are worn either by employees or customers.
- Products and Packaging. This refers not only to the products made by your company, but also the packaging that they come in.
- Actions and messages. This refers to any and all messages relayed by your company through any means.
- Signage. Refers to interior and exterior design.
- Miscellaneous forms of communication
- Other visual aspects that represent your company.
All of these elements combined form the identity of the company. However, the logo is the most important part as it stands alone as an avatar for your business as a whole.
The logo is used for identification purposes. It is a simple image such as a mark or a signature that immediately identifies the business in the minds of the people. It does not have to sell a product or even to specify what your company does. There are no explanations required with a logo. The meaning behind it is also more important than how it looks. It represents the simplest way to identify your company. You can regard it as the name of a person. We use a name as a simple identifier. Instead of referring to someone as “the tall guy who always wears jeans” we just refer to him as Steve. That is similar to the role a logo fills once it becomes familiar to your audience.