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Branding Means Logos, Right? Hardly.

January 26th, 2009

I run into a lot of corporate leadership types who think branding is a just developing a great logo. I try to explain the difference between a brand and a logo, but it often seems like more that they can handle – “too much work” seems to be the consensus.

Yes, branding is a lot of work, and yes it involved a lot more than just developing a logo – but if you are committed to establishing a brand that will be memorable and taken seriously, it is well worth the effort. 

A brand is in fact how a company ‘feels’ (what it says and does consistently) not what a company ‘looks like.’ It is the essence of a company’s soul; its belief systems, philosophy, commitment to excellence and its love or distain for customers and suppliers all rolled into one fleeting moment of opportunity when an audience thinks of your company. The essence of that brand identity should be reflected in its logo, themeline and mission, not the other way around. 

Most importantly, it is how the senior management acts and reacts to situations, be they production problems, customer complaints, employee relations and the like that communicate some of that brand essence to its employees, suppliers and customers. When a CEO pays only lip service to the company brand, a positive brand identity will not survive because of the trickle down effect of apathy. The audiences who watch the senior management use cues they get from corporate leaders to guide their own behavior, leading to sloppier production, lackadaisical customer service ultimately negatively impacting the company brand. 

Management that treats its employees poorly will in turn ‘empower’ its employees to treat customers and suppliers badly. Employees, customers and suppliers all have friends, relatives and social circle, and before you know it, your company name and brand is damaged. 

This same initiative works in your marketing communications as well. Your company’s brand image is projected through its advertising, collateral material, stationery, logo and other visual tools. Being consistent, communicating clearly, and factually will enhance your brand image. Sloppy marketing, inconsistent messaging and poor quality materials will tell your readers that the company is sloppy, inconsistent and cares little about product quality. 

Fore more on developing a successful brand, please download my e-book on why brand initiatives fail and how to avoid them. Available from our website at