Understanding the Differences Between Branding, Brand Identity, and a Logo

What's the Difference Between Branding, Brand Identity, and Logos?


Understanding the Differences Between Branding, Brand Identity, and a Logo

If you are starting a new business, you know how important it is to have a strong and recognisable brand. However, if you are not a graphic designer or a digital marketer, some questions can potentially arise and generate confusion.

Some of those questions may be – what is branding, and how does it differ from brand identity or a logo? If I have a logo designed, does it mean I have my branding identity established?

Because branding is just a huge defining factor in your success, you don’t want to jinx it. So, it’s best to start by learning to differentiate between these key concepts – brand, branding, and logo.

So, let’s dive right in!

What is a brand?

Generally, people seem to think that a brand is just its logo, whereas, in reality, a brand is so much more than that. A brand is constituted by many things, and a logo is just a tiny part of it. You can think about a brand as an emotional relationship between the business and its customers. A quick and easy example to understand this concept is by thinking about large brands that have managed to create such a strong relationship with their customers that everyone can recognise them, like Coca-Cola.

Sure, you see Coca-Cola’s logo, and you recognise the brand from a mile away. But, Coca-Cola does something wonderfully well, which makes you feel things just by looking at its logo. Coca-Cola is an experience in and of itself. It is associated with happiness, family, and Christmas, and that’s exactly the way that they want you to feel when you think of them.

Isn’t it wonderful? The same thing applies to other large brands like Apple, McDonald’s, and Amazon. Creating a gut-feeling about your brand that people instantly perceive you as will help you stand out from the myriad of competitors out there. The stronger your brand and the feelings it evokes in your customers, the stronger the relationship you will forge with them.

If you think about it like this, people fall in love with a brand, they trust them, defend them when other people bad-mouth them, and become ambassadors for them. Apple is an amazing example of this. So, you can see how brand perception is a huge defining factor in your success.

    “Differentiate between these key concepts – brand, branding, and logo.”

What is a logo?

A logo can be an image, text, or shape (or the combination of the three) that is used to represent the name and the goal of a business. However, a logo is typically more than just that. A well-designed logo (and we don’t refer specifically to just the aesthetics here) can portray the brand’s core values and its message.

A logo will help in the process of building an emotional connection with your audience, separating your brand from the competition. Because a logo is the first visual presentation of your brand, it needs to generate a great impression. Creating a logo is one of the first things that businesses do when it’s about to be launched to the market. To create a great logo, there are a few components to take into consideration.

First, think about the colours that your logo will include. These, aside from being aesthetically pleasing to the eye, should be in line with your predesigned colour palette. Checking out the psychology behind each colour could be a good starting point if you haven’t decided on your colour palette yet.

A logo could be just an image, text, or a combination of both. If it includes typography, it should be legible and offer a clear contrast with the background colour. If your logo is just an image, it could be a simple icon, a symbol, or a more intricate picture. However, always think about the dimensions of your logo to avoid quality loss if it needs to be resized.

You can also include a tagline under a logo. A tagline is a short sentence or catchphrase that helps to clarify what your brand does and also to catch your audience’s attention.

When you design a logo, there are a few things that can help in making it stand out from the rest. We will list them as follows:

1. Legible

This is crucial for logos that include typography in them. If your audience has to squint to make out what it says or if they can’t at all, you can rest assured that you will lose their interest.

2. Unique

This is probably a no-brainer, but a logo should be specially designed for your brand, and it should embody its core message and values. Your logo should help you distinguish your brand from the competition.

3. Scalability

There are as many screen sizes and platforms today as there are logos, so yours should be able to scale accordingly without losing quality. The more versatile your logo is, the better for your branding.

What is branding?

Branding is the way your consumers perceive your brand. So, you could say that branding is all about perception. There are actions you can execute to channel your brand into being seen under a certain light. Most likely, however, it will be your consumers who “decide” how your brand is seen as.

To dig a little deeper, we can say that branding is about communication. Through branding, you express your brand’s values, characteristics, and attributes that define what your brand is and what it is not.

This is mainly done through advertising campaigns, using the brand identity and strategy to fuel those campaigns so that the message comes out strong. To establish the right perception for your brand, it is useful to consider a few questions like what’s your goal brand? What do you want your consumers to see your brand as? What do you want your brand to be associated with? The more real and authentic you are, the more you will be able to stand out from the competition.

What is a brand identity?

Brand identity is all the visible elements of a brand. This includes the design, colours, and logo. To put it simply, if branding is what your customers perceive of your brand, the identity is what they can see from you.

We said that brand identity was composed of the sum of various elements. Those elements are the following:

  • Logo and Its Variations
  • Colour Palette
  • Typography and Typefaces
  • Graphical Elements
  • Imagery
  • Style Guide
  • Visual Identity on Social Media

Building a strong brand identity is what is going to help you stand out from competitors and create distinguishability for your brand.

Usually, large companies have special departments in charge of building brand identity and maintaining it. This is not the case for smaller companies, but they still must build a good brand identity. It is mandatory for any brand that wants to make a name for themselves.

If you manage to create a strong brand identity, you will likely end up also benefiting from the “halo effect”. This is something that occurs when your brand identity is strong; it has gained customer loyalty and contributes to brand equity.

Once you are under the “halo effect”, you will immediately start reaping the effects of stronger consumer awareness and popularity too, because your consumers now know the value of your products or services. Therefore, this effect also boosts your mindshare (a marketing term used to describe the amount of consumer awareness and popularity around your brand or products).

Building a strong brand identity is key to success, pretty much like having a good branding is. However, this is still a choice and one you might not decide to pursue. Just bear in mind that whether you decide to invest in brand identity or not, you will have a brand identity that is going to be presented to your customers.

How much you decide to invest in it is what they will see. It has a direct correlation. So, if you decide not to invest much, that’s what your consumers will see from your brand, and the same thing applies in reverse.

Parting thoughts

Creating a brand is a complex process, and it involves some deep research at the beginning to not mix up terms, such as brand, branding, logo, and brand identity. Hopefully, by now, you have learned the real difference between each term and have a clearer grasp of how you want to build your brand and its image.

As a recap, let’s cover once more what each term means in a summarised way:

  • A logo is a symbol that represents your company’s values and line of business. It can be either an image or text or a combination of both. It is what will represent your company.
  • A brand is an overall experience your customers have with your business. A brand is composed of the sum of various components, including branding and brand identity. As Jeff Bezos once famously said: “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
  • Branding is the process in which you develop a unique business name and aesthetics for your brand, product, or service.
  • Brand identity is all the visible elements of a brand, and it refers to what your customers see of your brand. This can be the colour palette, design, and logo.
Understanding the Differences Between Branding, Brand Identity, and a Logo

So, we now encourage you to create a strong brand. One which includes all the components we discussed in the article. This will help you achieve a strong presence that will make you stand out from the competition as well as raise awareness with your consumers and potential prospects.

If you still have questions regarding each term and how to best make them work for your brand, edirect offers professional branding and graphic design services that will guide you in this process expertly. Just hit the contact us button and you’ll be in touch with one of our experts.

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