What’s the difference between a brand, identity and a logo?


It’s all a little confusing. When you start a business or are looking to refresh your current offering, knowing the difference between the three is important to build the most accurate picture of what your business is. We’ll explain the difference between a brand, an identity and a logo in a simple format so it’s easy to understand the breakdown for your business.

What’s a brand?

Your brand is your business image. Your brand is how you are perceived by the public in the most emotional way. It is your personality and is shaped by your audience. Your brand is strengthened (or weakened) by your identity and logo. 

What’s an identity?

The identity of your business is made up of multiple applications both visual and perceptive. This includes the logo, stationery, marketing collateral (like flyers, websites), products and packaging. All of these items in combination represent a brand’s identity and support the brand as a whole. They make the brand visually attractive and consistent. The four parts of an identity are:

Logo – A visual symbol representing your business

Tagline  Short brand statement/motto

Visual Aesthetic – Colour palette, fonts, design style, applications

Writing – Tone, vocabulary, style and syntax

I know what a logo is, how does it fit?

It identifies the business in an immediate, simple way. It should be clear, memorable, and not literal. For example, Coca Cola does not use their iconic bottle shape in their primary logo. Additional material in combination with their strong logo sometimes uses their iconic bottle shape. This helps keep the primary logo, and thus the message, clear.

Your business logo should be strong and look to transcend any kind of trends so it can last for years before requiring a refresh, if at all.

What makes a good logo? It should be simple, versatile, memorable, timeless and appropriate to your business. It needs to be used in multiple applications and immediately convey a sense of trust and quality.

The benefits of a strong brand

The main benefit of a strong brand is of course customer recognition. What makes you better than the rest? Do you stand out from your competition? This can be built and strengthened by customer loyalty, which comes from a consistent message and offering. Each time a piece of visual collateral is created for your brand it builds equity and credibility.

The words you use to communicate your offering, sales, products or services gives confidence to your customers and attracts potential business. We often talk in design about the importance of hierarchy – this means the ordering of your message needs to be clear and immediately apparent in each piece of marketing. Get this right and repeat for a strong and consistent message.

Customers love the human touch. They love to see shared values and build an emotional connection with brands. It also attracts the right talent in employees, which is invaluable. Reputation and confidence in your brand is built from day one, so it’s important to be honest and consistent.

How do we develop a brand?

We start by defining a brand strategy. What is your ‘why’?

It must have a purpose. Explain why you are in business and what specific needs or market gaps are you filling? Understand your target audience.

It must be consistent. You must be able to define the day to day running, products and services of your business.

It must have emotional impact. How are you going to build strong relationships and bonds with customers? Zero in on your target audience and understand what it is they are looking for.

Once we have been locked your comprehensive brand strategy down, we can then begin designing the rest of your brand’s collateral. This could be a mix of business cards, letterheads, brochures, social media graphics, packaging, signage etc.

Once we get it rolling, what next?

Begin your brand journey. Track what marketing collateral and messages have the best reach, interaction and leads with customers. Adjust as needed. This could mean simplifying your message, adding more information, or even adding another product range due to demand. Not many businesses will stay exactly the same over the years. There is a definite need to get the balance right between the digital and print environment and find what works best for your business. 

It’s crucial to identity when tweaks are required to make sure communication with customers is clear and business outcomes are met or exceeded. Growth in your brand is exciting and should be met with a feeling of opportunity. Being easy to find and contact is incredibly important and needs to be considered at every turn. 

Give your business the best opportunity to succeed

So, what’s the difference between a brand, identity and a logo? We hope you will now find it easier to identify each. As a brand, there are questions to ask at the beginning and throughout your business lifespan. The most important question being what does your business want to be known and remembered by customers for? Circle Media can help you establish a strong brand and hit the ground running. Get in touch today.

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