Logos are ok. Let’s talk brand identity

MadeKnown 6 min

People often confuse terms related to 'brand' due to their interconnected nature and the, often, underestimated complexity of brand development.

Let’s explore some of the common concepts of branding that can often overlap and lead to confusion.

Distinguishing Terms: Brand, branding, and brand identity

The concepts of brand, branding, and brand identity, while often used interchangeably, hold distinct meanings. Brand identity serves as the visual representation, encompassing logo marks, colour schemes, and design attributes. In contrast, branding is an ongoing process involving the consistent execution and evolution of the brand identity.

Iconic visuals: The power of logos and design attributes

When thinking of renowned brands, iconic logos such as the Nike swoosh, Apple symbol, Big W ‘W’, Bunning’s hammer or McDonald’s golden arches immediately come to mind. Beyond logos, distinctive design attributes, like graphics, fonts and colours, play a crucial role in brand recognition. These visual elements set businesses apart in a competitive marketplace.

Beyond the logo: Preliminary steps in defining a brand

Contrary to the misconception that a logo defines a brand, there are essential preliminary steps in the brand definition process. Comprehensive research, strategic planning, audience understanding, and identity development are key components. Australian brands like Commbank, Woolworths and Telstra exemplify the deliberate process required for maintaining unwavering identities.

Foundations of identity: Research, strategy, and planning

Research, strategy, and planning form the foundational elements of brand identity development. Despite the perceived mundanity of this for creative minds, delving into data and strategy illuminates and directs the creative process. These elements contribute to informed decision-making, guiding the formation of a brand identity.

Collaborative creativity: Crafting the brand identity

Defining a brand identity is a collaborative effort involving strategists, designers, creative directors, and copywriters. This collaborative process results in a cohesive brand look and feel, documented in a brand guide. The brand guide, often misunderstood as a mere display, serves as a very practical tool for consistency.

Elements of identity: More than just a logo

A brand identity extends beyond the logo, encompassing logo variations, colour palettes, font choices, headline treatments, photography style, and other graphic elements. Additionally, brands can incorporate a narrative section, including linguistic elements such as tone-of-voice and word choice to foster a deeper connection with their target audience.

Consistency is key: Executing the brand across touchpoints

Consistency across various touchpoints and channels is beyond paramount in the branding process. A well-defined brand executed consistently becomes a potent marketing tool. The brand guide, once created, serves as a practical tool for ensuring a uniform brand experience across all interactions.

Communication beyond visuals: Building connections through content marketing

While a consistent look and feel are crucial, the communication of a brand’s personality is equally vital for building lasting connections with customers. Beyond visual elements, the brand’s character comes to life, forming real connections with loyal brand enthusiasts. This intersection of visual identity and meaningful communication is the essence of content marketing.

In brief

Understanding brand concepts such as brand, branding, and brand identity always brings significant advantages. Brand identity, including logos and graphical design elements, promotes recognition and helps set a business apart. The branding process itself nurtures loyalty by consistently evolving a brand’s image.

Comprehensive brand definition, exemplified by brands like Commbank and Woolworths (insert any brand that resonates), ensures a strong and enduring identity. Tight client/agency collaboration in the strategy behind brand identity always leads to a cohesive experience. Documenting the outcome in brand guides, to ‘guide’ consistent application across all and any touchpoint relevant to the audience, is ideal… and another subject, altogether 🙂

Consistency across channels is a powerful marketing tool. Simply put, effective communication builds enduring customer connections. The ultimate outcome of this is to foster brand advocates.