We are starting a new business and it was recommended to us that we have a brand and a logo. Isn’t a logo and a brand the same thing?
By Jim Sweeney
A logo (both the name and the design) is an element of the brand.
However, the brand is something much bigger and much more important. Your brand is – in a phrase – the sum total of everything that you are. It is your name, your services, your products, your look, your messaging, your hours of operation, your uniforms, your storage units, your collateral, your truck signage, your advertising… Everything.
Your brand is how you are recognized and perceived in the marketplace. It can be created or it can be organic; you can strive to establish and achieve a particular brand or you can just do what you want to do and allow your actions to define your brand for you.
In either case, the marketplace will determine what your brand is based on what they see and experience. In the case of Zappos.com, they can tell the marketplace all day long that they sell more than shoes, but if the brand is already defined by the marketplace as a “shoe retailer”, it is going to take a lot of time and a lot of money to change that brand perception.
This is why it is so very important to establish your brand and your brand strategy at the earliest stages possible. Whether you realize it or not, you are already communicating your brand in the marketplace, through the clothes you wear at meetings, through the collateral material you hand out, through your customer follow up, even through your business cards and your email addresses.
So where do you begin?
Begin by defining (in writing) what you want your brand to be – not just the business you are in, but the type of services/products you want to provide, the kind of relationships you want with customers, the speed of your delivery, the way you look, etc.
Then begin to develop (in writing) the strategies you will employ/deploy to make this brand a reality (e.g., we will provide friendly service, we will always dress professionally, we will guarantee our delivery times, etc.).
Next you want to establish (in writing) your business descriptor, your positioning and your messaging; all of which reflect this brand. Then you want to begin to apply them to your logo and tagline, to your collateral material (copy, photos, layout), to your business cards and stationery, to your web site, to your direct marketing, to your publicity, to your advertising, etc.
How you approach all of this is entirely up to you and your team. Some of it can be done in-house (defining your brand and your brand strategies), some of it should be managed through professional services (creating your business descriptor, positioning and messaging). But all of it should be done in a general order. Of course, there are exceptions to this and every rule, but the prescribed order has logic behind it to ensure your immediate and long-term success.
Plus, it must be noted that the process of defining your brand and your brand strategies does not take months or even weeks; a few focused days are all that is required.
It’s only the tip of the iceberg, but it is a start.
Starting a new business or launching a new product and need branding support? Contact me at jim at sweeneypr.com or 440.333.0001 ext. 101.