The difference between your logo and your branding

So you want to rebrand?

Time and time again I hear the expression "I would like to rebrand". As a brand specialist working at a branding agency you might think this is great news to me. However what is meant by "rebrand"? Is the person I'm talking to wanting to simply amend their logo, changing the colour from red to blue and add a swoosh on the end - or are they really interested in rebranding.

True branding is a process undertaken to communicate the authentic essence of an organisation, product or service to it's audience. True branding is about telling a stroy which has emotional appeal that allows a prospect to begin to experience what the brand stands for.

The process of branding is not simply a design process. It requires research from within an organisation and from without. A brand is not a logo, a typeface and a set of colours.

What is a "brand"?

Different people define “brand” differently:

"A particular product or a characteristic that serves to identify a particular product"
Collins English Dictionary

“A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.”
Marty Neumeier, The Brand Gap

“A brand is a collective perception in the minds of consumers”
Faris Yakob, Paid Attention

At Attitude we define it as: “the meaning your audience attaches to your organisation, product or services”. The scary thing is that “brands” are therefore not defined by marketers. They are defined by a person’s emotional responses to any aspect of an offer. You don’t own your brand. A potential buyer does.

“Branding” is the practice of actively seeking to manage the meaning your audience attaches to your brand.

In a nutshell, good branding will be a way of clearly communicating to the customer that the brand has value and it will help them achieve something. This is the dream. To manage the meaning of the brand so that all its assets are communicating value which resonates with potential customers.

Before working on a logo, work on your brand

To begin to even start managing the meaning of your organisation, product or service, you need to initially understand the value of what you are offering to your audience. What problem are you solving? If there were no barriers, what would your brand’s vision for the world be? What is your brand’s mission to fulfil that vision? Most importantly you need to understand what your brand is promising. What it stands for. We call these things the brand’s ‘DNA’. Work with your leadership team to determine these branding basics. Without knowing who you are, how can you explain it to others?

Once you have some of these core things in place you can then explore how best to present this information to your audience. Only after this has been done should you really begin to review the design of your logo, choose your colours and font and get a graphic designer in.

This would be a proper "rebranding" exercise.