A logo is not a brand

A very good article by Dan Pollatta on the Harvard Business School website on what is a brand.  Throughout the corporate world there is a very common misconception that a 'brand' is a logo, however companies who believe this really don't understand their brand.  The article gives a good clarification of what a brand actually is:

 

 

Lots of organizations come to our company, Advertising for Humanity, asking for "a new brand." They typically mean a new name, or icon, or a new look and feel for their existing name. Lots of people think that brand begins and ends there — that once we shine up the name they can stick it below their email signature, pop it on their website, and, voila, they have a new brand. Much of our work consists of disabusing people of this notion.

Brand is much more than a name or a logo. Brand is everything, and everything is brand.

 

Brand is your strategy. If you're a consumer brand, brand is your products and the story that those products tell together. Ikea's kitchen chairs' tendency to fall apart after two years is part of the company's brand. If you're a humanitarian organization, brand is your aspirations and the progress you are making toward them. Share Our Strength's audacious goal to end child hunger in America in five years is its brand. The work the organization is doing to get governor after governor on board is its brand. Its seriousness is its brand. Back in 1969 NASA didn't have the best logo. But man did it have a brand. It has a nicer logo now — but the brand no longer stands for anything. If you don't know where you're going or how you're going to get there, that's your brand, no matter what fancy new name you come up with.


Brand is your calls to action. If Martin Luther King had offered people free toasters if they marched on Washington, that would have been his brand. Are your calls to action brave and inspiring or tacky? Are they consistent with some strategy that makes sense? Getting more Facebook "likes" isn't a strategy, in and of itself. If you're a humanitarian organization, the things you ask your constituents to do are your brand.

 

Brand is your customer service. If donors call your organization all excited and get caught up in a voicemail tree, can't figure out who they should talk to, and leave a message for someone unsure if it's the right person, that's your brand. It says you don't really care all that much about your donors. If they come to your annual dinner and can't hear the speaker because of a lousy sound system, that's your brand. It says that you don't think it's really important whether they hear what you have to say or not. If the clerk at your checkout counter is admiring her nails and talking on her cell phone, she's your brand, whether she's wearing one of the nice new logo caps you bought or not.

 

Brand is the way you speak. If you build a new website and fill it with outdated copy, you don't have a new brand. If the copy is impenetrable — a disease of epidemic proportion in the humanitarian sector — that's your brand. If you let social service jargon, acronyms, and convoluted abstractions contaminate everything you say, that's your brand. If your annual report puts people to sleep, that's your brand. If it's trying to be all things to all people, that's your brand.

Message is a central part of your brand, but message alone cannot make a great brand. How many times have you encountered a product or service that didn't live up to what the copy writers told you about it? That disconnect is your brand.

 

Brand is the whole array of your communication tools. Brand is the quality of the sign on the door that says, "Back in 10 minutes." It's whether you use a generic voicemail system with canned muzak-on-hold, or whether you create your own custom program. The former says you are just like everyone else and you're fine with that; the latter says you are original. You might have a pretty sale banner that adheres to all the right visual standards, but if it's sagging and hung up with duct tape, that's your brand. It says you don't pay attention to the details. Can you imagine seeing a crooked banner with duct tape in an Apple store? Never. And that's their brand. It says that the motherboard in the Mac isn't hanging by a thread either.

In the digital age, user interface is your brand. If your website's functionality frustrates people, it says that you don't care about them. Brand extends even to your office forms, the contracts you send out, your HR manuals. Do you rethink traditional business tools or default to convention? The choice you make says a lot about how innovative your brand is.

 

Brand is your people. Brand is your people and the way they represent you. Having a good team starts with good hiring and continues with strong and consistent training and development. No matter how well your employees adhere to your new brand style guide, if they couldn't care less about the job they're doing, that's your brand.

 

Brand is your facilities. Are the lights on, or is your team working in darkness? Is the place clean and uncluttered? Does it have signage that's consistent with your visual standards? Does it look and feel alive? Your home is your brand.

 

Brand is your logo and visuals, too. A great brand deserves a great logo and great graphic design and visuals. It can make the difference when the customer is choosing between two great brands. But these alone cannot make your brand great.

 

Ultimately, brand is about caring about your business at every level and in every detail, from the big things like mission and vision, to your people, your customers, and every interaction anyone is ever going to have with you, no matter how small.

Whether you know it or not, whether you have a swanky logo or not, you do have a brand. The question is whether or not it's the brand you really want.

 

 

You can see the full article here: http://blogs.hbr.org/pallotta/2011/06/a-logo-is-not-a-brand.html

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Foulds Fine Furnishing

The Foulds Fine Furniture logo design is one that got away, after a lot of work the client decided to pull out.  You can read about that and the entire logo design process over on the blog section of my site: Logo Design Process

The Brief:

Foulds Fine Furniture are currently trading under another name but wish to diversify their current business and move into high class, luxury wooden furniture for both indoor and outdoor.  The company want to incorporate the 3 F's from Foulds Fine Furniture into the new logo, and utilising a black and silver colour palette.

 

After a long process I decided the 3 F's were not going to work, a lot of the luxury brands have a unique symbol or icon that can either stand alone or sit alongside a word mark, so after speaking to the client and giving him a brief of my idea he went back to his client who gave the OK for the new direction, based on the Foulds Family Crest.

 

The Final Logo & The Email

Once I'd finalised the fleur-de-lis, inspired by the family crest, I had a bit of an experiment with colour, even though the brief outline using black and silver to fit in with the website design I was curious to see how it would look with a different colour palette.  Once again I went back to the family crest for inspiration, using the yellow/gold and the red, however as you can see below the colours outlined in the original brief worked much better when applied to the black and white backgrounds.

Colour Variations of the final fleur

 

The Final Design:

So below is the final design that was due to be emailed over to the client for approval, and this was where I was up to when the client cancelled the job. 

Foulds Fine Furniture Final Logo Design

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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