"I want you to design a brand for my business - all I need is a logo."
This is a common phrase uttered by clients, and it is a misconception in the minds of many business men and woman who are looking to brand their business. They misunderstand that a brand is not merely a symbol, logo or 'mark' used on a sign outside their doorstep. The reality is something more. The logo design is just one part of a larger branding process. A brand is what huge corporate giants from smaller competitors. The problem that faces most graphic designers and marketing studios these days is clients with almost no knowledge of what a brand is. Sometimes the graphic designer creates a logo design for a client that may fail to establish its presence, but this is hardly the fault of the designer. The client, perhaps, didn't want to pay for the full branding process and therefore the designer was not allowed to fully develop the brand for the client. It was not the failure of the logo, but the failure of the brand to be designed.
Think of this scenario...you have never heard of Apple or before (just assume for a moment). You are unaware of the corporation and what it has to offer to you. Now imagine... if you pass by a someone on an Apple laptop sporting the logo or drive by an Apple billboard, would you be amazed by it?... Probably not. It's just the silhouette of an apple. Back to reality! Famous brands like Apple have actively marketed their logo and established its connection with the company, which is why you have a strong awareness about it. That strong association created in the minds of customers is the brand that has been established and is a large part of why the company has had the success it has. Why buy a computer that costs $2000 rather than a computer you can get for $500? Granted Apple has quality on their side too, but it's also the stigma of having a Mac on your lap rather than an HP.
This is the biggest downfall of branding decisions made by many business owners and entrepreneurs. A brand is not just a mark or a symbol that you put on your company sign board. On the contrary, a brand leaves a mark on your customer that is long lasting. Another major distinction between a logo and a brand is their focus span. Logos illustrates what a company stands for, what it has to offer and what is its purpose of existence. In contrast, a brand has strategic focus. It depicts a vision of the firm as to what the brand will be and what it promises to its customers in the future.
A logo design is a visual representation of any company or business. It projects the image of the company existence in the industry. A brand goes one giant step further in PROTECTING the image of the firm. Whatever you establish through your logo design is inevitably protected by your brand.
Think of the Gap fiasco. The company unfortunately decided to redesign their logo. This attempt failed horribly at the mercy of their customers. But their longstanding BRAND power protected them from any serious damage.
Wrapping it up, logos lay the foundation of a brand but are not sufficient to establish their presence. Brand Marketing does not end with a logo. They must be communicated through a brand in order to be recognized. Think about it next time you ask your marketing company for a logo - perhaps invest in the whole package!