The Power of a Brand

Jul 21, 2016

If we, as an agency, had a penny for every time we were asked for "just a logo" from a client or prospective client, well, let’s just stay we’d have a LOT of pennies!

But then again, the amount of literature you can find online, tackling the difference between a logo, an identity and a brand, is monumental, which brings us to the realization that we simply need to keep addressing the topic until we no longer have to.

And you know what, we get why it’s unclear to some (or maybe even most); there’s just way too much industry jargon being thrown around with too many overlapping meanings.

We like to cut through the clutter and keep things simple, so here we go:

A logo:

Is a symbolic representation of your product (product can include product or service), to differentiate it from others. Think of it as your mascot or a country’s flag. It’s a graphic element, usually trademarked, nothing more, nothing less. It can consist of a symbol or it can be simply font-based; in either case, it works best when it’s unique and ownable.

An identity:

Is the combined visual communications, inspired by both the positioning of the product and the logo. These visual communications consist of the colors, fonts, logo usage, stationery, photographic style, and any other visual application at a consumer touch point.

A brand:

Is the emotional bond created between your product and your target audience. It’s a whole universe that consists of your logo, identity and of course your actual offering and the entire consumer experience. It’s the reason why a customer will pay a premium for your product vs. a comparable offer. It’s the reason why a customer will refer your product to a friend. It’s the reason why your brand is aspirational. It’s the reason why your business succeeds! (or fails).

In layman terms, with the advent of technology and media, many products are becoming very easy to replicate. "Me-Too" products can be seen anywhere from electronics to cereals. This means that it's very easy for these products to become perceived as commodities, with differences becoming less and less perceptible. Enter THE BRAND. This is where the magic starts to happen and parity between products breaks down.

Coca-Cola, one of the most valuable brands in the world, is a classic example of what a Super Brand is all about. It’s not by luck or by sheer stumbling blocks that the company got to where it is. R&D, logistics & operations aside, Coca-Cola built a brand to be reckoned with: a timeless identity, coherent communications, ongoing CSR activities (usually adapted to local markets), engaging advertising ("Share a Coke"), eco-friendly planning (PlantBottle technology), in-store activations, celebrity collaboration, etc.

In case you’re wondering how much does a brand really contribute to a company's value, "one answer, cited by Tenet Partners in its 2016 Top 100 Most Powerful Brands report, refers to a study by Ocean Tomo showing that roughly 84% of the value of the S&P 500 is made up of intangible assets including corporate brands."

So, to sum it up, a brand is essentially like a person, so by deduction it should have a personality. And like a person, it should have a journey to call its own. Most importantly, and as is the case with some people, a brand should be influential. Ideally, this is what you want your brand to be.

If you’ve built a business and invested quite a bit of money in it, don’t just wait for business to pick up on its own and definitely don’t skim on investing in your brand. Building a brand and nurturing is a pillar of business success in today’s hyper-competitive world.

For a consultation on brand strategy development and management, get in touch.