The Logo is Not Enough: The True Nature of Branding

The logo is not enough.

With so many people still thinking that branding is superficial and unneeded, there are just as many people thinking that creating a logo and brand identity will magically transform their business into a brand.

That is not the case.

In this day and age, when people are starting to understand the importance of branding, they still don’t know how to define the notion. No, branding is not simply putting together the brand identity. Using your logo on the packaging. Keeping consistent with all your designs and illustrations.

A brand is what people think of you; the associations they have, the feeling they get.

Why are logos, and brand identity elements not enough?

Do you know how many brands can a consumer retain in their memory per 1 category? Only 3–7. Not a lot, eh? You need to stand out.

But, with such competition, it is not easy to stand out. Practically impossible, we might say. The businesses appear and die every day and we don’t even notice. Even if you, followed by guides on the web, create yourself an awesome brand identity, and a logo, and eagerly use it everywhere: chances are people still won’t notice you.

So what should you do?

You need a story to tie together all elements of your branding, otherwise they are meaningless.

Create a story of your brand.

However you look at the biggest brands of today, they all have a big mission. So big, that in order to achieve it, one lifetime won’t suffice. The mission is to fight evil (yes, don’t laugh, just keep on reading).

Like every story you read in the books or watch in the movies, yours should also contain a hero and a villain. Your role in this will be to become an advisor, a master Yoda-like character.

Consider your branding a long story, where your brand is there to help the hero — which is your audience, to overcome a villain.

Who is the villain, you might ask? Well, it can have different faces. Insecurities (Dove), Averageness (Apple), anything that pains the life of your audience.

Whatever the villain’s identity, you have to make sure that it feels real, and threatening. If people do not fear the villain, why would they pay for you to help combat it? Your villain should be relatable, and singular. Try not to create multiple ones, as you will have a hard time convincing people that they need to face all of them.

With your brand communications, you have to make your audience a hero of your story. And they should be actively participating in it.

Meaning that you have to enter their lives.

How to enter your audience’s lives?

First of all, analyze. Your mission here is to know exactly what niche you take in their hearts. You need to find what great pain you can help them lift with your brand.

Now, many brands think that this pain should be of external nature. But oftentimes it is easier to appeal to people if you’re offering a sweet release from their internal conflicts. A great example of the brand lifting the internal pain would be Dove. With their campaigns, they made a statement that beauty is not what we think it is. With this message, they managed to appeal to people who have insecurity rooted in their minds and allowed them to feel better about themselves.

As you can see, the ‘pain’ doesn’t have to be literal. Nike won’t be considered so awesome if they were selling shoes under the slogan Great quality shoes for your workout. They aspire to beat laziness and insecurities. With their initiatives and messaging they inspire people to find greatness. They don’t define it, they say your greatness is unique. Just do it, set a goal, and reach it.

They found their villain and they are waking the hero for the battle with them. Grand mission found.

The conclusion: don’t ponder over messaging, ponder over people. Most brands are forgotten because they fail to focus on their aspects that will help people thrive.

Now that we’ve defined who has which role in your branding story, let’s move to the biggest problem most brands are guilty of. It being, you’re too complicated.

Even if you’ve sorted out your branding elements, and decided on the brand strategy if your audience cannot understand what you want from them, it won’t go anywhere.

Don’t make your customers wander around, clicking through the website just to get a hint of what you are offering. Make sure your messaging is clear and not confusing. This is not the case you want to appear mysterious; people look for services, and they will find them somewhere else if you won’t be clear enough.

The bottom line

Your brand is not a bunch of separate elements. You have your brand identity, strategy, and logo. Now you have to tie everything together with a story. A relatable story, in which you are helping your clients to overcome their villains. Make them see what they can become with your help, don’t just describe your brand with dry adjectives.

Be clear with the way you talk to your audience, and convince them that your brand is exactly what they need to become the main characters in their own lives.

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