To a lot of people, there are no major differences between a brand and a logo. In reality though, that is almost like saying that there is no difference between electricity and a light bulb. Like electricity, branding provides the power needed to allow the logo (the light bulb) to shine.
Although it may be very skillfully designed, a logo is simply a graphic representation of the brand. The brand is the internal essence of an organization as expressed through a collection of values, products, services, people, and culture. Even the most well designed logo has little ability to develop and express brand culture, which may be the single most important component of a brand.
Brand culture is an atmosphere within the organization where employees live their brand values. In this environment the values, customs, and principles of the organization permeate every layer of the organization – inside and out.
The heart of any substantial branding or rebranding venture is to discover and define the core purpose and values of an organization. The principle goal of any branding effort should be to bring the brand culture into alignment with the expressed brand values.
This requires leadership to carefully craft and consistently communicate the brand through every layer of the organization.
Brand management isn’t new. It began at Procter & Gamble on May 13, 1931, with an internal memorandum from Neil McElroy. However, branding has often been misunderstood to simply be another word for logo. Developing and managing an organization’s brand is complex, strategic, and requires wisdom, experience, and commitment.
Creating a viable brand and effectively maintaining a clear brand culture requires extraordinary commitment and patience. Creating a brand culture is more than just telling members of the organization what the principles are. It requires living the brand, authentically and consistently. Once that happens, the logo, the products, the website, the social media, the customer experience all flows out of the brand culture.
Your brand is your most valuable asset — or your greatest weakness. Properly cultivated and managed, it is something you create out of your heart that can inspire others to levels of greatness.
Be your brand.