Same Brand, Different Networks: Visual Branding 101

The X-axis identifies brands with a focus on back-to-basics natural food versus product innovations. The Y-axis contrasts brands focused on good taste versus health-related dimensions. With this visual analysis, it becomes easy to see which areas a particular brand “owns” and which areas are potentially underserved. Brand, branding, and brand identity all have different roles, that together, form a perceived image for a business, service or product. Therefore they all can be put in a bucket called business design, but they have different meaning. Many people think of design as either a purely aesthetic profession, or even an advertising discipline.

What’s the Difference between Logo Design and Branding?

Same brand different networks: visual branding 101 &

Why do I hate my new logo?

Never fear, your Cleveland Logo design firm Go Media is here to explain!

Everyone knows what a logo is. It’s that shape companies use to represent their company; like Nike’s swoosh, McDonald’s golden arches (M) or Starbucks green mermaid. But what’s branding exactly? Branding is a more holistic perspective of how your customers experience your company. While a logo is only a small simple mark, a brand includes every single touch-point your customers have with your company.

Let’s use Nike as an example and consider the differences between a logo and a brand.

Nike’s logo is the swoosh. It’s a nice clean simple shape that represents motion and speed. The name Nike is derived from the greek Winged Goddess of Victory. It’s very nice, but it’s just a mark – a simple shape.

Nike’s branding includes its commercials, sports celebrity endorsements, product packaging, store design, product placement on tv and in movies, sponsorships, in-store graphics, hang-tags, the music in its videos, the design of its website, print ads, product photography, technology, and on and on and on… It’s every touch point you have with Nike.

So, why does it matter? Why should I care that my Cleveland Logo Design company Go Media does branding and not just logo design? Here’s why: your customers don’t experience your company in the form of a logo floating to them in a white Matrix-like void. They experience your brand through your website, or your menu or your product packaging or your commercials. It’s important that the design company that is working on your logo understands that your logo is just one small part of a large collection of graphics.

Unfortunately, this is how many business owners think a good logo design works.

Step 1. A potential customer sees a logo.

Step 2. If the logo is ‘good’, they have an emotional and intellectual reaction. They instantly know what the company sells, and they know it’s awesome!

Same Brand Different Networks: Visual Branding 101 &

Step 3. They decide to purchase the product or service.

Naturally, if this is how business owners think branding works, then they would expect to have a strong positive emotional reaction when seeing a new logo concept for their company. But they don’t. Almost all business owners upon seeing a new logo design for their company do NOT have a strong emotional reaction. And since they don’t, they assume the logo design is bad. After all, they have a strong positive emotional reaction to the Nike logo! That’s what makes it a good logo. Right?


So, if the logo itself doesn’t trigger a positive emotional reaction, why the heck do I get so excited when I see the Nike logo? Here’s how it really works:

Step 1. A potential customer sees a logo.

Step 2. If the logo is familiar to them (such as Nike’s swoosh), they will instantly remember all the experiences they’ve had with the brand – the commercials, your experience owning Nike products, seeing your hot neighbor wearing Nike clothes, the packaging, the way your friends talk about the brand, celebrity endorsements, etc.

Step 3. These memories trigger the emotional and intellectual response. Yes! I know this company! I know their products, and they’re COOL!

Step 4. They decide to purchase the latest pair of Nike shoes.

As you can see, the logo is only a visual queue to the brain to recall their experiences interacting with the company (also known as the ‘brand’!) The memory of the brand experience is what triggers the emotional reaction!

So, back to the business owner and the new logo. This is how their experience looks when looking at their new logo.

Step 1. A potential customer sees their new logo design.

Step 2. They do NOT have any memories tied to the new mark.

Step 3. Because they have no memories, they do not feel ‘excited’ or enlightened in any way.

Step 4. They fire their designer.

Now, let me just clarify something. I don’t want to suggest that all business owners instantly hate their logo design and fire their designers. But this is certainly a challenge that designers face when working with business owners – particularly those who have well established brands. Companies with well established brands have many years of experiences with their logo – creating strong emotional attachments. Hopefully this knowledge will help you understand why you’re still clinging to your old logo and not upgrading to a new, better one.

“Well, that’s all fine and dandy Bill, but why are you telling us all of this?” I can hear you thinking. I just want to make a clear distinction between ‘logo design’ and ‘branding.’ What Go Media does for it’s clients is ‘branding.’ We consider all aspects of what makes up a brand, and integrate that into our design process. So, yes, at the end of the project you WILL have:

  • logo
  • fonts
  • color scheme
  • brand style guide

These are all the foundational elements you need for your brand. But during the process, you will find that our team also considers other aspects of your brand. This is unique to each project, but might include things like: hang tags, signage, website, apparel, paper type and finishes, uniforms, billboards, product packaging, etc.

This design process is different than most other firms take and can even be confusing at first to our own clients. In the first couple of rounds they might ask: “Hey! Where’s the logo?” Invariably, they come to understand what we’re doing and by the end they have a much more well thought-out solution for their company. They have more than a logo, they have a brand!

“But Bill!” I can hear you saying “One last thing. Why does your website call your service ‘Logo Design’ if what you really do is ‘Branding?’” Well, the answer to that is simple. More business owners search on Google for the term ‘logo design’ than they do ‘branding.’ So, naturally, I want my website to be optimized for the term people search more. When communicating with clients it’s important to maintain a client centric perspective.

Stay tuned for the next article that details a step-by-step example of our logo (branding) design process: “The Branding Process: 4 Steps to Success”

Sold? Ready to start your branding project with Go Media? Request a Quote for your next Logo Design Project. Or give us a call! 216-939-000

Branding is complex topic. Everybody uses the term “brand” but few will be able to clearly define it. We have had clients, who confuse branding with a website. While websites and digital presence is a significant aspect, it is a part of your overall brand. It is necessary to have a clear understanding of these terms in order to have a clear expectation on branding for your businesses and defining the steps to reach an aspirational state. This is why we are listing out 10 of the most widely used branding elements and explaining them with simple examples.

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10 Branding Elements and What They Mean

Same Brand Different Networks: Visual Branding 101 Free

1. Brand identity

Let us begin with the very basic. What exactly is a brand and what is brand identity? The brand of course is an easily recognizable name that immediately tells people about a certain organization that manufactures certain products or renders certain services. Brand identity is the way people recognize the brand. It may be through the logo or other associated visuals. The Swoosh logo of Nike is very simple, but is immediately recognizable worldwide along with its punchline, “Just Do It”.

Same Brand Different Networks: Visual Branding 101 Reviews

Same Brand, Different Networks: Visual Branding 101

2. Brand image

Brand image is the idea of the brand that people develop in their minds. It also dictates what they expect from the brand. For instance, Rolls Royce has the image of a luxury car maker. So, it cannot be making a budget car even if there is a market. Its existing premium customers won’t take it kindly as it dilutes the said image. It’s hard and sometimes impossible to change brand image, so it’s best to know what you’re aiming at, before you invest hard earned dollars.

Same brand different networks: visual branding 101 pdf

3. Brand positioning

Positioning is the way a product is placed in the market. It basically defines what segments of the market it is targeting. For instance Virginia Slims is a cigarette targeted at women. Basic ingredients in all cigarettes are same but this one has been positioned to attract women by making it slimmer in size and making the packaging sleeker.

4. Brand personality

Brand personality is just like the personality of human beings. It is certain emotional or personal qualities that we associate with a particular brand. For example we can associate youthfulness with Pepsi or ruggedness with Wrangler. Every element of the brand identity including the colour of the logo and the typography on the brand name adds to the personality.

5. Brand equity

Brand equity is the value of a brand. It may include tangible financial value such as market share and revenue as well as intangible aspects such as strategic benefits of the brand. For example Apple is a major technology brand and people perceive it is a premium, cutting edge manufacturer of quality products. So, it is not only the sales but the sheer image that takes the equity to a different level altogether.

6. Brand experience

Brand experience is a combination of everything that a customer goes through while purchasing and using that brand. For example how does one feel while ordering food and eating at KFC? How does the staff behave and how fast do they deliver and of course how did the food taste? Also, since it has many outlets all over the world, all of them are expected to maintain uniform standards of experience.

7. Brand Differentiation

Differentiation, as the word suggests is how a brand stands out in the crowd. For instance Dell Computers lets people choose their components and assemble their own system, thus making it different from others who just sell readymade machines at the shop with no scope for customization.

8. Brand communication

Brand communication is the message it delivers through various sources like adverts, brochures, punchlines and hoardings. If the brand has to grow, it must be able to clearly communicate its core benefits to the customers.

9. Brand gap

Brand gap is the difference between what a brand promises to deliver in its communications and what it actually does. For its own sake, the gap should not be very high. A successful brand must be able to deliver what it promises. No amount of advertising or content marketing efforts can save a bad product.

10. Brand extension

Brand extension is basically the idea of going beyond ones origins and exploring newer fields. For example Google started as a search engine. But now it provides many other services including emails and mobile operating systems. This is how it has extended the brand but it must be done in a manner so that the existing operations complement the newer initiatives. Google gained market intelligence through its search operations and this is what enabled it to develop other services. Films sell merchandise like clothes or toys pre/post release, which are also extensions as they go beyond the main product (the film).

What other branding terminology are you struggling with? Please let us know and we are happy to dig them out for you 🙂

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