The words logo, identity, and branding can seem pretty interchangeable when you’re a business. After all, each of these words refers to the idea of what your company is, and what it represents. It’s the concept of your reputation, which is both intangible and ironclad, and if you’re not a marketing professional it can seem like there’s no reason not to use these terms interchangeably. So what exactly is the difference between a logo, identity and branding?

If you’ve been doing that, though, you should stop. Because each of these terms is a specific idea all its own, and keeping them independent of each other can help shape your understanding of how the more ephemeral parts of your business strategy work together.

What’s the Difference between a Logo Identity and Branding?

Let’s start with your company’s logo. In the true sense of the word, your logo is your “brand,” because it’s the mark that’s stamped on your products. Like in the days of the Old West, when cowboys would brand cattle, and horses, so everyone could tell at a glance which ranch they belonged to. In a more modern sense, though, your brand is the symbol of your company, and it often extends to your mascot if you have one. For example, the Walt Disney Company’s castle with the cursive “Disney” written across it, is commonly seen as the company’s logo. Mickey Mouse, though, is also seen as the face of the company in many ways, which also puts him under the idea of a logo.

Next, we move onto identity. Identity is a bigger sphere than your brand, because it encompasses the complete package of your company materials. For example, if your business has a jingle, or a slogan, then that falls under your identity. Your store policies, layout, employee uniforms, and even your packaging design all fall under your identity as a company. Your logo is like the smallest nesting doll that fits inside the bigger doll which is your identity.

Lastly, we come to brand. Your brand is an idea, as opposed to a physical object, and it can occasionally be difficult to identify. Despite that, though, your brand is one of the most important things your company can have. Your brand is made up of how people see you, your company’s reputation, and the things that you stand for. For instance, part of the Dollar General’s brand is that it has low prices, and people ascribe that quality to them in their minds. Part of Subway’s brand is that it provides fresh food made the way its customers’ want. But there’s also elements of friendly service, a personal relationship, and other, intangible things that go into those brands. So, your brand is the biggest of the nesting dolls, even if it takes place largely in the hearts and minds of your audience, rather than in the more physical realms where your identity and brand are located.

Branding is Hard to Change, For Good or Ill

Your branding is how you market and sell your company to an audience, and it is something that needs to be carefully nurtured and protected. Threats to your branding, even if it’s just the ideas that make up what your company is supposed to be about, can have serious, financial consequences. When Chipotle dealt with a series of health scares, for example, its brand was in serious danger of becoming “the restaurant that serves unclean food” instead of “the restaurant that uses clean, naturally grown food”. The company has done serious damage control to try to stop public opinion from changing, and to maintain its more favourable brand. How much money did it spend doing that? A great deal, but it was a bargain to preserve that brand.

For more information on what is the Difference between a Logo, Identity and Branding and what it can mean to your business, and how you can use them to your advantage, simply contact us today!

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