branding - It's not about your logo

Branding – It’s not about your logo

Let’s make one thing clear from the start. Branding is not your logo. Your logo forms a very small part of your brand, but it is not what makes it.


Many businesses start out thinking that they need to have a fancy new logo, so people know who they are. Wrong!


Yes, you probably do need a logo but when it comes to people knowing who you are, one image is not going to make them remember you.


For example, when you think about John Lewis, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it their logo or is it their Christmas advert?


When you think about M&S, do you think of their colours, or do you think of their food?


When you think of Coca Cola, do you think of their logo, or do you see the Christmas truck?


You may be sat there thinking, ‘well actually, I can tell you what all of their logos look like’ and the truth is, so could I, but you’re missing the point.


If a logo was so important, why is it that huge brands have dramatically changed theirs over the years to the point that their initial logo is now unrecognisable, yet we still know who they are?


Need proof?


McDonald’s didn’t start with the golden arches. Far from it. They didn’t come in until 1961; 21 years after launching.


And who remembers Ronald McDonald? That clown brought children in by the droves. It was the place to have a party. Their whole brand was about children.


Now, they have done away with all the bright colours and upgraded their ‘restaurants’ to have a more sophisticated look.


None of their branding is as it was, and it has changed many times over the years.


Yet, we all still know who they are.




Because when we think about McDonald’s, we don’t immediately think about their visual branding. We might make a reference to the golden arches but that’s as far as we will go.


What we do think about is the experience we will have with them and the feelings it brings out in us. We think about the journey we will be taken on as a customer.


Now, we all have different views when it comes to this particular brand but there are some things, we should be able to agree on.


  • Their training program is like no other. They are renowned for putting their team members through an extensive induction. So much so that as an employer, I would jump at the chance to hire an ex-McDonald’s employee because I know they have the principles of customer service nailed.
  • It’s fast food. We will not have to wait long for our food to arrive. It’s convenient, the quality (no matter your opinion) is usually consistent and now, you don’t even have to get out of your car.
  • It’s an easy place to take the kids. Yep, I said it. Pre-Covid, they had the tablets at the tables which meant the children were entertained and actually enjoyed eating out.


Those three points have nothing to do with visual branding. It’s about the experience we all have when we go there. Of course, our experiences will be different but it’s our individual experiences that are what we associate with this brand.


So, what am I getting at?


Your brand is who you are. It’s what you represent and the journey you take your customers on. It’s about the experience and the emotions you evoke; the culture of your business, your values and how that fits with what you offer.


Your logo should come last. Once you understand who you are and how you want to be seen, then you can start to work on the visual branding.


So, who do you want to be? Are you a suited and booted professional? Are you more of a fun and casual personality? Are you laid back and flexible?


None of these are wrong, as long as they are you.


The most important thing to remember is that going forward, you will live and breathe this brand. Everything from the clothes you wear to how you present yourself to your social media content to your elevator pitch to your visual colours and logo.


Don’t rush into this. Take the time to really think about how you want to be seen and what you want to be known as.

Verity Wilkie
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