When it comes to crafting your online image, it is crucial to ensure that you have a strong brand identity to help your visitors seek you out in the future.
But just what precisely is a ‘brand’ anyway? How is it different from a logo? Are they the same thing? And what’s a trademark?
We’ll break it down, look at the various aspects that help to create recognition and hype for a product or service.
What is a logo design?
We’ll start with your logo because it’s perhaps the easiest to understand and explain…
A logo is an image that you use to represent your company. In the vast majority of cases this image will contain the company name itself as text and in some other cases the image might be something more abstract or an item that links directly to your niche statement.
So what are some examples of great logos?
One obvious example is the Nike ‘tick’ which has become synonymous with the brand and countless millions of school kids have drawn onto their schoolbooks at some time.
Another example would be Apple’s ‘Apple’ which is very straightforward.
Then you have the logo for Virgin America which is essentially just the word ‘Virgin’ written in white on a red background, looking a little like spray paint.
What is a company name?
This is the name that your company is registered under. Example, ‘IBM’ or ‘SEGA’.
This is where things get a little complicated, your company name and your ‘trading name’ can be a little different. If you are a sole trader then there’s a good chance that legally, your company name is simply your own personal name, example ‘Jeff Blogs.’ However that doesn’t mean that you can’t use another name in your marketing or on your invoices – which is known as your ‘trading name.’
What is a trademark?
Trademark is an aspect of intellectual property law. This is the type of IP protection used for protecting brands in particular and this can mean both the trading name and the logo.
If you are serious about investing time and money into your business and growing it, then it’s a good idea to get this kind of protection to prevent other companies from using your name and diluting your brand.
At the same time though, it’s also important to check that the name and logo you’re thinking of using are not already taken!
What is a brand?
Your company brand is the corporate image as a whole. In other words, it is everything that links all of your projects, marketing, values and more under one banner. Moreover, it is generally thought of as evoking an emotional response – ideally of familiarity and trust. It is by managing the other aspects (your logo, company name) etc. that you can build this kind of trust.
A brand doesn’t have to apply to your business. You can actually have brands for your products too, for instance Microsoft has brands like Windows and Xbox, each with their own logos and expectations.
What is brand identity?
Brand identity focus on the emotional resonance of your company, the identity has much more to do with the look and feel. Your brand identity is partly comprised of your company name and logo but it’s also to do with the colors on your website, the shape of your products and the look of your stores.
For instance, Apple’s ‘identity’ is largely defined through its products and is made up of things like white earphones, beautifully made laptops and the white space in their stores and website.
Having both a brand and an identity is important as it will help you to cement the way your customers and the general public see you. It will let you build on that trust and perception over time.
What is a mission statement?
Mission statement is basically a short phrase that you use to sum up your organization and what you hope to achieve. Normally the easiest way to come up with a mission statement is to answer the simple question ‘what do you do?’. Note that this is different from answering the question ‘what do you sell?’.
You want to focus not only on the short term nuts and bolts of your business but also on the ambition of your organization in the long term. So your mission statement isn’t to ‘Sell hats’, it’s to ‘Keep heads warm and stylish for affordable prices’.
You don’t need a mission statement necessarily but having one will help you to better explain to the general public what your company is about.
Why is this so important? Because beyond your identity and your logo, it’s the mission statement, the values and the commitment that will help your company to stand out and build fans. It’s not about what you do; it’s about how you do it.