I hate logos. I love Branding

I hate the word ‘logo.’ Actually, I dislike the way people often refer to the term ‘logo’ as if it is something simple and shallow. And I hate it when some friend of mine approaches me saying: “Hey señor, could you deliver a quick logo for my business? It should be very easy for you, right? You can do it in 30 minutes.”

Designers or other professionals related to this business are quite familiar with such situations… But my question or, to be more precise, my concern is that we are simplifying the real meaning of what a logo represents. The logo is just one little piece of something bigger. It is a small part of the whole picture of what a Brand really means. And this should be the real subject to tackle. We must talk about Branding with a capital B. Branding involves many aspects of a company, not just a business card or a nice symbol to have printed on your t-shirts. Branding is everything you do as a company.

“Brand is the promise of an experience… make it reality later on”, This was the definition that Jacob Benbunan (CEO at Saffron) gave to a journalist once. And, if you think about it twice, this definition makes a lot of sense, because a Brand is actually a set of perceptions that build up the whole Brand idea in our minds.

A Brand is a synergy created throughout all customer touch points appealing to all of our five senses. It is every little experience that the company delivers: the smell of the stores, the door handle, the background music, the dress style and, of course, the visual expression, which is an important part of it, but not the most fundamental. What is fundamental is that the whole promise of this experience reaches the audience and creates something worth remembering. We could say that Branding doesn’t finish once the logotype is created, it is just the start line of the journey. From that point on, one should make sure that every single detail has been taken care of in order to deliver a memorable experience.

What is needed is a clear vision of where this journey is heading: a clear, solid and consistent strategy that will effectively connect all the touch points, guaranteeing that the same experience is delivered all the way.

For instance, Costa Coffee is a good example of an effectively developed Brand (from my experience). If you take a look at its logotype, you will probably not find an amazing and top-notch design. But Costa Coffee Brand is not just the logo. It is far more the experience between customers and spaces, between coffee lovers and the barista team. You can get a great service from the barista team and waiters. They are always there to help me with my stupid issues. Always with a smile :)

Another similar example is Starbucks. The company came up with the great idea to name every cup of coffee by writing the client’s name on it. This way they connect immediately with their audience, making each customer feel special and unique. Just like Costa, Starbucks is all about the customer experience: the smell of the stores, the attitude of the baristas, the nice and warm atmosphere, the decoration. These companies have succeeded in building a great philosophy around our daily coffee experience; a whole experiential journey from the point you enter the store to the moment you leave.

Obviously I don’t want to confuse anyone. While the product quality and the customer experience is really important when we talk about building up successful brands; also we should take very care of our communication and visual identity aiming the same values than our product and customer experience are built. It wouldn’t have sense if we’ve got an amazing product and great experience but all the visual expression sucks. Everything should go on the same direction.

Summing it all up, I hope that the difference between logos and Branding has been clarified. Once this point is reached we can explore the rest. The second point is the importance of having a clear and solid strategy for your company and for your Brand, because those two aspects are unavoidably united. Well, obviously it’s not an easy task to reach a proper strategy without professional help. So please, if you are willing to create a unique and solid Brand, you should stop and think; analyse your situation, allocate resources and try to find a great team to help you with this amazing challenge.

And remember, the Brand doesn’t finish with the Logotype. This is just the start line of your new and exciting journey. So make sure that you have great designers, good thinkers, and branding professionals on board to help you out along the way.

Good luck and enjoy the ride!

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