Villing & Company

A Logo is Still a Logo

“A chair is still a chair
Even when there's no one sitting there
But a chair is not a house
And a house is not a home
When there's no one there to hold you tight,
And no one there you can kiss good night.”

(Written by Burt Bacharach/Recorded by Dionne Warwick/others)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. I am very passionate about branding and have a tendency to get on my soapbox frequently on the subject – especially if it involves equating a logo with a brand. Just as Burt Bacharach said, “a chair is just a chair,” I believe “a logo is just a logo.”

Just this week, I was talking to a prospective new client who said his firm was “rebranding” so I naturally asked, “Oh, how is the process going?” He responded that the new logo had been designed and they were ready to roll it out. Pressed for more details, it quickly became apparent that his interpretation of “re-branding” meant having a new logo, an accompanying color palette and possibly some graphic standards relative to font and logo application.

Logo design is fun. Designing new visuals is fun. Creating a tagline can be fun. But at the end of the day, these elements are simply tactics, nothing more. They may be a visual or verbal expression of the brand, but they are not the brand.

Branding is a strategic process. It involves deep dive, strategic thinking about what your organization does, how it does it and, most importantly, WHY. It also involves what people’s expectations are about your firm based on their previous experiences or what they have heard from others. A brand has value to the degree that those expectations drive additional encounters and the quality of those new experiences. 

Let me put it this way. If I were to ask a dozen members of your organization, would they be able to articulate consistently and accurately the core brand attributes of your firm? Would their answers correlate with those of your customers, vendors or referral sources? Would their answers be in alignment with the messages your marketing team is communicating?

If you are unsure about the answers to these questions, you may want to revisit your own brand and see if it is reflected in the tone, style and messages you are disseminating. It’s been my experience that many firms go through strategic planning activities relative to their business as a whole, but that process often stops just a bit short. It fails to connect overall corporate strategy with a well-defined brand strategy. It’s not a big step to take, but it’s an important one. That’s when your house brand truly becomes a home for all of your branded initiatives.

Filed Under: Branding

Villing & Company

Villing & Co
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130 S Main St, Suite 315
South Bend IN 46601

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