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A Cool Logo Does Not Make You A Brand

“Design is essential but design is not brand.” Seth Godin


For the last few years, I have had the privilege and honor of engaging, listening, and coaching small businesses in the beauty and wellness worlds. It truly is my purpose, and I am grateful every second I get the honor to empower those I love.

However, there is a trend I see happening that must be stopped, and that is the belief that if you make a cool logo, secure a domain name and throw up a website, you are a brand. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the truth must be shared. That does not make you a brand, it makes you a logo, domain and website owner. There is a big difference.

So, what makes a brand? While there are a gazillion elements, I will focus on a few that in my experience are the most important and powerful. No matter if you are a 1 person team or a 1000 person team, online or off, these principles apply…

1. Purpose + Promise
Having clarity around the purpose + promise of your business and the ability to communicate it through storytelling creates value + meaning (for your target audience), which in turn, create a brand.

2. Culture
How you communicate, the dialogue & systems you use, your team, how train your team,  your negotiables, your non-negotiables, how you make decisions, how you care for your team, how your team cares for your clients, all of these things create a brand.

3. Experience + Value
How the customer experiences your business, how they feel, the emotions that come up while engaging with your business, the value that is perceived in the mind of the client, that is a brand.

4. Strategy
Planning, what you say yes to, what you say no to, your plans, pricing, promotions, programs, that is the beginning of a brand.

5. Relationships
When people begin to engage with your business and relationships are built. When transactions take place, that is a brand. And knowing your audience. Who you are for, and who you are not for. Both very important.

Your look, your feel, your sounds, and the consistency of your look, feel and sounds, all of these elements combined, creates a brand. This is where your logo comes in.

You see, we have it kinda backwards. We don’t start with a logo when creating a brand, we actually end with a logo.

When creating a business, with must begin with our objectives, our WHY’s, the outcome we are seeking, our strategy, our culture, experience, promise, purpose, and then, when we have clarity around that, it is time to begin design. And not one second sooner.

Why? Well, a logo is designed to communicate a brand promise, purpose, culture, etc. So how in the world can a designer create a logo without knowing those things? In fact, more importantly, how can you create a legitimate business and a brand without knowing those things? You know?

Love + Awesomeness-

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