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Logo or brand; what's the difference?

Astronaut walking on moon

So what is a brand? Is it just another name for your logo?

A brand is never just a logo. It’s the sum of all the parts of your business. It’s your products, services, and people. It’s your personality and values. It’s what sets you apart and it is what your customers buy into and what keeps them coming back for more. At its very heart, a great brand is a great story.

So let me tell you a story – actually, it’s Sudio Sudarson, an American brand strategist’s story, but it’s a great one.

He conducted an experiment amongst a group of students to test the power of branding. He split the class into groups giving each a piece of rock. He then asked them what they would pay for it. He told the first group that the rock had come from the college car park that morning. Unsurprisingly they did not want to part with any money for this worthless stone.

Before approaching the second group he put the rock into a shiny box. He told them the rock was from the carving of Mount Rushmore. Group 3 were told the rock represented freedom over communism having come from the rubble of the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989.

And finally, inevitably, Group 4 were lucky enough to handle a piece of real moon rock brought back by the Apollo 11 astronauts. That rock represented a giant leap for mankind.

It was the same rock. However, the price people were willing to pay for the story behind the rock increased from nothing to over $3000.

So a brand then is a story that captures people’s imagination and taps into their aspirations. Values and personality are key to brands as these are what allow people to better associate with them and feel they have a connection.

But that’s just a story. A bunch of students in a classroom. Would the same results hold true in the real world?

Think of a plain white 100% cotton polo shirt. What would you expect to pay for that on the high street? Let’s say £10. Now think of the same white t-shirt with a small black embroidered polo player on the front. In a Ralph Lauren store today this will set you back £85. Still 100% cotton. Still, just a white polo shirt but that branding allows people to perceive and feel differently about it. Its quality, its performance, and its value. Is this so very different from the rock from the car park? Ralph Lauren have created a brand that is synonymous with Britishness – sports, country pursuits, history and traditional craftsmanship. At its heart, the story is one of integrity, and who doesn’t aspire to that?

So a brand is never just a logo. If you are looking to create a powerful brand you need to ensure you have a compelling and credible story that not only resonates and embodies your company, it also strikes an emotional chord with your customers. This remains true for selling products or services.

Your logo may be the thing that provides the recognition with your customers, but it’s the story behind it that this triggers in their minds that are what really sets you apart. Your brand is what makes you.

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