Good branding is extremely important for your business to stand out. But let’s make one thing very clear : branding and visual brand identity are not the same thing.
What is visual brand identity?
Visual brand identity comprises all the elements of your brand that are visually percievable by your audience.
This goes from your name and logo to the design of your website or catalog, to the labeling and packaging of your products, or the signage of your retail space. Even the zoom background you choose for the calls with your clients can be part of your visual brand identity.
In many instances, you are going to see this kind of elements referred to as branding, brand design, or branded design. And while this is not wrong, it is also not-not wrong.
So wait, is a logo branding or not?
Well, yes – and no. A logo is a very important part of your brand representation and hence, of your branding. But it is by no means the most important or the first thing you should be thinking about when building your brand.
The logo is to your brand like your profile picture is to you. A good one is a clear, instant representation of what the brand represents. It allows the customer to instantly recognize your brand and differentiate it from all the other options out there. But just as a profile picture is not the same as your identity – a logo is far from being a brand. In fact, just as you can change your photo every now and then when you no longer feel it represents you well, brands often rework their logo.
Xiomi has famously redefined their logo in 2021 – not without controversy. I has taken them 4 years and millions of dollars to settle on a new brand direction for the chinese giant. To do so, they have worked together with the reputed designer Kenya Hara. What did they change? Well, they have gone from a square to a “squircle” on their famous orange logo. They have used mathematical equations to design the perfect blend between a square and a circle. The internet has had some fun with this – however, the fact is that the rebranding process that Xiomi has been working on since 2017 is not the new logo. The logo is just the easiest to understand and most meme-worthy portion of the process. The fact is that they have redefined the values, the purpose, and the goals of the company – which is very much part of branding.
And what is branding then?
Branding and brand-building strategies are strategies directed towards building or strengthening the brand. And this brand is, in a nutshell, the essence of your business. If we were saying that the logo is like the profile picture, the brand would be like your identity as a person. Your personality, your character, your goals, and your dreams. Everything that makes you, you.
Your business also needs to have a well-rounded, strong and differentiated identity in order to stand out. And you don’t achieve that with a logo. You achieve that with a clear understanding of your business goals, and deep knowledge of your market and your customers.
This foundational part of branding is what I refer to as strategic branding . And if its a critical part of building a successful business.
That sounds complicated. Where do I start?
I feel ya. Especially for creative and passion-driven entrepreneurs, visual brand identity is fun whilst strategic branding is terrifying. However, how can you choose the best way to visually present your message to the customer if you are not quite sure who the customer is, or what message you are trying to convey?
If this sounds overwhelming, I would like to invite you to take a look at my book The Passion Entrepreneur: business mindset and branding fundamentals for creative souls. It is written thinking of people like you, that are looking to build a show-stopping brand yet struggle with the strategic side of things.
In the book I explain, step-by-step, the same branding techniques I have used to build brands and collections that sold out across 9 countries.
And if you still need a bit of extra help – reach out! I am always happy to talk to passionate entrepreneurs and help them when I can along their journey.
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