I am often amazed, and somewhat amused, by the overuse and damn right misuse of the word ‘Brand’. There are brand specialists and brand doctors popping up all over the place. I have even seen local print shops claiming that they can design your company a ‘brand’. The question remains, do any of them even know what a brand is?

This week I have taken my inspiration from an article I found on a website over a year ago, called ‘All about branding’ , one that made me really question – What is a brand? I have heard many people, including designers and marketing experts, define a brand as the physical representation of a company. In other words, a logo. While this is true to some extent, I would argue that this is only one small part of what makes a brand.

To me, a brand is a living, breathing entity. It is just as much about the physical representation as it is about the day to day interactions between consumers, the company and its products and services. A brand earns its reputation through its advertising and public projection, but most importantly by living up to its promise. Designers can spend hours creating a gorgeous logo and implementing it with finesse and continuity into all print, web and advertising applications, but at the end of the day, if a consumer buys the product and it doesn’t live up to the expectations that have been created in their mind then the brand has failed.

Branding works from the ground up. Everyone involved in a company, right down to the secretary answering the phone, must believe in their company’s brand and live it. A brand needs to be delivered with continuity and with belief, and it needs to be a reflection of the company’s true identity. In this context it is the organisational culture that really drives a brand, and the logo is merely a physical representation that helps to ‘humanise’ the company.

This is in no way meant to demean the importance of the designer or marketing company in the branding process. The logo / brand is the image that will be etched in the mind of the consumer at the end of the day. It is the most important physical realisation of a company and along with its application in business cards, business livery, advertising and website design it is what will immediately come to mind when a consumer thinks of the involved company.

A well designed logo is an important asset to any company and one that shouldn’t be ignored. I have seen countless examples of companies scrimping and saving when they first start out and getting these so called ‘branding specialists’ at local print shops to design their brand. A few years on, after their business has grown, they come to realise that the cartoonesque logo with ‘Brushscript’ font really isn’t sufficient to carry them into country-wide or even international markets. They are then left with the dilemma of changing their current brand and isolating existing consumers or continuing on with something that is no longer appropriate.

Here at Jack in the box we always design brands to reflect the company’s current personality and values and with their future goals and aspirations in mind. We understand that the logo and applications we create are not all there is to the brand, but are more accurately a representation of our client’s company and are the tools which they can use to help build their brand into the future.

Think of your brand as a living, breathing animal and you will be on the right track.