Which Comes First: The Logo Or The Brand?


Nathaniel Cooper, Bacchus Foundation Logo, November 10 via Flickr, 2008, Creative Commons License

Okay, entrepreneur, you’ve chosen your business name. Congratulations! Now what’s next? Do you create a logo or develop your brand? Let’s take a closer look at these two important elements.

A brand is the personality of a company, product or service. Every move your company makes influences its brand, including:

  1. Your long term goals: Where are you going and how do you plan to get there?
  2. What you ask of – and provide to – customers: Are you providing something valuable to customers in return for their business?
  3. The words you choose: Is your marketing copy full of jargon or is it clear and uncluttered?
  4. How you present yourself: Do you have high-quality marketing materials and a user-friendly website or do you send spam email and litter your website with pop-ups?
  5. The people who represent you: Do you carefully hire employees? Do you prioritize training and development?
  6. Your facilities:  Is your corporate office inviting? Are your stores clean and well-kept or messy and in need of repairs?
  7. Your visual image: Do you have a consistent visual identity on company materials or do your website, your store and your business cards all look completely different?

A logo is a visual cue that helps people to identify a brand. Your logo communicates your brand’s message through shape, color and text.

So which comes first, the logo or the brand? Let’s pretend that you create a logo and then start developing your brand. One day, you realize that your logo is inconsistent with the brand you’ve developed – maybe the logo is too plain for your brand’s dynamic personality, or it’s too specific for all of the markets you play in. Your choices are to re-design the logo, which can be expensive, or risk confusing your audience and restricting your company’s growth.

The more strategic way to go is to develop your brand first. Then you can design a logo that creates a meaningful connection between the customer and the brand you’ve worked so hard to cultivate. It can be more time-consuming to shape your brand than to design your logo, but when your logo is aligned with your brand it becomes much more powerful.

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