Branding vs. brand identity vs. logo:
what's the difference?

Written by Barrack Onyango.

As an entrepreneur, you probably know that making a mark on your customers' minds is highly valuable. By creating a recognizable, trusted and consistent image of your company, you're able to win your customers' attention and loyalty. Without that differentiation, they could easily flock to your competitor Now, when most people think of brand, the first thing that comes to mind is a logo. While a logo is indeed a key brand element, and typically the most immediate visual association with a company, there's much more to a brand than just a logo.

A brand is no longer what we tell consumers it is,it is what consumers tell each other it is. To build a great brand, there are three key terms you need to be aware of:
*Brand*: how people perceive your company.
*Branding*: the actions you take to build a certain image of your company.
*Brand identity*: the collection of tangible brand elements that together create one brand image. Let's take a deeper dive into these concepts.

*What is a brand*?

A brand is set of distinctive perceptions, ideas and feelings that people have about your company, which set it apart from alternatives. Basically, your brand is what your consumers think of you. For instance, there are many telecommunication companies and brands out there, but one that stands apart in most people's minds is Safaricom. When people think of making affordable calls, Safaricom is the most immediate association.

What is #branding?

Although it's really your customers who decide what your brand is, there are certainly actions you can take as a business owner to put yourself in the driver's seat. This is called #branding: the active process of shaping the perceptions that consumers have about your company. All the steps that you take to build awareness and reputation around your company and its product or services live in the realm of branding. Your branding efforts may not always fully translate into your customers' minds, but the more deliberate and cohesive they are, the higher the chance of success. Before making any branding decisions, first consider this: what is the perception you want to impress on your customers? What's your goal brand? Be authentic and really dig into the core why of your company. This high-level strategy should help to guide your branding decisions.

What is brand identity?

It is through the process of branding that you can build a #brandidentity: a collection of tangible expressions of your company, such as your logo, colors, typography and voice. The more distinct, specific and cohesive these elements are, the higher the likelihood that they will shape a differentiated brand that is recognized and admired. Safaricom's logo, for instance, transformed quite a bit in the first couple of iterations, but remained fairly consistent changing only their long-time tagline "the better option" for a more subtle one, "Twaweza"and preserving shape and font. Today's green-and-red color combination signifies trust and reliability, yet friendliness and affordability. Coupled with the oval framing the name, this builds the impression of a strong, established and inclusive brand.

Yet, the logo is only one of many elements that serve to build this identity. Safaricom's simple, easy-to-navigate website speaks to the customers in a friendly voice that authentically embodies the company's roots. Moreover, the fact that their physical stores are all over malls—is not simply a financial and operational decision: it also fits well with the DIY, economical ethos of the brand. Similarly, the open floor plan maximizes the utility of the store space. Their large, green bags also represent the company's identity: they're simple, practical, and fairly durable. Of course, the ultimate embodiment of Safaricom's brand identity are the actual products they sell, which seamlessly combine efficiency, style and affordability.

Together, all of these elements of Safaricom's brand identity strengthen each-other and compose the image of a friendly, user-centric and economical brand. So, as you build your company's brand identity, be deliberate and check that each element is actually contributing to the overall perception you want to imprint in your customers. Every brand is unique,so is you!

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