If You Stop at the Logo, You’re Missing the Brand Mark

A brand is more than the logo, and a brand guide is more than just the look.

Frequently we hear potential clients use “brand” when they really mean “logo.” This view of what a brand is carries over into their requests for a brand guide. Our work typically focuses on providing a visual brand guide for implementing logos, colors, and typography. And while we’ve done some great work with those — check out our digital visual brand guide for Highrock Church out in Boston —, we recommend that clients expand their notion of what a brand guide is to a more encompassing piece.

Marty Neumeier in The Brand Gap sums up brands as “a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.” This means that the brand goes significantly beyond the look or logo. It includes the intangible, as well as all visual, written, and verbal elements involved in your business. What you say and how you say it are just as important to solidify and articulate as how your website and print materials look. Your brand’s vision and mission are acted out during everyday activities of interacting with clients, customers, and visitors, so it’s important to have clear guidelines for how those interactions are made.

We’ve had the great pleasure of working with a local Omaha architecture firm, BVH Architects, on a rebranding and website project. (Keep your eyes peeled this summer for the launch!) We kicked off the project with a brand discovery phase that took a comprehensive look at what BVH was all about, not just the new look they were hoping for. During this phase, we created a working rebrand exploration document that has been driving the design decisions for the Grain & Mortar team, as well as serving as a reference tool for BVH to stay on course with marketing and communications endeavors.

Taking this broad approach in regard to brand has helped BVH exercise a more complete plan to their marketing and communications and tighten what being BVH means externally. And when Grain & Mortar wraps up the new website design, we can set BVH off on a clear path for their brand’s future.

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