You are not alone in the confusion between logos, brands and corporate identity. We have put this together in order of importance. First comes brand, then comes logo then comes corporate ID in a baby carriage. It will become clear and obvious so, let’s dive in.
A strategy and story that fits you like your favourite pair of jeans
A brand is a story that undeniably answers the question why you are in business and the right choice for your target. The question is in every consumer’s mind whether they know it or not. The answer to that question (whatever it may be) is a promise a business makes to itself – that it will make to the world. The promise is made internally so team members can be on board to communicate it in all their interactions with the public. Every business has a brand whether they know it or not. A brand without intention can be a tough road to go down, lumped in with all other competition where the only difference is price or your smile.
Here is a much simpler way of thinking of this: A brand is what you sell – but you are not selling what you think. A common example is Apple. Apple doesn’t sell computers and technology, they sell empowerment and they have done this from day one. Their brand is to put technology into the hands of ordinary people – from children to elderly. To empower people with technology is why they are in business.
An intentionally developed brand will put a business at a level much higher than others who do not.
To be sure: A logo is not a brand. The best brands can be summed up into a single phrase repeated in advertising campaigns like “Just Do It” and “The Happiest Place On Earth” – great examples. Real estate agents who take the time to do this simply leap frog over everyone else.
The tip of the iceberg or a cover of a great book
A logo exemplifies the brand. If a brand is an iceberg then your logo is the tip of that iceberg. A beacon. A logo is just one point in the process of a full Real Estate Branding strategy. Doing the logo without brand strategy, like so many tend to do, can lead to problems down the road. (more on that later)
Let’s take a moment to learn from large successful businesses who spend fortunes on a branding process so we don’t have to. Notice how businesses like Disney, Fedex or Apple don’t use an icon of what they do in their logo. If they were all in real estate, none of them would use a house (or any part of a house) as their logo. So why do so many real estate agents?
When done correctly, the finished logo addresses the look and feel of all marketing materials that will come next. The colours, fonts and styling are foreshadowed by the logo and help tell the story of the brand without literally illustrating it.
How you authentically present your business and yourself
If a brand is why you are in business and a logo is a beacon presented to the public then corporate identity is how it is presented to the public. For some businesses it might be T-shirts and baseball caps, others a fleet of cars or airliners. For real estate the main touch points include the feature sheet, CMA, pre-listing brochure, buyer and seller guides, social media banners and email newsletter templates.
Corporate identity is not advertising. So the rule is to not advertise on your corporate identity. It runs the risk of turning it into sales schmuck. Rules are meant to be broken but often takes an expert who knows the rules to know how to break them.
Questions or comments? Please ask below.