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  A logo is a brand but not an effective one

Harvard Business Review: A logo is not a brand


A brand is the sum total of all the marks that describe, determine and mediate a distinct experience in any area of human activity.

These marks fall into three categories: material, linguistic and gestural. In total and in combination these marks have the capacity to enable and carry all types of human experience: physical, social, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.

The more relevant the content contained in these marks, the more effective the experience on offer. The effectiveness of an experience can be assessed by the range and quality of interventions made possible by that experience. The more effective the experience, the more distinct that experience. The richer the experience (also measured by the effectiveness of the interventions) the more meaningful and therefore memorable the identity determined by that experience. The more discrete the marks describing an identity over a range of experience types, the more distinct the brand.

A typical logo is comprised of a set of marks that have a limited capacity to carry a brand experience. A logo is a discrete identity and therefore qualifies as a brand, contrary to poplar opinion. But, a logo not in combination with other brand-marks cannot deliver a purposeful and, therefore, memorable experience.

A logo is best handled as one of many marks that enables and carries an entire brand experience. It's best to avoid referring to the primary mark of a brand as a logo because the language used to describe experiences, including the experience of handling brands, also determines and mediates those experiences. Such a language, which is also made up of marks, offers the possibility of describing a distinct brand-handling experience.

All the various types of marks of a brand that work in concert to create a distinct experience determines the value of a brand identity. And, a single brand-mark of an effective brand identity can successfully cue an entire brand experience with little effort.

A logo is a brand and logos are not dead, they are just limited.


View original post on the Harvard Business Review blog