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Pooler Magazine

Do You Really Know Your Company Brand?

Do You Really Know Your Company Brand?

By Dr. Jan Southern


In the 1800’s ranchers used a “brand” to identify their cattle from others. The “brand” was essentially a logo that distinguished one rancher from the other. That is why when we think of a logo, we think of “brand.” A logo is of course, very important. Companies such as Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola take painstaking care in selecting just the right imagery, fonts, and colors to create the visual elements of their brands and with great success.

This is just one aspect to their success, however. Those essential elements make up the visual identity of the company, but the brand is much broader and frankly, much more interesting.

David Olgilvy, a leading expert on advertising defined brand as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.” Further defined, the attributes of a brand are the culmination of experiences, feelings and perceptions of a company or organization. It is your values, motivations for being in business, the carefully crafted customer journey. It is created out of every interaction with a customer, in every Google review, every accumulated perception built over time and through all your customers, your employees and the community in which you operate.

This is not to say that a company’s logo and colors are not critically important in communicating a brand. They absolutely are. When you see a logo with colors, shapes and symbols, it is expected that these elements reflect the values and core identity of the company or product.

I had the opportunity to work with a new company in the logistics industry last year.

I am always excited to help a startup company because to me, it is a blank canvas with a world of possibilities. By the time they hired us they had already created the company name and the logo. The name had personal meaning to the owner and the images and colors reflected in the new logo had more to do with that meaning than with the industry and their potential customers. This is a company whose primary clients are manufacturers and warehouses who needed trucking services. The logo was beautifully designed using delicate graphics and soft pastel colors. Not an image typically conjured up when thinking of the trucking industry. Could it work? Perhaps. But it would take extra effort for prospective customers to reconcile the disconnect of a dainty, more flowery image being aligned with their male-dominated, heavy equipment type company.

So, as a small business, you likely created your logo yourself and are now thinking, “What do I do now?” Not to worry. Your customers are likely used to your visual identity, now, you have the opportunity to infuse more depth to the brand experience, creating even deeper connections with your customers, employees and community.

My sister and I went to a boutique while traveling recently.

We looked up shopping destinations online before venturing out. This boutique’s logo and website were beautiful and had the same look and feel that appealed to my style. The social media posts for the boutique were all about friendly customer service and a personal touch. I was particularly interested in their offer of a personal stylist because well, let's face it, I could always use a style refresh.

When we got to the store, it was not as elegant and pretty as their brand identity led us to believe. There was no visible sales associate. We looked around a few minutes before a woman came out from the back of the store and went straight behind the counter. She did not acknowledge us. When we were finished shopping, I went to the counter and inquired about the personal styling. She asked for my name, phone number and email and said the expert stylist would contact me. Two weeks passed before I realized I never got that call.

So other than their logo and colors – their visual identity – did the customer experience reflect what they told us about their brand? Were they customer focused? Did they give personal attention? My perception of that brand began with their logo, colors and other aesthetics, but it will be remembered a certain way based on my experience
and interaction with the boutique itself.

It is a beautiful thing when all of the elements of a brand align to strengthen the overall identity of a company or product.

So, remember, your company or product brand is not your logo. If you hear that a company is going to “rebrand,” it should mean they are changing the very essence of who they are and their strategy for how they do business. The brand is built out of all the interactions, experiences and memories your audience has with you.

Your logo and marketing materials should be reflective of how you want to be perceived and how you want to treat the people that come in contact with your products or services. Assessing the brand through all of these elements is what will make for a great brand strategy and a strong and sustainable company.

For more information on building a strong brand, visit or call 912.295.5406