While a logo is an important part of the visual reflection of a business, your brand identity is so much larger and more important than one element.
Many people hear the word "brand" in relation to a business and automatically imagine a company's logo. While a logo is an important part of a company's visual footprint, brand identity actually encompasses every facet of the customer-facing business, as well as internal culture. Branding closely aligns with a business's reputation... for products, services, customer service, pricing, delivery, etc. Here are some examples of how brand identity is woven into an organization's public facce and reputation:
- Service employee uniforms (Fast-food restaurants)
- Fleet vehicles (Geek Squad® or UPS®)
- Humans answering customer service phones (Jake at State Farm® or Zappo's®)
- Package design (Apple®)
- Store layout (Apple, again)
- Wide selection and fast delivery (Amazon®)
It is a good idea to bring an impartial third-party in your business and let them walk through your store, office, or website and ask them to interact with your staff with real-life transactions. This will allow you to discover areas where you can create and/or improve your total brand identity.
When non-visual aspects of a business merge to form associations with the visual, those visuals should adequately reflect at least some of the most important aspects of your business. That's where your logo comes in.
A logo is important to your brand, but no more important than the ways in which you use marketing materials to project it into the world. These materials... their look, function, feel, use, and delivery... will all affect how your logo is associated with them. A poorly designed or unknown logo can overcome some of its weaknesses by consistent application, using it properly on marketing collateral and specialty items. Conversely, a strong logo can be damaged by inconsistent and improper usage.
Creating a logo that is specifically designed to reflect your business and which is attractive and memorable to your audience is a task best left to a professional designer, not to your niece's boyfriend's neighbor who slaps a piece of clip art into a Word doc and calls it a letterhead. Providing a logo that is unique to you and your business and which accurately and memorably reflects the nature of your business should be the ultimate goal of any designer.
Always be thinking of how your logo is being presented to your customer, and always be aware that your logo means nothing if other areas of your business are not offering the customer a positive experience.