Brands are more than just a logo.

The logo is important, yes, but a customer identifies a brand by more than just a logo. The colors you use, imagery, design, messaging, and copy are other ways people can identify your brand, and more importantly be inspired to buy it. Let’s break down a few ways to extend your brand beyond your logo by starting with the logo itself.

Logo
The golden arches of McDonalds are iconic across the world, different languages and culture. The arches are part of their logo, but they aren’t the whole logo and Mcdonalds uses the arches in creative ways throughout many of their brand’s touchpoints.

Let’s take a look at the happy meal:

The handle of the happy meal box is the iconic arch. What’s better than a brand touchpoint that you can actually touch?

Here’s another way they have literally extended their logo so that the arches are the support for their sign:

Their logo has versatility that allows it to be used in many creative ways besides just an image. It brings their brand to a tangible place that you can see, touch and experience.

Colors:

Mcdonalds arches are iconic, but we should really call them by their true name, the golden arches of Mcdonalds; the color of delicious french fries. I don’t need to see anything besides that golden color and bright red to know that I am at Mcdonalds, about to eat a delicious, although probably horrible for me, meal. Take a look at their packaging below:

It’s completely logoless, yet still branded as Mcdonalds because Mcdonalds does an amazing job at keeping their color usage consistent, aiding their visual system. Throw some purple or blue in here and I wouldn’t know what I am eating, and McDonalds doesn’t want you to ever think their fries are made by someone else.

Messaging:

In an ideal world, you can remove all branding elements and people would still recognize your brand by what it says. Take a guess at what company says this:

I’m Loving It.

If you guessed Mcdonalds you’re catching on.

Or how about:

Billions and Billions Served

It is, drum roll please… Mcdonalds again!

Things like the “Big Mac” and “Happy Meal” are synonymous with the Mcdonalds brand because their verbal identity is equally as important as their visual identity. When extending your brand, think about how you can do this through messaging, copy and taglines. It gives customers another way to interact with your brand and allows you to say what is most important about what you do to your customers.

Design

For design, we are going to take a look at perhaps the most famous company as it relates to design work. Take a look at the photo below:

Chances are you know exactly what company made this (It’s Apple for anyone who doesn’t know), and the reason you know is because their design is incredibly clean and consistent. Always that white background that allows the product itself to take center stage. You might recognize it as Apple because you have seen their products, or own the wireless touchpad and keyboard, but if you look closely you’ll notice that there isn’t actually anything in that picture that explicitly tells you this is Apple. Their design work is so consistent that you recognize the brand by the design work itself.

How you present information through visual work is also an extension of your brand, and keeping it consistent with the rest of your visual identity allows you to expand your brand even further beyond just a logo.

Mcdonalds and Apple may be massive global brands but you can extend your brand beyond just a logo in the same ways. In fact you SHOULD be expanding your brand in these ways in order to create a brand experience that is a cut above your competitors. People are so used to interacting with well developed brands that when they come across a brand that isn’t extended to multiple touchpoints and consistent along these touchpoints that they get weary of the brand and company.

In today’s economy, small companies and entrepreneurs can complete with the big boys, but they must have well developed brands in order to do so. If you are serious about taking your business and brand to a more developed place, then extending your brand beyond your logo is a critical step in the process.

If you don’t you will be relegated to second class brand status, and that’s not where an entrepreneur needs to be.

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