As a strategic brand positioning and marketing communications agency, we are often approached by organizations looking for a “rebrand.” After some discussion, sometimes we find what they really want is just a new logo—not a new brand. 

What’s the difference? To help clarify, we have tried to explain the purpose of a logo and a brand position below. 

Logo (Or Brand Mark)

Your logo is the visual signature of your brand, a “mark” that helps create awareness for your brand, your culture, and other attributes your organization tirelessly endeavors to promote to your customers and other audiences. When they see your logo, they see “you” and all your organization stands for. A logo itself is not a brand. However, it is an important component of your brand and should have relevance to your core strengths and vision as a brand/organization.

So why would an organization consider changing its logo? Over time, some logos may begin to look dated because of style changes, graphic trends, or other factors outside of your control. Or perhaps your organization’s focus or audience has changed and what once made sense now seems disconnected. 

It is at a brand’s discretion whether or not to change a logo. Some brand logos have become so iconic that changing them would cause an uproar, such as Coca-Cola, Apple, or Nike. These consumer brands have a tremendous amount of equity in their visual appeal and meaning to their customers. 

Brand Position

Your brand position is your point of differentiation. Knowing what makes your brand unique allows you to craft messaging that lets your audience know why you’re a good fit for them. A good brand position allows your customers to think of your brand differently than the competition’s. When this happens, your organization has the potential to charge more or capture more share in your marketplace. 

Understanding what makes your brand different in a way that is beneficial to your customers often takes time. It demands honest self-evaluation and an outside perspective. This type of work is typically done by an outside marketing firm or advertising agency, allowing for honest evaluation from the outside in, rather than the inside out. The development of a brand position drives all other elements of a brand—including messaging, logo, tone of voice, and more.

Now that you hopefully have a better understanding of the difference between a logo and a brand position, you will be better equipped to decide whether you need a new logo design that better represents your brand, a new brand position that will help your customers understand your key benefits and who you are, or a combination of the two.