It can be difficult to differentiate between a logo, an identity and a brand. They do mean different things and are often used interchangeably.
A nice little analogy to describe the difference, imagine the company is a person. The persons face would be the logo, their outfit would be the identity and their personality would be the brand.
So here is an explanation of what each one really encompasses.
What is a logo?
The logo is the main symbol which promotes and represents the company or organisation via a simple and recognisable icon.
The colour, form and shape.
What is an identity?
The identity encompasses all the visual aspects that help form the overall brand. It is the application of the logo and visual aspects of the brand on different things like letterheads, business cards, posters, signage, colour system, fonts etc. It is important to keep these elements consistent in order to achieve the same look and feel across all of these elements.
The identity is the overall look visually of the company.
What is a brand?
The brand is perhaps the hardest one of the three to define. It does include the logo and the visual output of the identity, but it is more than that. It is the feel of the organisation and the emotions that are portrayed. It is the gut feel of the company. It is the way that a company operates, for example their customer service, the way they answer the telephone, the language used.
People are emotional about brands and will often choose a brand based on how they feel about it and how that brand makes them feel about themselves. This is why branding is so important. It is crucial to speak to your client base/customers directly and tap into their world. Social media helps with this enormously.
So I suppose if we go back to our analogy from earlier, you can see how the persons face is instantly recognisable, it is the first thing that people see and is usually what might come to mind when someone thinks about them. This is the logo, it is hugely important but cannot act alone. The identity is found in that persons outfit which contributes to their look and feel. Different elements like hat, shoes, glasses, shirt, etc. Other elements might be the style – casual, smart, eclectic, etc. These elements combine with the face to create the overall visual look of that person. Next comes their personality, how they act, the things they say, how they say them etc, these all add to their character. This works with their face and outfit to create someone that others can relate to.