For many small business owners, designing a logo and scattering it all over marketing materials is what they think of as branding. Does this sound kind of like your company? If so, we suggest you try this fun little exercise inspired by the “smash-your-brand” philosophy.

The first step to implementing this philosophy is to remove your logo from your marketing messages and see what you have left.

This exercise is important because it reminds you that a brand should be much bigger than its logo alone. Once the logo is removed, a strong brand still will have many remaining components that identify the brand.

Take a look at your brand, with the logo deleted. Now you can look objectively at every consumer touch point and see where else you can work on building your brand image. What are the sounds, images, tactile feelings and text saying about your brand? These components convey just as much about your brand as your logo, whether you’re consciously managing them or not.

If you delete your logo, can your customers still recognize you? Does your brand still have meaning? For most brands, the answer is no. But, you can fix this by utilizing other elements to their fullest. These elements include such features as colors, design, graphics, photos, shapes, signage and sound.

Take for example…

Photos – The “Got Milk” campaign with the photos of various celebs wearing milk mustaches is instantly recognizable as an ad for milk.

Color – The ad campaign, “What can brown do for you?” was designed to represent continuity across the UPS brand as it extended its capabilities into logistics, freight forwarding, customs clearance, technology and finance. Now the color brown is synonymous with UPS.

Shape – When we see the shape of the glass Coke bottle, is there any doubt about what kind of soda it is?

Name – A high end jeans brand, KUT from the Kloth, deliberately misspells words to reinforce brand awareness.

Sound – Have you considered that a whole brand can actually be built around sound? This can be done by adding signature sounds or music in stores, on websites, on-hold music for phones, as ring tones, etc.

 

These are just several examples of areas that can be strengthened to build your brand image outside of your logo. With the dizzying number of brand messages consumers are hit with every day and our increased ability to filter out these often unwanted messages, we recommend that companies conduct this exercise to really analyze how their brand stands out. This way, they can move towards developing a more integrated message that will be potent enough to be instantly recognized.