You Need a Logo... and a Lot More

A ritual of the new academic year is a full day of faculty meetings the Friday before classes begin on Monday. Today was that day. First up was a department meeting. An item of discussion was a continuation from our last meeting in the spring on a possible branding initiative for our department (Management and Marketing). We have a brand identity in name only. No logo, symbol, slogan, or other brand marks. We will be moving forward with a branding initiative, but the scope of the project is going to surprise some faculty.

One of the branding needs our department has is to create a visible identity (i.e., a logo or symbol). What will be surprising to some faculty is that developing a brand mark is one of the last tasks that need to be done. A brand is not one-dimensional; it simultaneously serves four purposes:
  1. A brand is an identity (we've got that one figured out)
  2. A brand is an image - Perceptions people hold about you
  3. A brand is an experience - Interaction with your product evokes thoughts and emotions
  4. A brand is a relationship - Strive for ongoing, repeated interactions rather than transactions
A recent post by Seth Godin asked "What if you slogan is true?" Godin's contention was that slogans do not make a brand great but rather the story of the brand. A slogan is a "symptom" of that story. Godin concludes by saying "start with a slogan. But don't bother wasting any time on it if you're merely going for catchy. Aim for true instead."

My department will be working on crafting its brand story this year. We will get around to developing a logo. But, we have much work ahead to define our brand's mission, values, content, and messaging. We need a logo... and a lot more.