In his article Forget About Your F*cking Logo. Nobody Cares. Australian designer Jon Hollamby  (who designs logos himself) notes that far too often marketing managers conflate logos with brands. They obsess over their logo and, meanwhile, miss the point entirely.

Here’s the relationship a logo has to your actual brand: it’s a marker. An identifier. It can help someone find you. It can attract them. It can remind them of you. But ultimately it has about the same relationship to your company that a rancher’s brand on a steer’s rump has with the taste of a steak. (#VeganApology.) 

In fact, your brand is the sum total of all the interactions your company has with its customers. It’s how they feel about you.

It’s about the love.

Certainly, your logo has a part to play. It might call to mind those feelings. And it might set up an expectation about what your brand stands for.

But far more important than your gorgeous logo, font choices and color scheme is the way your rep at the ticket counter greets a traveler; the way your customer support person treats a frustrated app user; the way your phone holds up when a consumer accidentally abuses it; the sheer joy a cook gets when she prepares her favorite recipe using your cookware.

It’s those details that embed themselves in the memory of your customer. And when they associate those moments of satisfaction, appreciation or delight with your swoosh, arches or apple — then, my friend, you have a brand. Something people feel is worth sharing. Something that’s worth spending a little — or even a lot — more on.

And if that swoosh, arch or apple is unique, noticeable, elegant, appealing, beautiful, remarkable and memorable, so much the better. But even the best logo is a reminder of your customer’s experience. It’s not the experience itself.

Focus on the meat. Not the sauce.

When we start working on a new brand or a brand refresh, the first thing we do is help our client discover and define its basic attributes: Their ideal customer. The feeling they want to communicate. The experience they intend to create. The reason they’re here in the first place. 

Only then can we create the materials that effectively support that brand, that embody it and are consistent with it. Because the brand itself is the thing. Not just the logo.