Your Brand is Not Your Logo

Your brand is not your logo. Or your font. Or your color palette. (📣 ATTN: Everyone in the back! 📣) 

When you’ve nailed your brand strategy and expression, it will:

  • Magnetize customers, leaving them delighted, inspired, and loyal
  • Separate your business from the competition so that you stand for more than what you sell
  • Energize your internal team, clarify decision-making, and spark fresh ideas

But all-too-often, “branding” is an aesthetic layer that lives on the surface of a company and never seeps into its DNA. (You can read more about alllllll the different tools I use to bring a brand to life here.)

Chanel makeup kit showing iconic locked C's brand logo
Chanel’s brand logo was designed in 1925 and has come to adorn categories well beyond fashion. But, the logo is a symbol that stands for the brand’s ethos. It isn’t the brand itself.

When people ask me for an example of a brand living and breathing its strategy, I often talk about SUMMERSALT.

In 2020 and 2021, the company – known then for its 👌 swimwear – showed that they truly embraced brand as an ethos, not just a look. (And in that time period, they gained 800% YOY revenue growth).

How did they do it? A concept called 360° branding that I’ll be posting about a lot.

Models of all body types wearing bright Summersalt swimsuits
Summersalt’s brand ethos is expressed through its diversity, colors, patterns, facial expressions – and even its customer service.

Positivity, optimism, and confidence are at the core of Summersalt’s brand story. This isn’t just reflected in a look or tone of voice. It’s central to every touchpoint. Yes, they had body positivity, size-inclusive models, and culturally aligned partnerships. (👏👏👏 for all of these.) 

But, they took it even further, because brand strategy allows for both consistency and flexibility. In the initial days of the COVID-19 pandemic, they turned their customer service channels into Joycast – a free, SMS-based “optimism hotline” where customer service agents shared guided meditations, puppy gifs, and more.

So genius. So relevant. Such a reinforcement of the brand territory they had intentionally staked out. And a result? It felt 1,000% authentic. (Yes, “authentic” is a buzzword. But it’s true. No one would have resonated with an SMS optimism hotline from Victoria’s Secret, which had a very different strategy then and is pivoting its brand again today.) 

Wondering how to start thinking about your brand as more than just a logo or the products you sell? I recommend starting with “Why?” Read all about that here. Or, download our free guide to the Why, How, What brand strategy framework.