From Brand Intention to Brand Identity: Bridging the Gap

We’ve been hard at work on a B2B rebrand and a few weeks ago, we presented the initial round of logo concepts to the client. Our principal contact was elated, and so were we. Sound logo design takes more than Photoshop skills. We arrive at logos after a collaborative and deliberate process. Our account principal appreciated that, and showed great respect for every step of our work. After a few tweaks, we delivered a creative, modern, more precise brand image, and put a ribbon on the project.

However, when we met last week to present website concepts—the next phase of the engagement—the client wanted to share new feedback from his team. We were anxious to hear it. As B2B brand consultants, if we’re doing our jobs right, logo designs are the first aesthetic representation of a company’s core attributes—its values, its capabilities, its position in the market. Proper logos aren’t just the visual crown of the company: they reveal the soul of the business. At least, that’s the intention.

I’m paraphrasing, but our client distilled his team’s commentary essentially to this: Although they responded well to the concepts, unless pointed out or explained, no one on the team discerned the core attributes of the business in any of the logo designs. Hmm.

My gut reaction was to take stock of our branding process. So I wrote up a rough sketch of our approach. It took the visualization for me to realize our methodology, actually, is pretty intensive. Our workflow involves extensive dialogues with all available stakeholders, competitive research and reconnaissance, evidence-based design and writing, presentations and defenses, and, where necessary, rounds of revisions. With this client in particular, we made no exceptions to process. Matter of fact, we followed it to the tee. These logo sets weren’t shots in the dark. They were educated, and they were damn good.


Changed perceptions—people seeing your company the way you want them to—are not the automatic result of a brand design. Changed perceptions are achieved over time. They are the result of a well-researched, concerted, integrated, cross-channel communications campaign, the word for which is marketing.

Yet for all our diligence, hard work, and steadfast, to-the-letter adherence to the rebrand process, the client’s team failed to see the very brand attributes from which the logos were born. They loved the designs, so said the principal. It’s just that no one looked at them and immediately said, ‘Wow, the first thing I see is a hands-on B2B consulting firm of the utmost integrity and experience.’ Why?

The answer, it turns out, is pretty simple. A logo is not a brand. A brand is an abstraction. A brand lives in the ether of the market, in the collective mind of an audience. And those minds must be influenced. Changed perceptions—people seeing your company the way you want them to—are not the automatic result of a brand design. Changed perceptions are achieved over time. They are the result of a well-researched, concerted, integrated, cross-channel communications campaign, the word for which is marketing. A solid brand strategy, while imperative and always the first step, only sets the stage for brand recognition—for capturing shares of markets and minds.

So the conclusion of a brand design really represents a beginning. Or it should, if the brand’s owner is executing responsibly. As long as a brand is not well-marketed, there will exist a natural chasm between the intention of a brand and its identity among the target market. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling to eight-year-olds or corporate executives: If you’re playing with an unmarketed brand, you are playing with a brand handicap.

Which is to say: If you’re going to go to the trouble of the rebrand, you must next do the work of marketing. So, build that sales program. Advertise. Network. Exhibit at tradeshows. If you’re at a loss for ideas, or need an extra set of eyes or hands, good news. We have all of those to spare. Contact us, or, book a consult, and we’ll get started.

We’re ready when you are.

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