The Miseducation of a Brand

A cool logo does not make a brand

by Nina Kovner, Passion Squared


What a brand is and what a brand isn't screen shot


Noting what a brand is and isn’t ultimately leads to a decision and choice to take action. Over time. Again and again.

According to Seth Godin, the master of all things marketing and one of my most early mentors of marketing, “A brand’s value is merely the sum total of how much extra people will pay, or how often they choose, the expectations, memories, stories, and relationships of one brand over the alternatives.”

Several elements go into creating a brand of long-term value. And yes, brand identity (logo, colors, fonts, image, etc.) is a part of creating an awesome brand, but it is not the brand. Big difference.

You can have a beautiful logo and no brand recognition.
You can have a cute sticker but no brand value.
You can have a beautiful building but no clients.
You can have a killer Instagram following but no relationships.
You can have a beautiful paint color but no connections.
You can have a fancy, overpriced website but no visitors.
You can sell a product or service one time but have no repeat clients over time.

So Let’s Play a Game …
Consider my brand, Passion Squared.

  • When you think of Passion Squared, how do you feel?
  • When you chose to do business with, follow, or subscribe to Passion Squared, why did you make that choice?
  • When you recommend Passion Squared to your friends, what do you tell them and why?
  • When you engage with a Passion Squared coaching session, workshop, or class, how do you feel when you leave?

If you said you feel empowered; have more clarity; feel loved, inspired, and informed; you trust me; and it feels like I understand you, that is when my brand has created some form of value for you and you made a choice of exchanging time and money for that experience.

And know this … all the work I have done over the last five years building the Passion Squared brand got us to this point. Each move I make, each workshop I teach, each program I create, each story I tell, each piece of content I share, each blog I write, it’s all strategic. It’s all by design. And quite frankly, it has nothing to do with my cool logo. Because the reality is, I had the logo long before you chose to engage with my brand. And the logo was meaningless and had no value without all the other efforts I have put into creating something of value for you, consistently, over time. Again and again.

However, when you see my logo, if you know my brand, it inspires a feeling. A feeling I work daily to create. You see how this works? It’s not as simple as someone saying, “I am going to teach you branding.”

Creating a brand of value is much more than a cute logo or a bunch of followers on Instagram. Remember that.

Nina Kovner is the creator and Chief Awesomeness Empowerer of Passion Squared, which empowers creative entrepreneurs like you to turn your passion and purpose into an awesome business, brand, and life


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