Nick Ovenden Brand Design

Brand or branding - what do they really mean?

Brand or branding – what do they really mean?

We talk a lot these days about brand and branding, but do we actually know the difference?

Potentially it’s confusing straight away, as the word ‘brand’ is both a noun and a verb.

But, let’s simplify matters.

Imagine you are a sheep farmer five hundred years ago. You are Farmer Smith. Your sheep are sharing a field with six other farmers. You don’t want to get your sheep mixed up with Farmer Jones’ sheep, because Farmer Jones doesn’t look after his animals as well as you do and yours are worth more at market.

So, you BRAND your sheep.

Literally, with a BRANDING iron. You apply your unique, individual mark to identify your sheep.

The mark on the sheep – the ‘brand mark’ or ‘logo’ that we refer to is not the BRAND. It’s a mark that identifies the sheep as a ‘quality product’ to be trusted because it belongs to Farmer Smith and he’s a reputable farmer. Unlike that Farmer Jones, who isn’t!

Farmer Smith’s reputation is THE BRAND.

‘BRANDING’ is what Farmer Smith does when he stamps his sheep with the iron.

What does this mean to your business?

Don’t think of your logo as your ‘brand’. Your brand mark, yes. But, your brand is so much more than just the logo.

Think of your brand as your reputation.

When the Volkswagen brand suffered due to the emissions scandal, it was nothing to do with the logo. It was all about reputation.

Nowadays, branding is a highly valuable marketing tool, practised by skilled brand designers.

Branding your organisation creatively, distinctively and consistently will help you engage with your customers and inspire pride in your brand.

Branding for Moutan

This is exactly what we did for Julie Allen, a talented London trained florist. She named her first shop Moutan after her favourite flower – a species of peony native to China. This was used to inspire the brand design, exploring Chinese and French themes to find colours, shapes and patterns.

You can see examples of the Moutan branding here.


If you feel that your branding is tired or misrepresents where your business is today, give us a call for an informal chat on 01737 819687 or email Nick.


  • 28th June 2017

    Thanks Nick – that makes a lot more sense now!


Post a comment: