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A logo isn’t a brand: the importance of understanding what creates a clinical study brand



After overhearing the design team at COUCH Health mid-debate about the difference between a logo and brand, we thought it would be an interesting topic to explore.

Their view was that more and more companies are blurring the lines between what a logo and a brand is. For many, the two words are becoming interchangeable, when in reality, their function and concept are anything but. Why is this an issue for us here at COUCH Health? Well, because when it comes to recruiting participants to a clinical study, the brand, how it’s marketed and advertised is everything. And the logo is just one small piece of a much larger puzzle.


So, let’s firstly discuss what exactly we mean by a brand.


The components that create a brand

In keeping with, but in addition to a logo, you’ll have a defined colour palette and select fonts that will create a unique, and identifiable, look and feel. You’ll have a tone of voice that not only represents the personality of the organisation but will also speak to and capture the attention of the audience. These are what we’d call superficial brand components. Now let’s explore a deeper level…


Your brand essence

As important, if not more important, than all of the above is the essence of your brand. Its values, its reason for existing. In short, its ‘why’. Brand authenticity is everything for any company looking to build trust and real connections with people, so before the beautiful design, carefully crafted copy, and yes – your logo – is considered, you’ve got to have your brand story straight. What is the problem you exist to solve? Why should people trust in you? What do you care about? What do you believe in? Your brand story will help inspire your design and tone of voice, in turn creating a more authentic look and feel.

Through all of the above, you’re ultimately creating an identity, which is what enables people to relate with you on an emotional level, buy in to your brand, and build trust in it. For clinical studies, you need people to feel something when exposed to your brand campaigns and a logo alone simply can’t do this.


So how important is a logo to the brand?

While a logo isn’t ‘the brand’ it’s still a very important element. A strong logo is the foundation to start layering your company’s recognition. It’s the core visual that can be used alone if needed to make your mark. And through repetition, it can help ensure your brand is memorable and easily identified.


Putting your brand to the test

The test of a strong brand identity, is being recognisable beyond just the logo.

An excellent example of brand identity being put to the test is a recent campaign by Cadburys in support of Age UK. They removed all words, including the logo, off their chocolate bars to raise awareness of loneliness in elderly populations, through the idea that some people will go weeks without speaking to another person. Even without the logo, the brand colour recognition was strong enough for people to identify the product as Cadburys. And that brand relationship and trust Cadburys has built will incline more people to partake in their bid to raise money and awareness for Age UK.


This shows that Cadburys didn’t even need their logo to run a successful campaign, they simply needed to trust in their brand as a whole and the power of the ‘why’ behind this specific campaign. Armed with just their iconic colour and kind message of “donate your words”, they were able to create the emotional connection that matters.


Why is branding important for clinical studies?

Using all aspects of branding is so important for clinical studies for a big reason. In order to recruit successfully, you must emotionally connect with your audience. If you saw an online ad that had a plain white background with black text that said “JOIN OUR CLINICAL STUDY TODAY” with a Cancer Research logo at the bottom, you need to ask yourself, is that enough to motivate you to join? If the answer is no, then the ad has effectively failed. Where is the emotive copy? Who is that ad targeting? What is the strategy behind that ad?


Health is an emotive subject. People’s decisions are emotionally driven which means creating connections and building trust is everything for a company developing a clinical study brand. And, as highlighted in this blog, logos alone can’t establish a true and deep identity. So, while the design team here at COUCH Health love nothing more than developing outstanding logos to help cement brand recognition, the bigger brand picture is always in the back of their mind as the foundation of any good clinical study marketing or advertising campaign.



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