There’s always been a big debate among candy bar aficionados: which is better, Snickers or Baby Ruth.. When it comes to taste, it’s a tough call. But when it comes to brand, there’s no contest. Snickers has it all over Baby Ruth. 

Why do i say this? Because without even mentioning the Snickers name, we know the new ad campaign is about Snickers.  In fact, the ads take it a step further. Using the same typeface and colors of the Snickers brand, they replace the Snickers name with other words: Hungerectomy, Snacklish.. Yet, no matter what word they use, it’s still instantly recognizable as Snickers.

When we start to do work with a start-up or small company and ask our client what they have for their brand, we’re often told that they’re in pretty good shape — they have their logo. When we review their materials, we see that their PowerPoint was made by one person, their website by another, and perhaps a brochure by yet another.. They each include the logo, but anyone entering a room and seeing all three things would never think these are related.

To me, a logo is like a name. It lets people know what to call you, but they won’t know anything about you. (I’m oversimplifying here, but go with me). Brands go deeper. They tell the world who you are: your status, your personality, your drive, your phiilosophy. 

Brands build recognition. That point was brought home to me a long time ago when I drove by a fast food restaurant with my then three-year-old daughter, who yelled out “McDonalds”. She couldn’t read of course, but she recognized it.

I’d even be willing to say that the elements around a logo are more important than the logo. Why do I say that? If you could magically erase the logo from a well-developed brand, along with any imagery tàhat might give away who that company is, you should still be able to recognize that company. 

It’s also true when someone is learning about a company. If they see a website, and  ad, or a brochure, they will immediately make some assumptions about that ocmpany before they have read a word about it or even found out their name. In this sense, we all follow human nature, which is to try and fill in the gaps. For example, when you approach someone new, you’ve already made some assumptions about them before you’ve even spoken to them and found out their name. You picked up clues  — the clothes they wore, their haircut, their size and weight, the complexion of their skin, etc. When you meet you find out that perso’s name and begin finding out more about them. This same process is true on a corporate level as well. 

There’s a lot to learn from a candy bar. Especially one that’s snickerlicious.