They're just a really great place to start.
In a faraway time, before the internet took over all of our lives, a logo was pretty much the extent of a company's visual identity. But the title of this post could have just as easily been "... and Brands are not Just Logos" so I want to take a moment to set a few things straight.
1. THE STATIC LOGO OF YORE IS ONE FOR THE HISTORY BOOKS.
Sad, but true. Logos used to be a rather passive visual mark of a company. Think AT&T or IBM. The logo was what it was and it had no need to be flexible or adaptive or nimble. It's easy to look back and see how overly complex logos seem out of place in today's clean, flat world. Gone are the drop shadows, the bevels, and the gradients. (Good riddance, I say.)
2. BUT LOGOS AREN'T DEAD, THEY'VE JUST EVOLVED.
Branding must now be able to translate when applied huge on the side of a fleet of trucks and tiny as an app icon. From massive to miniature, a great logo designer today should focus on creating a suite of logo variations that all work well together. They should coordinate and enhance the brand, with different iterations for all the various intentions, perhaps even to delineate or promote various products or divisions.
3. A LOGO PLAYS A ROLE IN THE SHOW, BUT SO DO MANY OTHER ACTORS.
If branding was a Hollywood movie, the logo would certainly get top billing but let's be honest: the whole production doesn't happen if you don't have all the other roles cast as well. No one's really into the one-man-show. Color palette, fonts, patterns, and textures are all much needed in their supporting roles. Great copywriting, a decisive photographic style, a clear social media voice and coordinating promotional items all contribute as well.
4. THE RESULT OF ALL THIS IS A CHANCE TO CREATE SUPER AVID BRAND LOYALISTS!
If needing to pay attention to all these other aspects in addition to just a logo design have you wishing for yesteryear, there's light at the end of the tunnel! One of the best things about constant exposure to your brand in person, in print, online and on a multitude of devices means that customers feel more personally attached to brands more than ever. There are so many more ways to build connections with customers!
The takeaway? It's really more important than ever to invest in building a brand identity, not just a logo. A logo isn't the sum of the brand and a brand isn't just a logo.