For the past several years, branding has been a major buzzword, but what is branding? It is often confused with marketing and although they are closely related, branding has its own niche. It can be vague and confusing but doesn’t have to be.
Branding is everything that differentiates you or identifies you with your customer or audience. It is your promise to them of what to expect from you. It is who you are, who you want to be, and how you want to be perceived. The goal of branding is to attract and keep loyal customers by aligning your product with your promise and what the customer wants.
Do you want to be seen as a luxury product? Are you the go-to agency for reliable service? Are you the bargain basement for web design? Whatever it is that you are trying to promote is your brand and many factors go into building your brand.
Branding goes way beyond just the name, design or symbol and should not be confused with a logo. Logos are certainly an integral part of branding, but it is so much more.
The foundation of your brand is your logo that establishes the tone of your business. I will talk more about the importance of a good logo design in future posts, but for now, let’s just say it is the basis of your brand.
Here are two examples of logos, each with a very different feel and tone:
Your website, packaging, promotional materials, social media and all of your communications should integrate with your logo and be consistent in presenting your business. The tone of your written communications is also part of establishing your brand. If you have a store, your brand should be present here as well, aligning the look and feel of the store with the rest of your marketing.
Whether working on starting a business or an established business, defining your brand is essential.
You need to ask a few basic questions:
• What is the company’s mission?
• What are the benefits or features of the products or services?
• How does the company or business want to be perceived?
• Who are you targeting and what do they want?
Once you answer these questions you can start developing and promoting your brand. Create an amazing logo that tells a story of who you are. Be consistent. Create templates for your ads, social media, and promotional pieces. Create style sheets for your brand colors and fonts. Establish your voice. Is it casual or formal? Serious or fun?
This doesn’t have to be hard or expensive, but it does take some thought and in the long run will be well worth the effort.
I will be posting more information on creating a logo and developing your brand.