This post is not for professional marketers and designers that are already well aware of branding 101. This is for my clients, prospects, family and friends who are wondering what I’m doing with my life… For those, I am here to clarify everything you need to know about branding.
What is branding?
Branding is a crucial marketing strategy that differentiates your products and services from others alike. It refers to the all the communication that affects the experience people have with your business. It’s what helps people to know you, like you, trust you — and ultimately, want you.
Who needs branding?
Do you have something to promote? If yes, read on. This is for you.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an established company, a startup or a solo blogger trying to change the world one line at a time, whether you’re selling a product, service or ideology — you need branding.
Top 10 Things To Know About Branding
- Logo Design helps people instantly identify you.
- Color Palette helps people easily recognize you.
- Brand Guidelines helps keep your messaging controlled and consistent.
- Content helps persuade people into seeing you as valuable.
- Tone helps people empathize with you.
- Website helps build your trustworthiness and reputation.
- Personality helps express your key values to attract the right audience.
- Positioning helps people align their needs with your solution.
- Campaign helps people know your story and relate with your mission.
- Strategy helps attract and convert new visitors to customers.
1— Logo Design
Want to affect the success of your business? Win the hearts and minds of consumers with a memorable logo. A cleverly concise logo will help people connect with your brand and allow them to easily recall their experience with your business when they see it. An effective logo should be simple yet distinctive, allowing for easy recognition.
A common misconception people have about branding is that it means simply having a logo. While a logo is indeed a major component of branding, it is merely the tip of the iceberg.
2— Color Palette
Color is such an integral part of branding that dramatically communicates the whole look and feel for your brand. Psychology has discovered that people perceive colors in certain ways and respond subconsciously. The implications of colors effecting people’s emotions are so widespread that understanding those connections could increase the effectiveness of your company’s branding methods.
3— Brand Guidelines
Branding needs to be very consistent and treated with careful intention in order to uphold properly. Brand guidelines are like your owner’s manual on how to use your brand. They are a set of rules and restrictions that will be referenced by anyone that works on your brand, whether internal employees or outsourced contractors from another agency.
Examples of Brand Guidelines:
Amazon- See here
American Red Cross- see here
Boy Scouts of America- see here
Skype- see here
4 — Content
Content development is a very important component of branding that uses strategically generated copywriting, photography and videography to support your brand.
All content should be carefully considered to ensure your messaging is direct and appropriate as to target and persuade the right audiences.
It is important to construct communication that reiterates your brand’s core messages. Ensuring a steady flow of consistently fresh content can certainly make or break your following and affect the success of your brand.
5 — Tone
It’s not so much what you say as how you say it that makes it so impactful. Establishing a tone for your brand and staying consistent with it throughout every piece of communication will help your audience understand your mission and empathize with it. Is it serious and somber like the Truth campaigns or is it light-hearted and fun like Dairy Queen?
Studies show that companies with well-built websites that focus on user interface and user experience design generate way more customer traffic and increased conversion — thus, reap benefits of accelerated revenue.
It doesn’t take a genius or web designer to spot a bad website. Even for someone who is unable to spot the technical malfunctions deteriorating a site’s quality, an average user will immediately get a feel for whether or not a site is effective or not.
Is it easy to navigate or clunky and difficult to find things? Is it informative or vague? Is it compelling or generic? Are there clear call-to-actions or do you feel a bit at a loss of what to do? Is it functional on all mobile devices?
If your website gives off a negative impression in any way, it can be detrimental to your success. Be sure your website is designed in such a way that will evoke the perceptions you desire by ensuring it properly reflects your brand.
Need help branding your website? Hire a professional designer/developer that can custom build your site, as opposed to installing the same generic template that thousands of others use.
Consumers are more likely to purchase products/services from a brand whose personality is similar to their own — so it is important to be strategic in all your communication.
What is the personality of your brand? Is it going to attract your target customers? Developing your brand personality will help your business to express its key values to attract the right audience. Your brand personality will elicit an emotional response in a specific consumer segment with the intention of inciting positive actions that benefit your business.
Market positioning is an organized system for finding a sweet spot in your customers’ minds.
Who is your company and what do you represent? Who are your target customers and what do these people need/want? Who are your biggest competitors and what do you do differently? How will your company reliably meet the needs of your customers?
There are a variety of ways you can position your brand. For example, you can position your brand around the product’s benefits, like Volvo has become known for safe vehicles. OR, you can position your brand to align the consumer with your mission, kind of how the U.S. Army has with its “be all you can be in the army” tagline. You could also play on how your company will meet consumers’ needs, the way Walmart has in developing a sweet spot among their consumers with their “Save money. Live better.” philosophy. Lastly, you can position your brand against competition the way Apple does. “Think Different.”
The purpose of a branding campaign is to promote a positive message over an extended time so that whenever it comes time for people to make a decision or a purchase, they will remember your positive message and consider going with your brand.
Associating your brand with a higher mission can attract loyal customers. For example, Harley Davidson uses emotional branding and created a whole community around their brand. They began HOG — Harley Owners Group — to create an exclusive association around their brand for their customers.
Brand strategy is a long-term plan for the development of a successful brand in order to achieve specific goals.
Your brand isn’t the product itself, the logo or website, per se. In fact, your brand is much more than that — it’s the intangible stuff. Having an actual brand strategy in place means establishing that hard-to-pin-down feeling that separates powerhouse brands from mediocre ones.
Strategy is what drives design in the first place. A logo and website are built upon the foundation of a brand strategy, which includes business analysis and strategic planning to reach specific goals.
Now we’ve covered the top 10 things to know about branding so you realize there it is much more than simply having a logo. It encompasses every bit of communication between your brand and your target users. If you have a business or cause that needs raised awareness, you should probably consider investing in a branding campaign ASAP. For a free consultation and quote, get in touch with Couple of Creatives.