Branding is the vital and cohesive impressions that relay attributes of your business to clients and customers. Your brand identity encompasses the facts, feelings, and visuals that people connect with and distinguishes your company from its competition.
In a nutshell, a brand is the public persona of a company. It embodies a corporate character and everything you associate with the entity.
Brands are always fighting for space in people’s minds. Whatever thought came to yours, this impression was influenced by the sum of the company’s attributes and your perceptions about them. A brand is not formed through a single quality, such as the logo. It is a series of elements that shape brand recall, which we explore briefly in this article.
Common branding elements
- Value Proposition
Behind every successful brand is a vision that has been squarely defined and consistently executed to serve its target audience.
In branding, it’s important to carefully contemplate every aspect of your business, from the consumer you wish to serve to the values you want your brand to encapsulate. A well-honed vision is indispensable toward igniting a culture and inspiring the world. In branding, your vision statement tells the world of the future that you want to see.
Creating a brand from scratch is hard work and an ever-evolving process, but if you define brand goals up front, it will set a framework for authenticity and raise the bar for quality user engagement. For example, Tesla's vision rallies like-minded consumers interested in sustainability and shares a big picture goal for employees and affiliates to embrace.
"To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles." - Tesla Vision Statement
Mission-driven companies succeed through distinct customer-driven business objectives that focus on what matters most to their customers.
When you focus on what matters to customers and deliver a set of solutions or products centered around that goal, you are on your way to building a brand culture set to wins hearts. Your mission connects your purpose to the outside world with the values inside company. Your mission statement is an action-basted declaration of how you serve your customers. It helps to connect your company to your customer's system of beliefs and values. Tesla mission statement, "to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy," resonates with customers who want a healthier planet.
In branding, everything “starts” with the name because it is how people refer to your offering.
The right name is the foundation of a great brand and in my experience the toughest part of the process. This initial decision sets the tone for how you will shape your corporate personality and the way you deliver your message. It doesn’t necessarily get any easier after this initial accomplishment, but it sure feels great once you’ve settled on a name that everyone can get excited about.
Part of the naming process includes securing a meaningful domain name. The rise in custom domain name extensions has made it somewhat easier to secure a relevant name that people can remember, placing creativity before and after the dot!
A logo symbolizes the qualities, values, and purpose of a company, and at the same time serves as an identifier.
Brands elicit visual recognition through their logo, of course, just as people are identified through their appearance. A logo’s purpose is to facilitate an emotional association with the company’s tangible, functional attributes of a product or service, as well as the intangible characteristics, such as image or attitude. A logo is a single representation that manifests a wide spectrum of company attributes and the emotional experiences attached to them.
The logo is designed to evoke a certain sentiment and to a certain extent the logo, over time, takes on the collective attitude of an audience through their series of brand experiences. A logo is a focal point on which the whole of your branding hangs. As well as communicating your values and summing up your company, it enables consumers to recognize your products or services on just one glance.
A Tagline is a brand-bite that summarizes an aspect or attitude about your offering.
A well-written, catchy tagline can bring a marketing campaign to awareness and help people remember you. Whether or not one is needed can depend on the type of product or service your company provides. However, one only needs to see a great tagline to recognize the powerful impact a creative one has on consumer buying trends.
See our most popular article "Steps to Writing a Successful Tagline or Slogan."
Delivering a consumer-oriented experience means understanding your clients and the solutions they need.
If it is not clear what value your product or service delivers to the marketplace, then you will be unable to build a compelling brand. A clearly communicated value proposition identifies concrete benefits you provide to clients in a way that is differentiating and easily understood. In order to deliver your value proposition you will need to understand what the customer is trying to accomplish, and how you can help them. When you have a purpose behind your products and service, you become unstoppable.
Steps to write a value proposition
- List the benefits your product or service delivers
- State why these benefits are valuable
- Identify your customer's main problem
- Connect the value of your benefits to your buyer's problem
- Differentiate yourself as the preferred provider of this value
A brand promise is a mini mission statement that communicates the value proposition of an offering or product
It is essentially your agreement with the customer to consistently and reliably uphold a certain standard of service or product quality. A credible, authentic pledge with a compelling benefit to customers can separate the best from the rest. Think Geico's meaningful "15 minutes or less can save you 15% or more on car insurance" promise. When a promise is made and kept, it causes a powerful bond to form with the customer. This loyalty is a driving force.
Make sure to keep it genuine and achievable, though, because a broken promise can make the difference between a repeat customer and one that goes to your competitor and never looks back. This excellent article, "Why and How to Write a Promise" by Colin Finkle cover the topic well.
People decide whether or not they like a product in 90 seconds or less. And 90% of that decision is based solely on color. - Singh, S. (2006)
Color palette branding is of utmost importance because it is the visual component of your brand that people see and recognize. Your colors play a prominent role in whether customers choose you and how your brand's personality is perceived. When exploring color, keep in mind that it is both a science and art of selecting and testing palettes to create visual contrast and harmony simultaneously.
Photography is an instrument of communication with boundless power to convey meaning.
As the saying goes, an image is worth a thousand words. It is true. Photography quickly and easily conveys the emotion you want your customers to feel when using your product. Beyond your logo, imagery is the first impression your customers get of your brand. A glossy stock image is generic and merely fills up dead space. In fact, your audience will glance over it. On the other hand, an organic, high-quality photo captures the individuality and trust that an authentic brand deserves.
How a company transmits its brand and connects with others rests on the principals it lives by every day.
Identifying brand personality dimensions early on will inform name selection, logo design, and color palette. Do you want to be perceived as wholesome, reliable, and down-to-earth? What about adventurous and outdoorsy? Perhaps your product is innovative and modern.
In the same way that the aspect of someone’s character is presented and perceived by the way in which one conducts oneself, the behavior of a firm influence our sentiment and experience. The brand personality is built over time through what the company says and does, from the values it conveys to how it packages its services, the tone of voice it carries and everything in between.
The bond a company forms with people through experiences and emotional connections is the foundation to success.
The intricacies of relationship dynamics play a great role in brand awareness. How a product or service makes us feel influences our buying behavior. Successful brands achieve a higher level of power over the marketplace by mastering the art and science of relationship building. Great brands understand what makes their clients tick.
What business doesn't want the type of relationship Apple has with its customers? If we can build the products and services our customers want and love, that's a good place to start.
Get in touch to talk about product design and brand building.