Forming a brand is extremely complex. You have to consider the target audience, the aesthetics, the design, and many other factors. Whether you’re just beginning this process or are looking to re-evaluate your current brand, there’s one concept you should clearly understand: branding. So, what is branding exactly? Let’s learn what it means and how to form a strong brand identity of your own.
Branding is one of those concepts nearly everyone has heard about at one point in time. Understanding its meaning and significance is the key to successful promotion, growth and success.
Branding often confused with the product. The product is what you are selling, whether that be a tangible good or a service. Branding is the entire process of creating an overall image or perception for your company.
The branding process consists of design elements, such as the logo or colors, mission statements, brand personality and consistency throughout each interaction with a consumer. When done properly, branding allows any brand to stand out amongst the competition and strengthen its customers’ loyalty. Each time you enter a store, visit a website, unwrap the packaging, or receive an email, I can ensure the brand has thought long and hard about how each component represents their business.
In order to gain a better understanding, let’s look into some brands known across the world to have a strong upper hand in the branding game.
Name the Brand.
Let’s see how effective these companies’ branding strategies are by playing a little game. I’ll give you three clues, and see if you can guess what the brand is.
Functional, Espress-ive, and Oh So Yummy
- This brand’s overall expression is both functional and expressive. Whether it be through social media, in-person, or over email, they make sure each message is sent and received with an expressive, yet the functional tone of voice.
- It is known for its recognizable green color. This green stands out within their designs, stores, and products and is easily identifiable. Among other neutral colors, this green is fresh and inviting, which is why it was selected to represent this brand. Similar to its brand expression, the colors are also functional and expressive. Alongside the well-known green color, this brand also incorporates bright, expressive colors into seasonal products.
- A mythological creature, known as the Siren, is on nearly every product. This mermaid-like creature is the face of the brand. She holds history, representing the birthplace of the brand, Seattle, Washington. Although this logo has had some redesigns over the years, it has remained recognizable and consistent.
Did you happen to guess that I was referring to Starbucks? Each of these aspects plays a major role in the branding process and affects how we interpret Starbucks.
When you think of Starbucks, what comes to mind? Is it the neutral-toned stores? Or the coffee cups labeled with the mysterious mermaid-like creature? Whatever it is, we can look to Starbucks as an inspiration when we think of branding.
For the most part, we are all likely to have similar experiences at any Starbucks. Each store follows a branding guide. They’re cohesive, consistent and there’s always an overly-caffeinated smile waiting to take your order. This consistency and positive customer experience is just what Starbucks works for. Due to their good branding, many individuals turn into loyal customers.
Okay, that was fun let’s do another.
Innovative, Different, and- “Oooh I Want One”
- This brand has a confident, original and creative voice that feeds off of its slogan, “Think Different.” This major brand is built on innovation and imagination, which can be seen throughout all its products, campaigns, promotions and locations.
- Showing off high-quality photography, videography, and other creative skills is one of the most common forms of advertisement used. Everything is sleek, monotone, and organized while showing you how much you ‘need this product.’
- This brand’s logo is instantly recognizable. A fruit. I don’t think I could give a better hint if I tried.
If you had no idea, it’s Apple. Apple is one of the greatest branding executions there is. Each store you visit is essentially the same, the advertisements are all creative and innovative, and each exchange with Apple is nearly identical.
Every store layout and employee plays a part in Apple’s branding. Following its guide closely and consistently builds trust and loyalty between the brand and the consumer.
Pay Attention, What Do You Notice?
Now that you’ve gotten a better understanding of what branding is, pay close attention to it. Think about your favorite brand, what aspects do they work hard to consistently maintain? How do they keep a loyal customer base? Consider their colors, logo, design, layout, personality, etc.
Maybe the social media page appealed to your sense of humor. Or you had difficulty navigating the website. Whatever your experience was, it subconsciously affects your interpretation of the brand. Brands work to keep everyone happy and hope for everyone to have a positive experience.
Now that we’ve looked over some significant brands and their branding, let’s take a look at some of the components of strong branding.
In order to set your brand apart from competitors, it’s crucial that you determine your brand’s identity. You need to be able to show customers WHY they should choose your brand. You also need to ensure they have a positive experience with your brand so loyalty, respect and trust is formed between you both.
Research, Research, Research
Before you can jump straight into the branding process, you need to have a clear understanding of your brand’s industry and target audience. Do some research on competitors and pay close attention to their branding techniques. Discover what works well and what needs improving.
It’s also important to pay attention to what audience you are working to reach. Look closely into trends that work, and identify ones that don’t. What are some common similarities across your target audience? Find common ground and work to reach them.
Give It a Personality
One of the most important aspects of your business is the brand personality. I can ensure you that anyone would rather talk to a real person than a computer. It’s important to give your brand certain traits, or characteristics, which allow the target audience to form an emotional connection to your brand.
Consider what it is you sell, whether it be a good or service, and imagine yourself as the consumer. How would you hope to experience it? Is there humor? Is it direct? Consistency is key, make sure it matches the experience anyone would encounter with an employee, customer service, an email list, etc. You want everyone to have a similar, or near-identical, understanding and experience with your brand.
One of the best ways that you can work to strengthen your branding is by giving it a personality. Determine 3-5 words that would describe your brand. These are some examples of brand descriptors:
Once you determine how you want viewers to perceive your brand, make sure it can be seen in all aspects. If you want your business to be bold, blunt, and funny, make sure it runs throughout your entire brand, its campaigns and its designs.
Colors play a huge role in the branding process. Not only do colors resemble a brand, but they also affect its interpretation. Some colors capture attention, some are subtle, yet eye-catching.
Consider how certain colors will correspond, clash or blend with other aspects of your brand. The colors you select should match the feel of your brand’s personality, desired association, and its product or service. Keep in mind that your logo and designs will likely follow your colors.
Here are some common color associations to help you get started:
- White is often associated with purity, cleanliness, neutrality, simplicity and honesty. Can portray a clean and professional appearance, but with improper design can look boring and lazy.
- Red is a color resembling passion, love, danger and strength. It is a popular branding color as it is eye-catching and attention-grabbing.
- Orange is associated with warmth, caution, health, creativity, and fun. Orange has the ability to catch attention but risks being overstimulating.
- Yellow is an attention-grabbing color that represents cheer, happiness, freshness, optimism, and energy. This bright color has the ability to add a pop of color to your brand but may be challenging to see in certain aspects.
- Green is recognized as an Earthy tone. Viewers often associate it with nature, growth, balance, wealth and luck. Green has so many interpretations that may be beneficial to your brand, consider whether it clashes, or matches, with any other colors.
- Blue can be a powerful color. Many people associate this color with security, trust, power, calmness and strength. Blue fits nicely with many of the other colors, but may be difficult to see alongside darker tones.
- Black can be associated with mystery, power, seriousness and security. It’s a great color, but too much of one thing can sometimes be overbearing and stressful. Consider how it makes you feel and if that’s how you want your brand to be interpreted.
Consistency is Key
Like I have said before, consistency is key. Make sure that your branding strategies remain consistent throughout all platforms. You want each experience with your brand to be as similar as possible.
You’re more likely to build trust with someone where there is consistency, the same goes for your brand.
Still Need Help?
We understand branding can be challenging. Lucky for you, we love a challenge. If you’re hoping to start the branding or rebranding process, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Here at Casa Media, we’re always excited to take on a new challenge. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the ways we can help, reach out here.