Have you ever listened to a catchy radio jingle and then found yourself humming it for hours? This is a psychological phenomena known as "stuck song syndrome" or an earworm (not a great term, we know), which can spontaneously generate emotions, memories, or associations just by hearing a melody.
While these annoying little melodies are essentially a marketing strategy, they are also an excellent illustration for understanding the value of branding. Contrary to popular belief, branding entails much more than a logo, a color palette, or the way you build a website. Branding is mnemonic, like those radio jingles, in that it is built on the enduring feeling, experience, and emotion that customers associate with your company. It offers an intangible element that clients can relate to and connect with in their everyday lives.
So, how can you harness this power and create a brand that sticks with your target audience? We'll look at what branding is and which branding aspects can help you develop a powerful, authentic, and memorable brand in this tutorial.
What is branding?
The deliberate efforts you take to alter people's perceptions of your product or service—so they will pick your brand again and over again—are referred to as branding. It is, in essence, the way your product or service is perceived in the minds of your customers.
While it may appear to be a simple concept to grasp, branding is a nebulous, passionately disputed topic that is difficult to describe. What is the reason for this? Because, as previously said, branding is an emotional and subjective process that cannot be evaluated or quantified.
Let's take a step back and define what a brand is in order to completely comprehend branding. “A brand is the combination of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer's decision to choose one product or service over another,” says author and entrepreneur Seth Godin. Everything you do to actively influence those decisions is referred to as branding.
Consider this: when consumers are faced with a decision, how will they proceed? Whatever drives them, branding is what molds their perceptions of your company and, ultimately, what turns new customers into repeat customers.
What are the benefits of branding?
There is a lot of noise in the crowded world of marketing. If you just have 7 seconds to establish a first impression, your branding must be bold and well-designed straight away. Effective branding is the technique that allows your company to stand out and attract the attention of potential customers. Branding has the ability to influence, inspire, and generate change when done correctly.
Look at some of the most well-known and successful businesses, such as Google, Apple, Nike, and Coca-Cola; their success is no accident. These businesses recognize the value of branding and apply it to every part of their operations and marketing. Furthermore, in order to sustain client loyalty, they continue to strategize, learn, and grow through their branding initiatives.
Let’s look at the most important branding elements:
Elements of visual branding
Having a professional online presence is more important than ever before as a branding asset and a crucial component of any digital marketing plan. A website acts as the hub of your business, regardless of your sector or company size, or whether you have an eCommerce or brick and mortar store.
What's in a name, anyway? A great deal in terms of branding. Creating a brand name, on the other hand, is a difficult undertaking. Your brand name should not only reflect who you are, but also what you do, while also leaving a positive image. There's no need to rush.
Before deciding on a brand name, there are a few things to think about. To begin, make sure the name you want is available, that it doesn't have any unique linguistic connotations, and that it is symbolic of your business values.
While business cards may appear a little out of date in today's digital environment, they remain a crucial element of your branding materials. When deciding how to design a business card, remember that it's not just a way to convey your contact information and logo; it's also a way to develop contacts and make an impression.
There's more to choosing your brand colors than meets the eye. Your brand identity will be shaped by the color palette you choose, which will display across all marketing platforms. It's critical to think about color psychology and how it affects your customers' purchasing decisions.
Color sends signals, evokes emotions, and ultimately influences consumer perception of your brand in their brains (and eyes).
Red, for example, is a vibrant color associated with passion, energy, excitement, and danger, whereas blue is a calming color associated with trust, tranquility, and stability. Selecting your brand colors can help you develop consistency and grow your brand identity after you understand what message your branding is aiming to deliver.
Although your company tagline is not technically a visual element, it is inextricably linked to visuals such as your logo, therefore we'll include it here for our purposes. Coming up with a creative slogan isn't necessarily a necessary aspect of your branding, but it can be a very effective marketing strategy when done effectively.
Nike’s “Just Do It”, or Gilette’s “The Best a Man Can Get”, are perfect examples of slogans that embody a brand and instantly make you think of a product upon hearing them. As you can see, when they are well executed, slogans serve as an integral part of the brand.
Branding aspects that are not visible
A mission statement is an important aspect of any branding strategy, and it should communicate your brand's purpose and values (which we'll discuss further below). This branding aspect should make it apparent to anybody who comes into contact with your brand (from consumers to investors and competitors) what you're all about in no more than a few phrases. Think of your brand mission statement as a ‘why’ explanation that guides not only what your business offers but the purpose behind it.
Your vision statement, like your mission statement, is a succinct and clear statement that outlines your strategic business objectives. It acts as a road map for your company's early phases and the future of your brand. Your brand vision can change over time as your firm grows, but it should always stay true to your key brand principles.
Consumers desire authenticity and want to connect with brands that have similar values in a world where transparency and authenticity are more important than ever. Your brand values are the bedrock of your company and pervade all part of your branding.
Consider these principles to be a compass that guides and supports your brand's mission and story, as well as your decisions and actions. Consider the larger picture, as well as your company's influence and impact, while creating your brand values.
With so many subtle components to the branding puzzle, developing your brand identity from the start encapsulates both your company's personality and your devotion to your audience. Your brand identity combines all of these principles in one definite place, taking into account your brand values, objective, and persona. It supports the ways in which your brand promotes your service or product, as well as how people experience it.
Type of Branding
The sorts of branding that shape brands are as diverse as the brands themselves. Because each company has its own personality, purpose, reputation, and ambitions, there is no universal branding strategy that works for everyone. There are several techniques to branding whether you're branding a person, a place, a product, or a service.
Although there are many more, let's look at three main types of branding to show their unique characteristics, with real-world examples:
This is not the time to be bashful when it comes to self-promotion. Personal branding is concerned with your outer look, reputation, and personal and professional image. The 'full package,' which includes your CV, social media posts, and website design, is referred regarded as personal branding.
The persona or identity given to a certain product utilizing branding features such as a logo, colors, packaging, voice, and overall design is referred to as product branding. Product branding is to make a product stand out in the marketplace, make it easily identifiable, and make it a preferred choice for others. Consider well-known companies such as Apple, Google, Disney, Target, or Starbucks; even just reading their names conjures up images of their logos, products, and customer experiences.
Branding on a geographical and cultural level
Geographic branding, often known as regional branding, relates to how specific locales (cities, countries, regions, and so on) attract visitors and attract individuals. Although it can be utilized in other sectors and in a variety of ways, this sort of branding is particularly popular in the hotel and tourism industries.
Consider the classic "I ❤️ NYC" t-shirts or the phrase "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas," both of which are excellent examples of how these two cities have used geographic branding to stimulate tourists, boost local businesses, and create memorable experiences.
This branding approach can also be used by businesses to gain clout for their products or services. Truffle mushrooms, for example, are only found in France, Italy, and the Pacific Northwest. Truffle companies use geographic branding to sell the mushrooms at a premium price in the worldwide market since they have unique access to this rare fungus.
Cultural branding optimizes the influence of a destination and the lifestyle of its inhabitants in a similar but distinct way. What comes to mind when the Eiffel Tower is mentioned? Do baguettes and berets come to mind now? Then you're already aware of the importance of cultural branding.
What is the best way to build a brand?
So now that you have a better understanding of branding, its relevance, and the important elements, it's time to create a brand. When starting out and building your brand, there are a few things to keep in mind, such as researching your competition, identifying your target demographic, and connecting with your clients.
For more in-depth processes, read our comprehensive guide on how to establish a brand, but first, let's have a look at what some of these processes entail:
Determine the objective of your brand.
Before you can start thinking about color palettes, taglines, or creating trust, you need to figure out what your brand's primary mission is. You should determine your primary brand purpose right from the start if you want to create a successful and identifiable brand.
Your brand purpose may be compared to a single thread that runs through your entire brand, from your mission statement to your logo, and affects all aspect of your company, from investors to staff to, of course, your cherished consumers.
Design your Logo
When it comes to deciding how to design a logo for your company, keep in mind that, despite its tiny size, this branding element is crucial. Because this small sign is a visual representation of your organization on your website and everything else, it comes with enormous responsibility. A single glance at your logo can elicit emotion, convince, or inspire your customers.
Create a solid brand plan.
You must strategize each step of the way in order to build a successful brand. From design to customer service, your brand strategy acts as a road map for all aspects of your branding initiatives. You can set long-term goals and accomplish exceptional branding results by conducting research, analysis, planning, and preparation.
Brand management advice
Branding is a continuous process that necessitates consideration, awareness, and careful brand management. Even the most successful businesses are always adapting in order to stay true to themselves.
There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to successfully managing your brand:
The importance of consistency cannot be overstated: Consistency is a crucial part of branding in the quest of recognition, trust, and brand loyalty. Customers return to dependable organizations that maintain a cohesive and consistent brand across all channels.
It's all about reputation: Cancel culture has a lot of clout. We all know someone or somewhere with a poor reputation that we try to avoid at all costs. We even avoid things based on what others say, even if we haven't personally experienced them. To avoid such obstacles, organizations can go through a rebranding process, but it's better to aim for a great brand reputation from the outset.
Keep your word and deliver on your promises: One of the most important aspects of brand management is to keep your word and deliver on your promises. This encompasses both the brand promise you make to your consumers, staff, and stakeholders and the actions you take to keep it.
Maintain the conversation: It's critical to establish and maintain a continual communication between your brand and your customers, both online and offline. You must, however, go a step further by not only engaging with your audience, but also asking questions and actively listening to criticism. This way, you can make improvements based on true and legitimate input.
Create meaningful connections: The best customers are loyal customers—those that not only like but also return to your brand. It all comes down to distinctiveness, engagement, and loyalty, whether they're brand ambassadors or long-term customers, so make sure you look after these important relationships. Isn't that what it's all about, after all?