Our Senior Account Manager Maz Davis has over 25 years’ experience in brand marketing and shares some valuable insight on brand building.
Your brand is your greatest asset and it is important to understand the relationship between brand, branding, and brand identity in order to build it.
What is a brand?
The term ‘brand’ is widely used in marketing, business and beyond, but not everyone shares the same level of understanding or definition. To create a powerhouse brand that drives long-term growth, you need to create meaning and connection through ‘branding’ and authentically communicate it through its ‘brand identity’.
A brand is the consumer’s perception of your product/service. It’s the emotional connection you make with your audience through a culmination of feelings that come from recognisable brand assets like logo, brand name, web copy and colour palette.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos famously said: “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
While brands are consumer perceptions, the act of shaping how your product/service or company is perceived is called branding.
Why is branding important?
Branding identifies why your brand exists, what your brand does, who it serves and how it delivers unique value. Branding helps people (employees, partners, consumers) to quickly identify, connect, and experience your brand, thereby shaping perceptions.
A strong brand drives growth because it’s more than just an exercise of expressing your authenticity; it’s also a strategic way to approach the competitive landscape so the brand can thrive.
The process of branding is complete only when you have carefully defined and considered these five key elements:
- Target Audience – Who are you serving? What do you know about them? What problem are you trying to solve for your audience (ie purpose)?
- Brand Promise - What experience do your customers expect to receive every time they interact with your company?
- Positioning – This refers to the place that a brand occupies in the minds of the customers and how it is distinguished from the products of the competitors. Who are your competitors? What is your position in the market?
- Brand Personality – This refers to human characteristics associated with a brand. They're expressed as adjectives that convey how you want people to perceive you (eg. daring, glamorous, dependable, friendly, responsible).
- Message – What is your unique value proposition? What makes you different? What is your brand story?
How do you create a strong brand identity?
Brand identity is the way your brand presents itself to the world. It’s the collection of all visual and verbal brand elements that portray a desired image and tell a meaningful consumer story. It’s what makes you instantly recognisable to your customers. Your audience associates your brand identity with your product or service, and that identity is what forges the connection between you and your customers, builds loyalty and determines how your customers perceive your brand.
- Visual Identity is about bringing the brand personality to life through symbols. Elements include logo, colour palettes, typography, iconography, patterns, textures and photography.
- Verbal Identity is about bringing the brand personality to life through words. Verbal identity is the system of elements a brand uses to express itself – both how it speaks and what it says. Elements include brand voice, tone, consumer messaging, headlines and taglines.
- Logo: The logo is the face of the brand and needs to create a positive first impression. Logos should be crafted with the following in mind: simple, relevant, memorable, timeless, versatile, unique, distinguishable, and selected to reflect your brand personality. Many of the most impactful and successful logos in history are surprisingly simple like Apple, Nike and Google.
- Colour palette: A brand colour palette is a crucial part of your brand identity because it is where first impressions of customers are based. The colours and shades you use to represent your company in its logo, website design and communications will help to underpin the defining elements of your business and make you more recognisable to your followers and customers. Colours are more than just a visual aid because they convey emotions, feelings and experiences.
- Fonts: Choosing the right typography can help to tell your brand story and amplify the impact of your logo whenever and wherever people see it. The perfect brand fonts should:
- be unique and memorable
- be legible
- work on every platform
- communicate your brand personality
Serif fonts are a great choice for brands that want to be seen as trustworthy, established and reliable.
Sans serif fonts are the best choice if you want your brand designs to feel modern, sophisticated and cutting edge.
- Voice and Tone: A brand's tone of voice is the style used to communicate with the audience, considering the choice of words, brand personality, and emotional tone. Brand voice is what you say and brand tone is how you say it. Your tone may vary between audiences.
- Messaging: Brand messaging refers to the underlying value proposition and language used in your content. It's what makes your brand relatable to your customers, so it needs to be inspirational, persuasive, motivational and engaging. Ultimately, it makes customers want to buy your product
However, it goes so much further than what you sell. Brands like Dove recognise this by making their brand about more than just having the best soap and care products. To them, their products mean enhancing the natural beauty of their customers and building self-esteem and body confidence. That's why Dove invested in the Self-Esteem Project, taking a different approach with their advertising from simply discussing the features of their soap.
- Tagline: A tagline is used to define a product or company while a slogan is used to define a certain campaign. A tagline usually lasts for a long time, while a slogan can be short lived or long lasting depending on its success. Nike’s famous slogan ‘Just do it’ is the embodiment of the hero archetype that inspired a positive feeling in the customer. The brand consistently creates standout products and maintains an inspiring brand voice that empowers its customers to be courageous and daring.
- Brand Style Guides: Powerful brands such as Apple, Starbucks and Netflix owe their success to consistency. Their visual presence alone dictates their unique and outstanding personality even without logos and names. Brand guidelines help all people who work across varying platforms to deliver a consistent-looking outcome.
A great example is Starbucks. The green siren logo is one of the most recognised logos in the world. Starbucks’ style guide is succinct, yet it thoroughly outlines the core branding elements for anyone who interacts with their brand.
In summary, the role of branding is to translate your company's mission, vision and values into a compelling brand Identity that authentically resonates with your customers, creating a powerful brand that builds a long-term relationship and provides revenue for years to come.
I hope you found this blog insightful and now have a stronger understanding of how brand, branding and brand identity work together to create a strong brand that connects with consumers.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how we can help you build your brand, contact us for an informal chat.