One of the key services we offer is branding. Whether it’s for a startup, rebranding an established business, or branding an event, the importance of good solid branding has never been more relevant. Here we’ll run through the basics on what branding is, and some useful tips on how to brand successfully.

What is branding and why is it important?

Can you imagine a world without branding? As long as humans have been sharing and trading, some form of ‘branding’ has been there to communicate the differences. Without branding an item is void of personality and doesn’t hold values or promises. Without branding a car is neither known as fast or safe, it’s just a car. Branding will influence every aspect of your business. Every touchpoint and every experience creates an expression and impression, be it visual, verbal, tactile, or written, which forms a perceived image of your brand.

A successfully branded company will have many advantages, it will help differentiate and elevate your business from your competitors and help improve and define the company’s core values to its consumers. Simply, by creating a solid brand and a business that delivers on expectations, you are more likely to have customers wanting your product/service over others.

Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room

Jeff Bezos

The difference between a brand, identity and a logo

Brand (experience) – The sum of all expressions by which it intends to be recognised

A brand is not just one thing, it is the sum of all expressions of a company. This includes the personality and the entire emotional image of the business. How it looks, how it talks, what the values are and the overall character. A brand is formed on how it is perceived so it is important to determine how you want to be recognised to have some control. To define your brand you should outline the vision (where do you see the company in the future, what is the long term vision), the mission (what is the purpose of the company) and the values (what values does the company hold) as a start.

Visual identity (system) – Visual aspects that form part of the overall brand

The visual identity is all the visual components that are used within a company. The visual identity represents the company and shapes the image of the company. This includes the logo, stationery, marketing collateral, signage etc. The visual identity design is created and upheld by using a set of guidelines, such as what fonts, colour palette, graphic elements, layouts etc. to use.

Logo – Identifies the entity in its simplest form

The logo is there to identify the business in its simplest form using a word mark and/or brand mark. Your logo is not your brand, but it forms an important part in establishing the business image.

Some useful tips

Be authentic

The Internet has made a huge difference in how brands operate, bringing both challenges and great effects. Internet savvy consumers can quickly find the information they need, and shape and spread the information they find. It’s maybe not surprising to see that word-of-mouth and social media are more trusted over traditional advertising these days. Consumers are simply more skeptical than ever before. In order to “win” their trust you need to be true to your values. By being real, honest and open you can transform your corporate values into brand loyalty. But you will need to prove it. You can’t just say it; you have to do what you say. Proof is in the pudding.

Storytelling

A brand not only needs to have an appropriate appearance and personality, but it also needs to have a story to tell, a story that is exciting and engaging. By having a story to tell you gain the opportunity for a brand to build relationships with the consumer and to connect on a deeper level. Story telling has that ability to create emotional connections, and this is very powerful. It can transcend a product or service into becoming a brand that is recognized and remembered, and hence being a key element in purchase decision-making.

Tapping into emotions

We are all emotional beings and we have emotional relationships with brands we trust. Designers need to make that happen. A designer must take the values and assets of a company and transform them in a special way that connects with people emotionally.

Robert Brunner

Design consistency

Design consistency has never been more important, or challenging for brands. But the principle hasn’t changed and the basics are pretty simple. Design consistency means to follow the guidelines, make sure the look and feel is consistent and that the design is kept coherent across all touch-points. Furthermore, it is important to keep a close watch over the brand image to make sure there is a high level of design integrity. This will in turn allow the brand to be positively recognised.

If the company logo is stretched or pixilated, if fonts are used inconsistently and inappropriately, it sends a message, and not the message you want people to experience. If a company doesn’t care about their image, if they don’t understand the importance of design integrity, what else don’t they care about? If your brand is inconsistent, you will start to lose trust. And trust means loyalty. And loyalty means returning customers.

Expectations

A great brand is only great if it can consistently deliver on expectations. It is the business cohesive philosophy and the business promise to its consumers that becomes the expectation.

When a Brands value, i.e. promise, and consumer expectations are the same – the brand will hold a strong value for both parties. When branding is strong and clear, the brand will hold a stronger position in consumer’s minds – and therefore they are more likely to choose it. If you deliver successfully here you are more likely to have returning customer, which is fundamental in relationship building to strengthen your brands impact.