Branding 101

by: Kristy Lussier & Kyla Smith

Professionals may be well informed on a lot of business aspects about the industry in which they work, but many cannot define what their “brand” truly is. It’s a popular term that numerous marketing gurus and industry magazines discuss, but can be difficult to implement effectively with a new business. To truly build a strong brand for a company, the first, and most important question to ask is what does “brand” actually mean?

What is Branding?

A brand is a feature or set of features that distinguish one business or organization from another. A “visual” brand is typically comprised of a name, tagline, logo or symbol, design, and more. A brand “voice” also refers to the overall emotional and mental experience a client has when interacting with a business or company. 

Generally speaking, branding is the face of your company. It takes into account who you are as business and how your business creates positive interactions with clients. Basically, a brand is actually the entire identity and personality of your business.

Why is Branding Important?

This is the social media age. Consumers and clients are exposed to hundreds of brands every day. And while clients love to have a variety of options, they also do research to find the best brand fit for their own. More supply means a greater emphasis on branding to stand out among the rest. 

Businesses need to go the extra mile and invest in creating a strong brand that will get and keep people’s attention. The goal of branding is to link your identity, values, and personality with effective communication to your audience. Digital marketing and advertising are key ways to promoting your brand. If clients are happy with what you have to offer, they too will become your advocate and spread your brand through word of mouth, which is the most powerful form of marketing there is. Here are three key factors to keep in mind on why you branding is important: 

Branding Can Help Build Trust

Branding Creates Loyal Customers/Clients

More People Will Recognize Your Business

What is a Branding Strategy?

A brand strategy is a long-term plan that defines a company’s goals and ways to achieve them. Not only does brand strategy define “who” a company is, but who your customers are as well.

A strong and successful brand is the most important asset for a business or organization. Remember, it gives your company identity, makes your business memorable and creates customer loyalty. 

here are some key factors to consider In order to develop a successful brand strategy.

What is the purpose of the brand?

What problem does it solve?

Who will benefit the most from your brand?

How do you want clients to feel?

What is the story behind your brand?

What is the purpose of the brand?

What problem does it solve?

Who will benefit the most from your brand?

How do you want clients to feel?

What is the story behind your brand?

Once your company has identified a purpose or an objective for your brand, develop a mission statement reflects the company’s long term goals. All brand strategies should be guided by establishing this company vision, determining a target audience, creating consistency, and communicating emotion. 

Why is Branding Consistency Important?

The purpose of developing brand consistency is build trust with clients or customers. This creates a long term effect with the development of a relationship between the company and client. It solidifies customer loyalty. 

How you present your brand consistently is the company message or tag line, visual aesthetics, and tone. These should be recognizable and aligned for the long-term. Ensure your visual marketing is on-brand. Consistent brand aesthetic in the digital world builds authority and credibility for a target audience. One significant way to do this is to ensure photos and videos on a company website or social page evokes your the tone of brand. Consistent branding comes from consistent content creation. Use the company colors, text, and format that stick to brand guidelines.

What are Branding Guidelines?

Brand guidelines establish clear-cut rules for how a company logo, colors, and messaging are represented to an audience. These guidelines help build on that consistency for your brand identity. They serve as a reference point for marketing needs, website design, collateral material, and social media content. Brand guidelines bring value to the company to help craft a successful visual identity and tone of voice. Through recognition of the brand colors, fonts and design, clients feel a sense of emotional connection to your business. 

What Should a Brand Style Guide Include?

A practical style guide outlines how to create a variety of on-brand content. Style guides are often thought of as design-only. However, having the company mission statement, values and messaging included in the guide helps to understand how the brand looks and speaks. 

Company Mission Statement

Verbal Identity and Essence

  • Voice
  • Tone
  • Personality

Company Messaging

  • Tagline
  • Value Statement

Visual Identity

  • Logo
  • Colors
  • Typography
  • Additional elements (if needed)
    • Photography
    • Illustration
    • Iconography
    • Data visualization

With this outline, the company can start to flesh out their own guidelines. Focus on clarity and practicality when developing written copy and design statements.

And that’s Branding 101. Truly, branding is a crucial aspect that should be integral part of any company marketing plan. The brand strategy provides support and direction for the company or business. It states what the company’s position in the industry is and what makes it different from the rest. With the right personality, colors, voice, and actions for a brand, it will be that much more appealing for both future staff members and prospective clients. Follow the branding basics consistently? The results will show.

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