brand identity

What does Branding really mean?

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When the term branding enters a conversation, the word logo usually isn’t far behind. The words have become almost synonymous. Of course, branding is more than the creation of a company’s logo. So, what does branding really mean?

 

The Definition:

The term changes definitions depending upon whom you consult. For discussion’s sake, we’ll use the Business Dictionary’s version which states “[branding is] the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers' mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme.” Branding is the personality of a commodity. It’s the feelings and expectations that are connected to goods, services and even people based on lived experience and marketing efforts.

 

The Purpose & Importance:

Businesses use branding for numerous reasons including attracting new customers, securing loyalties, that result in repeat and longtime patrons, and to differentiate themselves from competitors.   

If a business is able to accomplish the above list, it’s safe to assume that it’s at least competitive. With effective branding, it may even be positioned well enough to charge more than market rivals. This increase in value is based largely on consumer perception and is referred to as brand equity. Judging a book, product or service by its metaphoric cover can be extremely advantageous for a company when public opinion is favorable.

 

How it’s Done:

Going back to our working definition that branding is the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product, person, or service, keep in mind that there are aspects of this cultivation which are entirely controllable. These include, but aren’t limited to, logos, color schemes, public statements, written communications, social media, packaging, websites, and advertisements. Marketing, public relations, and design firms spend their time becoming masters in these areas, so you may consider using a professional here. So often, companies with quality commodities and excellent reputations find themselves in with injured brands do to ill-advised marketing moves.

 

The Fairy and Cautionary Tales:

Most people are familiar with the controversial Pepsi campaign starring Kendall Jenner. During a time where clashes between Human Rights protestors and police were constantly in the media and the topic of much debate, Pepsi wanted to weigh in with a message of collaboration. Unfortunately, concerns of police brutality and violent discord were seemingly solved by Jenner handing an officer an ice-cold Pepsi. People were outraged for many reasons. Some felt Pepsi had made too light of serious matters, others railed against Pepsi using a national crisis as a means to sell more soda. Pepsi soon pulled the ad, apologized, and certainly learned from the branding debacle. The lesson here may be to align your brand with matters in the proximity of one’s wheelhouse.

Contrarily, one can take a devastating and embarrassing event like infidelity and use it to boost a brand. Beyoncé, upon discovering her famous husband was allegedly unfaithful, created an album cathartically working through her personal issues. Lemonade went on to become the highest-selling individual album of 2016 globally, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. The admission helped Beyoncé’s brand by reinforcing her image as a smart and incredibly powerful female force.

 

Questions to ask Yourself:

  • What message do you want your product or service to convey in the public’s mind?
  • What distinguishes your product or service from anything or anyone else on the market?
  • Are you consistently stacking up to public expectation?
  • In what ways (beyond performance) can you demonstrate that you are what you say you are?
  • Are you choosing marketing opportunities and strategies that align with your current brand identity?
     

These questions focus not only on what businesses say and do, but also on how people respond to those messages. In this way, branding is quite interactive. It’s not a business cultivating images of self that customers credulously accept, but a continuous dialogue between consumers and companies.


MARKETING & GRAPHIC DESIGN IN GREENSBORO

Starting a new business? Don’t dive in without a little help from the creative experts. From business card design and logos, to social media marketing, Hue & Tone Creative can help you connect with your customers and creating a lasting impression. 

5 Must Answer Questions for Any New Brand

5 MUST ANSWER QUESTIONS FOR ANY NEW BRAND  |  Hue & Tone Creative

It’s no secret, strong branding is one of the keys to successful marketing. In fact, 69% of marketers insist that branded content is more compelling than advertising through mail or PR.

When it comes to newer businesses, understanding your own brand will help set you apart from your more seasoned competitors. If you’re totally new to branding or you're just trying to figure out who "you" are, grab a note pad and answer these five essential questions.

 

1.    What’s your brand story?

From years of hard work to happy accident, every company and product gets its start somewhere. How did your brand get its start? Is there a story that’s uniquely yours? Think of ways to share your humble beginnings and make your company memorable.

 

2.    Describe your ideal customer?

The most important aspect of opening a business is finding and keeping leads. Taking the time to thoroughly research your target customer will help keep your brand’s aesthetic, feel, and marketing strategies aligned with the wants and needs of your audience.

Because no two customers are alike, we recommend creating personas for three different shoppers. Make detailed lists describing their: age, profession, income, hobbies, where they live, likes, dislikes, etc.

 

3.    What 5 words describe your brand?

In the early stages of branding, you can never make too make lists! We suggest brainstorming as many words or adjectives that you can think of that define you.

When you can’t think of any more, look over the words you came up with and whittle down your list until only the 5 most meaningful words remain.

 

4.    What product or services do you want to be known for?

77% of people choose a product because of its brand name. Think about that statistic the next time you reach for a Post-It or a Band-aid! 

Like Nike sneakers and Tazo tea, every successful business has a well-known product. When people hear the name of your brand, what will be the first thing they think of? 

It's important to define your signature product or services... before your customer defines it for you. 

 

5.    What brands do your customers love? 

This can include your direct competitors or brands that are completely unrelated to you. For example, if you’re opening an organic soy candle store, you may have customers that enjoy buying products from Whole Foods, Anthropologie, Etsy, or Earth Fare.

Check out what colors, words, and imagery they use to figure out where you'll fit in with your competition. 

 

Do you have more branding questions that we didn’t go over? Ask us in the comments!


Marketing & Graphic Design in Greensboro, NC & Beyond

Gearing up for the launch of a new product or business? Don’t dive in without a little help from the creative experts. From business card design and logos, to social media marketing, Hue & Tone Creative can help you connect with your customers and creating a lasting impression. 

Friday links: simple icons, presentation design and your business story

Hello Friday, once again! I'm looking forward to wrapping up work for the week and welcoming some friends to town for a visit. 

Hope you are looking forward to something fun over the weekend as well -- but until that happens, here are some links to get you through the rest of the work week.  

One | We'll start this week's roundup with a resource: this set of minimal social icons. Not too much, just enough. 

Two | Looking to create a logo? Here's a good set of tips -- accessible without being too basic. 

Three | These adorable black and gold patterns (my alma mater's colors!) are 100% free.

Four | Something a little different: a crash course in presentation design

Five | Veering away from design into business...and a topic I've thought about a lot: how to blend your personal story into your brand/business story.  

That's it for this week! Have a fabulous weekend and I'll see you again on Tuesday.  

Friday Links: State of graphic design and a few freebies

And just like that, it's Friday again. To help you transition from the weekday hustle to weekend relaxation (you really should relax) -- here are a few links I've been loving this week!  

State of graphic design and a few freebies -- Hue & Tone Creative

 One | I'm all about these (free!) hand-drawn vector stripes & patterns

Two | Here's a good cheat sheat on the file types you'll likely encounter in design work. 

Three | Another super-usable post: how to establish a brand identity for your small business. This is solid advice. 

Four | A little less resource-oriented & more on the "interesting to know" side: the state of graphic design in 2015. 

Five | We'll close this week with another freebie -- these gorgeous brushstroke vectors.  

This week's posts: 

This week's music: Spotify Morning Productivity playlist  

Have a great weekend! I'll see you here on the blog on Tuesday.