Here at Browndog we’re no stranger to developing highly successful brands from concept to creation, for over twenty years. The process of uncovering how a product or service is perceived by its buyer and how that translates into the assets that we use to build a brand identity and individual campaigns is one that has been perfected over time.
We often find that when first talking to clients there can be some confusion and blurring between the nuance that is brand, branding and brand identity. So we’ve decided to share a series of blogs discussing branding in more detail, straight from our designers! Throughout this series of blogs you can expect to read about the practical aspects of branding; the theory and psychology behind the process, as well as the creative side. Of course we’ll intersperse the series with a plethora of our favourite work examples from over the years to give you a full understanding of exactly what we mean with each bit of terminology!
What is a Brand?
A brand is a person’s perception, feeling, or idea of a product, service, experience or organisation. It is an intangible emotional connection between a company and its customers. When we talk about brands the first thing that normally comes to mind is a logo, and whilst a logo is a key component of a brand’s visual identity, there is a lot more to building a successful brand than the tangible elements.
A strong brand is essential because it is the link between what you offer as a product or service, and what customers want and need. It is one of your most valuable assets.
What is Branding?
Branding is the process of influencing, moulding and shaping the perceptions and associations people have with your company. The actions you take will be determined by establishing what you want people to think of you as. It’s important to create a brand vision and a set of core values that resonate with your target audience, creating strong emotional connections. For example, if you are a bank one of your key values might be Honesty and Integrity, because these qualities will undoubtedly echo the needs of your potential customers. Your brand personality should focus around effectively communicating these values so they are reinforced in the mind of your customers at every opportunity.
Your branding strategy should include –
- Define who you are. If you’re not clear on who you are, your branding will not deliver a cohesive message. How do you want customers to actually perceive your brand?
- Understand your point of difference. Why should your customers choose you over the competition? Establishing a sustainable competitive advantage is essential in differentiating your brand from its competitors. Rather than a singular benefit that can rarely be maintained (price for example), it’s sensible to consider a combination of multiple benefits that are believable and can be proven.
- Create a brand mission statement. Your mission statement is your reason for existing.
- Create a set of values. What do you stand for? Your values will not only drive your internal strategy, they will also shape external communications and your Brand Identity, and also influence your culture and recruitment.
- Personality. Brand personality is how your brand would look and sound like if it were a person. Your personality should be engaging, consistent, unique, and evident across all touchpoints, creating a brand that is instantly recognisable.
- Define your perfect customer. When you build a brand it is essential that it appeals to your target audience, but an important part of that is knowing who those customers are. Build a profile of the perfect customer, and use it to drive your branding process. Remember that in trying to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no-one.
The key to successful branding is combining consistency and flexibility. You want to ensure that customers have a consistent experience across all brand touch points. This covers everything from how someone answers the telephone to the language used on your website. Going back to our bank example, it’s no good instilling trust and confidence in one communication, and contrasting that with bold and edgy messaging in another, that effectively dilutes that trust. Consistency drives brand recognition, but it’s also important for a brand to be flexible, enabling it to evolve, adapt to changing needs and market forces, appeal to new audiences, and change things that aren’t working.
What is Brand Identity?
Through the process of Branding you can begin to create a collection of tangible expressions, such as a logo, colour palette, typography, imagery and illustrations, tone of voice, etc. known as the Brand Identity. Each of these elements should be carefully considered to ensure they mirror your desired brand perception and appeal to your target audience. They should also be sufficiently unique so as to differentiate your brand from its competitors.
- Tone of voice. Think of your brand like a person. What do they sound like? Their personality will dictate other stylistic choices, such as your choice of typography, colours and imagery.
- Typography covers the fonts you choose, and how you use them. They also need to mirror your personality. Using a traditional serif font will communicate a totally different message to a handwritten font.
- Colour palette. Harnessing colour theory, the associations people have with particular colours, is a powerful strategy. Tapping into the emotions people have when they see certain colours can work to your advantage, and key into your brand values and personality.
- Illustration and imagery. Choosing the right imagery to represent your brand is critical. Used correctly they can evoke strong emotions and deepen the bond between your brand and your customers.
Brand, Branding, and Brand Identity are intrinsically linked. Without Branding, you have no Brand, and without Brand Identity you have nothing to communicate your Branding.