Branding is not that easily defined. Sure, there are many definitions for branding but branding is something that is emotive and subjective and not something that can easily be measured.
Brands and Branding
A brand is a set of expectations, memories, relationships and stories that if properly combined, make a buyer choose one service or product over another.
On the other hand, branding can be described as doing everything to influence the decision to actively choose your brand over another.
Types of Brands and Functions of Branding
When done right, a brand creates lasting awareness and remains, as we call it, ‘top-of-mind’, while creating trust and loyalty. It influences decisions, creates change, and ultimately grows market share. Brands like Coca-Cola, Apple, Nike, Google, Mercedes, and many more we all recognize and admire, have developed and maintained a very active and successful branding strategy. These companies understand the power of branding and they continually utilize their brand in every aspect of their business and marketing to create and maintain customer loyalty.
Brand vs Branding vs Identity
Not only does branding create the aforementioned values, but it also gives your business an identity. It establishes employee pride and loyalty and of course it enhances your business’s value.
You may think, well sure, it is important for these big brands like Coca Cola, but why is it important for my small local business that my clients already know? Your brand matters regardless of the size of your company and it matters even more for small businesses where there are often more buying options. Your brand influences every aspect of your customer's perceptions of your company. Branding builds trust, recognition, loyalty, and reputation.
What About Brand Names, Logos (and more…)?
So, we talked about the importance of a brand and branding, but what are the elements that you can control in order to have a great brand? There are essentially two types of brand elements, visual branding elements and non-visual brand elements. Let’s take a look at what these consist of.
Visual Elements of a Brand
- Well-known brand names like Levi’s, Kleenex, Hoover, Band-Aid, and many more, have even managed to associate their brand name directly with the product it represents. We all know exactly what it means when we say, pass me the Kleenex or I need a Band-Aid.
- A brand name could represent the founder’s vision or mission.
- Amazon’s Jeff Bezos renamed his company to Amazon for two reasons. The name starts with an A, so in any alphabetic directory the Amazon name will rank first. Moreover, the Amazon is the world’s largest river and Bezos aspired at that time to create the world’s largest bookstore.
- A further important element of your brand is your brand colours. Colour sets the mood of brand expression. Emotions are powerful and have the ability to drive decision making. You want to cultivate strong emotional connections with your customers and colours are needed to cultivate these emotions.
- Yellow, for example, creates happy, youthful, energetic and comforting emotions. No wonder McDonald’s chose the yellow arches as their brand icon.
- Next is the typography you use. Typography refers to the entire visual spectrum of text, which means it directly influences brand image. Messy, cluttered text that is difficult to read will to look unprofessional and will bog down the user experience.
- Some examples of well-chosen typography include Twitter, as they use a font called pico, all lower case. Energizer uses Helvetica but in oblique. Of course one of the most memorable typography choices is the Coca-Cola brand that uses the Spencerian script font.
- Of course, we all know that your logo is one of the main elements to your brand. A logo, or better said, the logo icon, is a symbol that conveys strong, universal values and ideas that make it immediately recognizable.
- Some well-known logo icons include the Nike swoosh, Disney’s Mickey Mouse ears, or the Apple apple.
Slogan and Tag Line
- A further important part of your brand could be a slogan or tag line. Not every brand has one but many do and they can be very effective.
- Think about “The Happiest Place on Earth”, “Just Do It”, “The Ultimate Driving Machine”, or “You’re in good hands”, and most of us will know exactly which brand is represented!
- Your website and any other branded marketing materials your product or service has is where all these visual brand elements come together. This could include things like packaging, music and sounds, and many more visual and audial elements.
Non-Visual Elements of a Brand
Some Non-visual elements forming part of your brand are your mission and vision statements.
- A Mission Statement is a way for a company to articulate who they are. It is a brief description of an organization’s purpose and how it serves audiences through the types of products or services it provides them with. It is the cause behind the brand!
- Google’s Mission Statement is “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. Kind of says it all don’t you think?
- Don’t confuse Mission with Vision Statement. The difference is that a mission statement describes what the company does on a day-to-day basis whereas a Vision Statement describes what a company wants to be in the future.
- For example: Google’s Vision Statement is “to provide access to the world’s information in one click”.
- A further example is Ikea’s Mission Statement: “to offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them”, whereas their Vision Statement is “To create a better everyday life for the many people”.
There are many other non-visual brand elements such as brand values, brand identity, brand story, brand voice and personality, and brand extensions.
The Importance of Branding for Brands
As you can tell, there is a lot that creates and influences a brand and branding. We at Thinkr help our clients develop, audit, or fine tune their brand and branding, which consists of addressing all the brand elements mentioned. A successful company understands the importance of branding and how all these elements, when developed and tuned right, will accelerate a company, and set it apart from its competitors. After all, he who has the most brand equity wins!