What exactly is branding?

September 9, 2020

Branding is the soul of your business. Some wise guy might butt in and ask, “isn’t it all about the logo, color schemes, and all of that fancy stuff? Squeeze her by the shoulder, calm the person down, and reiterate – branding is the soul.

The fundamentals of branding could be the most crucial lesson for small and mid-size enterprises. Startups and small businesses are playing in a different ball game to well-established players like large corporations. To them, branding is the be-all, end-all of their marketing campaigns. While big companies focus on polishing their existing image, startups are building a new brand from scratch. Regardless of how much you invest in marketing, all efforts will be in vain without a proper branding strategy – so why not start on the right foot?

Solid branding involves two primary considerations. You’ve got the visual side of things, such as colors, typography, images, and then, there’s the emotional aspect – your brand’s voice and how customers feel when they view your brand. Your brand should also stand out from the rest of the competition by staying committed to a mission/direction associated with positive actions or emotions. For example, Timberland focuses on environmental stewardship for over forty years and features wood and ground color themes in its brand (symbolizing nature). Before you begin promoting or selling a service or product, ask yourself, how would you like to be perceived by the buyer?

Answering the question above gives you a rough idea of your branding strategy. Remember, you don’t have the luxury of being a retail salesperson in the flesh to react according to your customer’s vibes. You’ll need to win your target crowd subtly, through strategic design and tonality. Are you sharing information as a concerned motherly figure? Or perhaps as a knowledgeable friend recommending meal choices on a casual Friday?

Regardless of the branding platform – be it social media, your official web page, or a mobile ad, you’ll need to make the audience feel a special connection with you.

How Can You Make Branding Work for You?

Always work with a branding guide. The guide serves as a detailed touchpoint that comprises your business’s visual elements (colors, logo, and the whole nine yards) core beliefs and identity – the elements of your brand. Your branding elements should be consistent in every facet of your campaigns. For example, you should use the same typeface and tone of voice with minimal deviation.

Style consistency builds confidence in your customers, which lead to meaningful and productive long-term relationships. Inconsistent branding shows indecisiveness, unprofessionalism, and could even breed doubt in your audience. (since you could say one thing now and switch your views entirely by tomorrow).


Branding is Storytelling 

Always sell an idea, story, or concept – never a product or service. The human mind loves stories, and branding should represent the unique story of your brand. Disney sells magical experiences and continues to do so after more than half a century of its inception. Subway promotes the notion of eating fresh in a world surrounded by the temptations of fried fast food. And the list goes on.

You’ll need to tell a consistent story and keep your audience interested by reinventing your brand seasonally and occasionally when necessary. Disney invented new characters and amusement rides over the years but held to the promise of providing enchanted experiences.

The greatest storytellers, such as Shakespeare or the Bronte sisters, are challenging to imitate. Why? Because they had unique voices. Students spent years studying their style just to capture the intricacies in their works. Perfect branding should have a similar standard – an interplay of carefully combined elements that makes it truly unique.

Branding in the Modern World of Marketing 

The Digital Age is relentless. Modern businesses need to create winning impressions at every juncture, or risk missing out on precious opportunities. Consumers can access mountains of information at the click of a button or tap on the screen. They won’t hesitate to move on to something better. Consumers can easily distinguish the brands that care and those that don’t.

Your brand identity is the personality of your business, its soul. Marketing is the body, the shell that is albeit nice to admire but offers no real attraction without what lies deep inside. Don’t lose customers from a lapse in your branding strategy. Give your marketing a boost with dedicated branding and elevate those ROIs.