Speaking of elements of branding, we often see people come up with a logo or color scheme first. It’s easy to understand that visual elements of branding usually get the most attention, either on the shelves or on advertising. Yet there are so many more features that go together to fully develop a brand, and among those, we could leave non-visual elements behind.
A brand identity consists of many brand elements that formulate both visual, verbal, and strategic aspects. In other words, it’s not just the physical products with great visuals, it’s also the emotions and ideas consumers have about your business.
Ask yourself: What do people say, think, and feel about your business? That is your brand, and you have the ability to form that impression by choosing how you present yourself, your service, and/or your product. That’s why branding is way beyond just a logo or a tagline.
However, when searching for things further than visual elements of branding, nearly no one has raised their voice about it. In today’s article, let’s take a closer look at the verbal and strategic elements of branding.
Why is branding important?
Before getting into all the succulent elements of branding, we’ll get you around why it’s so crucial to a brand’s life. A brand is its own asset, it controls and drives all your marketing activities and generates customers at the same time. A good brand creates emotions and recognition from consumers. Branding is when you putting effort into different yourself from the competitors. The health of a brand is counting through campaigns, customers loyalty, and its authenticity. And here are some of the most critical ways of how branding could empower your business:
A powerful boost for marketing campaigns:
Branding is the key driving force behind almost every marketing campaign. It keeps the whole project moving forward, and works as a spine for all marketing activities. Good branding acts like a solid foundation, from which creative campaigns can elevate their effectiveness.
Increases team member involvement:
Just think of Apple or Google, do you want to be a part of such an empire? The answer would be absolutely yes. Incredible branding can attract high-quality applicants and strengthen the team. Moreover, branding makes the team take pride in their job and their current roles, which has also proven to boost a company’s performance.
Guides consumer spending:
People always seeking products that are the most bang for their bucks. And sometimes, the thing that bangs is powerful branding. People can associate good branding brands with quality and equivalent prices. That’s why an Ipad is on top of its market, and people still craving it.
Creates or builds upon a company persona:
Branding, through all of its elements, shapes the face and vision of your business. It creates a strong connection with customers where trust and love were built. And yes, the more consumers trust you, the better your sales point would be!
Non-visual elements of branding: what are they?
Now that you’ve got all the basics knowledge about branding in hand, let’s get to know all the verbal and strategic elements. We’ve already had an article about visual elements of branding, make sure you check it out here. But for now, let’s dive in with the non-visual ones.
1. Brand name
The brand name is the words or phrases that call out your identity or concept of the entire brand. At first, look, choosing a brand name is not a hard task. But once we look deep into the psychological effect of some of the largest brands, then naming is a massive problem. It has to be simple enough to remember, yet it must set your brand apart from others. It should be unique, yet could be easy to adapt into normal daily languages. And as your business grows, a brand name, even with only one word, can be worth millions. So choosing a brand name that could be legendary someday turns out to be the hardest.
2. Tagline/ Slogan
Without any hesitation, a tagline is always a must-have element of branding. It goes along with your logo to complete the first step of brand awareness. A tagline, also call a slogan or catchphrase, is developed to catch customers' attention. And some of them are truly successful in stating the brand position in customers' minds for years. For example, Nike’s “Just do it” of Bounty’s “The Quicker Picker Upper” has been around for years. A great tagline can evoke emotion, thoughts, and impressions about a brand, and it should stay for the long run.
3. Brand Personality
Don’t build your brand to look like a system, customers love ones that have stand-out personalities. It makes your brand more humane, and can easily create connections with customers. You know how the coolest friends are ones with poping characteristics, right? It’s just the same for brands.
Crafting up a brand personality is a must to every branding process since it helps separate you from others. Don’t just be some random brands customers see on the shelves, be THE BRAND they specifically talk about with their friends or family. One of the first steps you should take when creating a brand personality is to go for competitor research. Only then you could know what would you want customers to think of when they think of you. You could be warm-hearted, witty or humorous, anything. Then, when you have a solid idea of your personality, commit to it and regularly communicate with it.
4. Brand Voice
As you’ve already worked out your brand personality, it’s the voice and tone that come next. In other words, this is how you use your personality with your communication effort across channels. Your voice should complement your identity, be unique and create curiosity in customers. It should be recognized easily among your competitors just as any other element.
In the making of your brand voice, imagine you’re speaking to a friend with the listing personality traits of your brand. What do they sound like, what kind of word would they use? Will they be thoughtful, serious, or comforting? Could they be a bit playful here and there? Think of your brand as a human, and see how they express emotion and information. Once you fulfill this task, the brand voice will go with you for the long run and helps express your brand identity clearer.
5. Creative message
You’ve heard so much about communicate with customers, but there is one huge question left. How do you apply and do that with your brand? First, we highly recommend you to have a great brand story, to begin with. The story is super effective to catch people’s attention and creating emotions. Don’t just tell how good your products are, show them the story of how you make it, how your team thinks of it and how you better it every day. Tell a story they haven’t known about the industry, the problems you are facing, the new things you’re developing. Don’t give them dry messages, give them a good story to engage with.
After having your brand story, think of the following:
A mission statement is there to define why you are doing what you are doing, and the impact you want to make. It must be consistent with your brand story and must show what you are aiming at. This message must then be applied to all of your communication efforts, on your webpage, on products, social media, everything. One small tip for you is to always concentrate on your customers. Make your mission to provide or solve their problems, since, at the end of the day, customers are the core of any business.
Although it seems similar to a mission statement, the vision statement is actually what you want to achieve in the long term. It shows your vision of how the brand will look in the next 5 or 10 years, or even longer. It defines the direction for all the plans & execution around the brand products and services.
While settling a vision for your company, we always advise you to be a bit more ambitious. A great, but realistic goal will help drive the business further and motivate both your team and audiences.
6. Brand Guidelines
To bring all of the above elements, along with visual elements of banding together, you’ll need a brand guideline. Yes, it sounds really complicated. But in general, the brand guideline is there to set the rules of how things work for your brand.
A brand guideline will all information about your brand identity, acceptable uses of your logo, the written traits of your brand voice, your company vision and mission. Anything related to branding shall be listed in your brand guideline, and it tells how you use them in almost every communication case. Brand guidelines are the thing you keep for internal uses only and are the guidelines for marketing every brand and business.
7. Brand Strategy
Once you have a brand identity set up, it’s time to come up with a good strategy. A brand doesn’t grow on its own, it needs a plan. A brand strategy determines the who, what, where, when, and how you communicate your brand messages.
Your brand strategy should consist of 4 things: target audience, brand positioning, creative messaging, and brand marketing.
How to build a brand:
We’ve walked you through the basic elements of branding. Now it’s time you take out your notebook and jot down these important steps. Branding is a continuous process, and it will last as long as your brand does. So these steps will always be helpful on your upcoming journey:
1. Determine your target audience
Before anything else, you must know who you are communicating with. Understand your customers not only help you design your messages better, but also improve your marketing efforts. If your brand doesn’t resonate with your audience, it won’t lead to that awareness, recognition, or anything.
So first, you must understand who you are speaking to. Who will you serve and who will use your products? Who is your ideal customer, and whom you could reach in advance? Who are they and what do they like or dislike?
2. Establish your mission statement
Remember we’ve said your mission and vision statement is really important? We are completely serious about that. Before you try to build anything, you have to let people know what your business provides and what you’re aiming at. Then, every part of your brand (visual or verbal) can reflect that mission and vision.
3. Define your unique values, qualities, and benefits
This is the step when you should start analyzing your competitors. And once you’ve gathered enough information about the industry and niche, it’s time to focus on your brand. Are there any traits no one else has that you have? What quality, values, or benefits set you above others. Take some time to note down all of those, from products, materials, services, everything. Base on this note, your brand shall be built to be different from others.
4. Create your visual assets
Once everything of the strategic part has settled, we’re getting to a much more exciting part – the visuals.
At this point, you should understand your target audience, your mission statement, and the unique qualities that make up your business. We’re talking about the logo, color palette, typography, imagery, and others. Each of those elements of branding will come together to form your brand guideline, so you should pay close attention to every detail.
5. Put your branding to work
Things are all set, now let make the magic happen. Publish it through communication methods and stay consistent with what you’ve done, and you are ready to go.
Don’t use anything but your defined assets in your brand guidelines. Website is a critical part of your brand identity, so it must stay strictly close to your assets, both visual and non-visual. Nevertheless, be sure that all content on your website reflects your brand voice.
Once again, all content must show your brand characteristic and align with your identity. It’s 2021, and it’s the age of digital and social media. Every photo, video, every caption you put there must serve your brand identity and attracts people’s attention.
If you have a physical products business, your product is probably the most tangible way that customers interact with your brand. For that reason, your packaging should reflect your new branding — in its design, colors, size, and feel.
Ready. Set. Go!
Branding is a journey, and it starts with understanding all the verbal and visual elements of branding. By all means, we all want to create that intangible feeling your customers have when they interact with your brand. So by implying all the elements we’ve listed down above, along with instruction and guidance, we hope you are now ready to start your own journey.