“Branding” is one of those terms that is widely used these days, yet often misunderstood. In fact, it goes way beyond just a logo or a color scheme. Most of the time, branding is based on creating a long-lasting feeling, emotion, and overall experience that you provide to your customers. All of those elements collide to provide the ideas that connect customers to your brand, and how you relate to them in daily life.
Personally, we love thinking of branding as a critical promise that you made to your consumers. And to achieve that, your brand must be associated with a series of emotions & perceptions matching with visual & verbal cues. This would include communication messages, images across all platforms. Thinking of branding this way helps business owners feel much simpler to visualize what they have to do. Branding is similar to playing puzzles, where you put together pieces to make up a much larger picture.
Now, once we’ve settled quite a bit, let’s take a closer look at branding. From knowing the term to the reasons you need to incorporate it into your marketing plan and many more. Let’s all find out!
Get to know the term “branding”
Before jumping into further details of branding, we must understand the term first. Like we’ve mentioned above, branding might seem like a simple idea, which is creating emotion among customers. However, it’s really hard to define. Currently, branding is the combination of research, development and applying some unique features to your business. From all of those, customers feel relatable among your brand and products. Branding is emotive, subjective, and nearly nowhere near being able to measure. The concept of branding varies among businesses & consumers.
However, if we trace back and get to know what a brand is, you’ll have a better vision of branding. According to Seth Godin, “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another”. Therefore, branding is everything your brand must do to actively influence all of the above. About how to tackle each of those, we’ll get to that later.
Why does your business need branding?
As business owners, you must have studied the market quite well before starting, right? If you haven’t then done it immediately. But if you’ve already done it, then you know there are millions of other brands in the market. Without branding, it’s really easy to get lost among others, and literally have no foundation to grow. All you have is yourself, and a (finger crossed) good product.
As the market has already been way too saturated, to make an impression, your branding must be strong right off the bat. Effective branding is the only gateway to stand out and catch your consumers' attention. Once you do it right, you can notice its massive power to convince, inspire and change your business in a greater direction. But here are details of how branding can help you win the competition.
Set you apart from your rivals
This applies to all industries and markets, regardless of what yours is, the competition has never been easy. And how could customers tell if you are better than any of your competitors? It seems hard, if not extremely hard. That’s why good branding comes in handy. Branding allows you to pop out from the shelves and be unique options. It highlights all your good features, convinces consumers that you are bang for the bucks through the very first look & few scrolls.
Develop brand awareness
In simple terms, brand awareness is how aware people are of your brand. It also includes all the traits that they relate your brand to. To accomplish this, you won’t just need a name and a logo, but you have to create a connection between your brand, products, and the value it brings. Wanna know the difference between strong branding and weaker counterparts? Just see which brand makes them make a faster decision, even with choices provided. That’s the goal you’d want to achieve through branding.
Build brand trust
This term is much easier to understand since it already speaks for itself. Brand trust is how much your consumers believe in your brand and products? How well you keep your promises with customers, how good and solid-quality your products are. All of those work together to create a sense of trustworthiness to customers. In a Nielsen consumer research, nearly 25% of people feel confident using products of large businesses. To get brand trust, first, it’s vital to appear professional. But most importantly is to always keep your transparency and authenticity. Those are what encourage customers to keep believing and supporting your brand.
Establish brand loyalty
Branding feels like a step-by-step journey at this moment, right? To be honest, it’s not wrong. Once you achieve brand awareness and trust to a certain level, you’ll have loyalty. Brand loyalty is simply doing things that make your customers keep coming back for you. The more they connect to you in all channels, the higher chance they’ll re-buy from you.
If you still can’t define brand loyalty in detail, then let us give you a small example. Whenever you need to search for something, are you heading to Google or Bing without any second thought? That’s how brand loyalty works. However, you can’t build brand loyalty within a day. It requires consistency in branding, with communication messages and every other element.
Boost your brand value
Whether big or small, every brand has its own equity. This consists of your financial value, and market worth, which all relies somehow on branding. Your business growth is always relevant to your branding. And as long as you’re doing well with your branding, you’ll see the rises in your sales trend, number of customers,… Moreover, good branding along with great business revenue can lead you to potential investors for further development.
There are many types of branding!
There is no perfect recipe for branding, in particular, you’ll need to figure out which fits your business better. As there are many different types of business, there is also a variety in branding. Each market requires a unique customer pattern, with different insights and needs, so you must choose your strategy wisely.
Instead of branding for just a product, this type of branding gives it to the entire company or corporation. In this way, the entire company is associated with a meaning, a promise, or a set of features in customers' minds. The best example for corporate branding is Apple, whose products are top-level in technology and unique design. You know you can always trust their devices since they are branding their company as a whole. So every product they release would strictly align with their core promises.
This could be the most common type of branding since it concentrates on a single product rather than a whole company. The top-tier level of product branding is to make the name attached to a product so much that people begin to use the brand name instead. That’s how “Kleenex” is now even more popular than “tissues” or the same thing happened to Girl Scout Cookies.
While the two above focus on company and products, personal branding is a bit different. This is when you create a brand that sticks to one person, which is what most celebrities, politicians, and other public figures do. By investing in their personal branding, they can generate benefits and great profits. A great example of personal branding could either be Gary Vee, Jack Ma, Steve Jobs, and many more!
This type of branding is specific to 2 companies that work together to create a joint product or service. This doesn’t necessarily mean offering a completely new product, it could also mean you can now get the experience of one on a different platform. This type of branding is very popular in the service or fashion industry where companies collaborate with celebrities, or with another brand to create a greater buzz.
If you’re in the tourism area and selling products related to the region, then geographical branding might be the thing. By taking advantage of the popularity and uniqueness of one location and attaching your brand to it, you’re upgrading your selling point as well. And once the branding is done right, you could even turn your brand/ product into a local specialty.
What are critical branding elements?
Branding is a fascinating journey since you’re targeting emotive features of users through strategic planning. However, along the way, it must have the join of creativity and uniqueness. As there are too many branding elements to think of, here we have quite a decent guide for you to begin with. We’ve split it into visual & non-visual elements.
Visual branding elements
The digital age needs a digital solution, and nothing better than a trusty website. It’s now an essential branding asset thus a vital part of your online presence. No matter which industry you’re in, including a website in your branding strategy is always the best option. A website is also where you showcase your product, generate leads, attract new users and inform customers of all kinds. With website design, keep in mind that being sleek, clean, and easy to understand is the go-to for the most market. It’s your online store-front, so do it well and keep it consistent with your brand identity. Don’t forget to add a blog section, since this not only serves communication, but also search results.
When talking about branding, many would misunderstand that a logo is enough. In fact, it’s just a piece of the massive puzzle, but we couldn't deny that it’s a vital part. Your brand logo could be symbolic or using just typography, or both depending on how you want it to be. However, in any way, it should be memorable, adaptive, and easy to recognize. Every detail of your brand must match the entire brand identity, and speak out your brand message.
No pressure here, but the brand name is as important as a logo. Which means deciding this is not easy at all. Not only does your brand name specify who you are, what you do, but it must be easy to remember, easy to understand, and aesthetically pleasing as well.
Well since it’s a tough challenge, we could only advise you to stick to something unique, but easy to read & recognize.
We’re living in a digital world, but that does not mean there is no physical contact. So the business card is still an important visual branding element. Especially with the service industry, the business card still hits really hard when it comes to a good impression. Not only must it align with your brand identity, but a business card is also a perfect chance to build connections. From our point of view, business cards are a professional and friendly way to remind partners and customers of your brand.
Color can create a massive impact on users' psychology, and the palette you choose will go a long journey with your brand. So this needs more investment of effort than just choosing the color that pops. You’ll have to consider how your brand color looks in different spaces, online & offline. How it reacts to light sources, night vision, and relevant details if you’ll have out-of-home material. How it displays and comprehends other colors in the digital world, it’s all matters. Color can convey messages, triggers emotions, and overall affect customers' thoughts, so taking a little bit more time here is better.
Non- visual branding elements
A catchy and profound slogan is an extremely powerful branding & marketing tool. Just a few words to instantly make people remember your brand, that’s absolutely no easy task. Even the large brands took a lot of time and effort to come up with the perfect slogan, so you don’t have to rush your process. If you need a great example of the incredible slogan, then take Nike’s “Just Do it” or Apple’s “Think different”. When well-executed, a slogan is a sharp weapon for every brand.
Don’t just show, tell people more about your brand. A mission statement serves to express your brand purpose and brand values. It’s here to let anyone who encounters your brand clearly understand what you’re all about. It’s the explanation for a “why” you are doing what you are doing. And in any circumstance, be authentic here.
Like a mission statement, your vision statement is a clear and concise outline of your strategic business goals. It is a roadmap to guide the initial stages of your brand development while shaping the future of your brand. Brand vision can evolve and grow along with your business, but should always remain consistent with your core values.
We all love to hear or read great stories. Storytelling is an important part of branding and communication for brands as it keeps users engaging. And until the end, stories are all made to build connection and emotion, that’s why it’s crucial with branding. Your brand story should set the tone & mood for all of your content. From social media posts, product descriptions, marketing messages, and everything among them all.
Over to you
Now you’ve known all the necessities of branding, it’s time to work on it. Don’t forget to think about the values behind your brand, your mission, and where you want this journey to lead. Stay real, stay excited about your journey ahead, and you’re all set! Ready for the first branding asset? Contact Socialectric for your new website design!