These days, branding gets a lot of buzz. However, I still come across many businesses that just don’t seem to grasp the full concept of branding.
I suspect this is the case because branding is a bit difficult to master. It’s an abstract concept made up of many parts and often looks different for every creative company.
But the truth is, branding will either drag your business down or allow it to soar.
So it’s paramount for every entrepreneur to set aside time to delve into forming and refining their brand identity.
Maybe you’re new to learning about branding, or maybe you’ve already covered some bases. Either way, I’m spelling out the nitty gritty of this critical notion to make it easy to understand.
As a brand designer, this is one of my favorite topics to talk about, so I hope you glean some helpful insights from today’s post on branding basics!
What is Branding?
Branding is SO much more than a color palette and a logo.
In essence, branding is the entire entity of a business—from the way it looks to the feelings surrounding it and everything in between. “A business” and “a brand” are interchangeable; in other words, if you have a business, you also have a brand.
Because it’s the totality of all of its elements, a business's “brand identity” will either be a jumbled conglomeration or one unified whole.
Entrepreneur.com sums up branding as, “Your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be, and who people perceive you to be.”
In summary, a brand is an experience. And your branding works together to create the experience that your audience encounters when interacting with your business in any way.
Keywords to Note: “Branding” is also often referred to as “brand identity,” “brand design,” and the verb “brand.” These terms are almost always synonymous.
Why Branding is Important
Branding is paramount for many reasons and can actually harm your business if not done well (or if neglected altogether).
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For example, a business’s branding should be like an engaging, well-built character in a story. The character has a distinct personality that readers grow to identify, predict, and know. (The audience will want to keep reading!) Contrast this with an undeveloped character that has no defined personality or role or one that continually changes. (This leaves the audience confused, agitated, and disinterested in reading further.)
Similarly, branding shouldn’t be overlooked. Instead, every effort should be made to enrich your business and build your brand experience.
A business has several main components: foundation and core, look, feel, and reputation. These offer countless opportunities to create a unified identity for your company.
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Here are 5 reasons why taking advantage of branding is so important:
1 // Branding is inevitable.
Branding a business isn't actually all that optional because an identity naturally forms by all of the elements blending together. The question becomes, is your branding put-together with intention or thrown-together without thought?
When someone encounters any part of your business, they will immediately start to form a perception of your overall brand.
This is because we take in and process the information that is given to us. Our brains naturally start to analyze and put things together in order to better understand, form an opinion, and grasp the full experience that something has to offer.
A creative business is no exception.
If your business is all over the place, people will begin to associate that with your business.
Instead of ending up with a miscellaneous compilation of random fragments, strive to create a brand identity that is carefully designed, intentional, strategic, predetermined, cohesive, guided, high quality, and professional.
Establishing unified branding across the board lets you determine how your business comes across. Aim to give your audience a lasting first impression that works in your favor.
2 // It can attract your ideal customer or client.
Branding is key in attracting your target market, and each element of your brand should be determined with your audience in mind.
From the colors, to the word choices, to the overall mood, your branding is the main powerhouse for appealing to those dream customers and clients that can’t wait to purchase what your business offers.
Branding allows you to connect with your audience, show them you understand their needs, and help them resonate with you.
3 // It shows your business’s core.
Branding takes the details of your business that you are bursting to share and brings them to the forefront.
As a brand designer, this is one of my favorite parts of creating the visual identity of a creative business: taking a close look at the foundation and driving force of a brand and then coming up with a unique way to let it shine. There’s something so satisfying about digging deep into the “why” and “what” of a business and transforming it into a visual design so people can see those underlying concepts with their eyes.
Through website layout, visuals, copywriting, packaging, and so on, there are endless ways to showcase the star qualities of your brand. Don’t miss out on utilizing branding to express your company’s core values and purpose.
4 // It sets you apart.
I always say that creating a one-of-a-kind business should be every entrepreneur's goal. And it just so happens that branding is the most pivotal way to make your business unique.
Each of the many facets of a creative business are an opportunity to develop your branding: the visual design elements, the written style and voice of your website and blog, the original spin of your products or services, the personality you express, the way you market your offerings, how you use social media, etc. all provide ways to be unique and one-of-a-kind.
5 // It establishes credibility.
Quality and cohesive branding highlights your business is the best possible light.
It shows that you know your stuff and that you run your business well. It demonstrates the effort you put into creating a memorable experience for your customers and clients.
Through professional and thorough branding, your audience will know you care about their needs and will see you as authentic. Building credibility around your business is critical for people to trust you enough to make a purchase or a booking.
All of these outcomes contribute to business growth, making branding quite important.
Branding gives personality, life, and dimension to a business and creates the overall experience your customers and clients talk about.
So be sure to take advantage of branding in all possible areas.
What areas of your branding do you want to focus on next? Does your business have a cohesive identity? What aspects of branding do you struggle with the most? Comment your thoughts below!