What Exactly Is Branding?
Everyone has been and will continue talking about it…from business articles to marketing books, on Instagram via influencers and entrepreneurs to big companies speaking about the why’s and how’s of their success. It’s BRANDING.
If you’re not sure about all-the-things connected to Branding, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Before I tell you exactly what branding is, let’s talk about what branding is NOT.
It is NOT only your logo.
It is NOT only your font choices and color palette.
Those things are part of your brand, but they make up one part of your brand called your Brand Identity. It’s the identifying look or mark of your brand that people recognize on sight.
My recommendation is to never start with your Brand Identity. I know lots of entrepreneurs who dive into crafting their logo first, and if that’s you, that’s ok! You always have a chance to go back and refine your brand.
Your brand strategy informs your design, so your logo, fonts and colors come a bit later in the process. So…what exactly IS branding?
There are four elements that will help you define your brand: Perception, Added Value, Connection and Experience.
You have a brand whether you realize it or not. Your brand is what people think about your business; it’s how they perceive it. Your brand perception is being formed constantly, with or without your input, by people interacting with your business. You can choose to help shape that perception – crafting a brand strategy and implementing it consistently – or you can leave it up to chance and mediocrity.
Consumers today are tuned in to what companies stand for and believe in. They’re not only interested in what you’re selling, but why you exist in the first place. Expressing the values of your business is a great way for your brand’s value perception to increase positively in the minds of consumers who also believe what you do.
Your brand lives and breathes for your audience and when you can connect with your audience in a relatable way, you win. Branding is about eliciting an emotional response from consumers that make them want to come back again and again.
Think about Disneyland for a second…do you think they connect with their audience by touting the number of rides they have at their theme parks? No. They pull on your heartstrings and tell you that coming to Disneyland is the equivalent of coming to The Happiest Place on Earth.
Once you’re able to connect with your audience on an emotional level, it creates an unforgettable experience. If you continue to deliver on this experience consistently, your audience will stick around and become fans of what you do. And, they’ll tell others about your brand, too.
IT’S A CUSTOM JOB EVERY TIME
There’s not just one way to build a brand. A brand, my definition, forms a unique perception about what it is and what it offers in consumers’ minds.
Your brand is not a cookie cutter that looks, feels, interacts and adds value like anyone else. Take the time to gain clarity on the why behind your business and what makes your brand special. Then, move forward to carve out your space in the market to resonate with your perfect audience.
That’s exactly what a good brand does.