What is a Brand?
First things first, what exactly is a brand?
See if this sounds familiar…you get an idea for a business and the juices start flowing and you’re so excited. The next thing you know you are down at Office Depot or maybe you’ve pulled up VistaPrint on your laptop, looking to get some business cards – and that leads you to thinking about logos.
The reason this story is familiar is that we all do it. I have done it on more than one occasion, so there is nothing wrong with getting excited and beginning to give some shape to your idea, but a logo or a business card won’t take you very far. This is often the only work people put into thinking about their brand. But it is much more than a logo!
FACT: Your brand is more than a logo, it is the sum total of how your customer experiences you in the marketplace.
If that is true, then just getting a $50 logo, slapping it around on a few business cards and saying you have a brand isn’t enough.
Jeff Bezos says:
“Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
This goes way beyond your logo.
Brand Development 101
In order to market ANYTHING – a service, a product, a person, an organization, or an idea – you must first define your brand. It’s the foundation upon which you’ll execute all of your marketing efforts and strategies.
A solid brand identity also plays a critical role in developing customer loyalty, customer retention, employee hiring and engagement, and gives a business a competitive advantage.
Related: Three Reasons Clarity is Crucial
Your brand definition serves as your blueprint when deciding any and all marketing efforts – from logo and business cards to advertising campaigns and events.
A logo is art that depicts your visual brand, so it can only be constructed AFTER you have done the work to define yourself. This process becomes more complex with bigger companies, but the basic elements are the same. You will need to understand the big questions about you and your business.
WHY we exist
- What motivates me
- What I want to accomplish
- What makes us stand out
- Why people should trust and choose us
WHO we serve
- I am obsessed with my ideal client/customer
- I know their demographics & psychographics
- I know what’s important, their needs & pain points
- I know where they hang out
WHAT we offer
- I am super clear on our thing: [name of product or service] is a [ ] to help others [ ].
- I know who it’s for/not for
- I know the good reasons to buy/not buy
- What it includes/doesn’t include
- How much it costs
HOW we want to be perceived
- Personality, tone & voice
- Messaging: how we will speak to audience
- Visual aesthetics: colors, fonts & logos
All of these elements come together to create a unique look and tone that you want your company to project to the world. As your company evolves over time, so too will your brand identity. However, you need to create a baseline – a profile that defines who you are – early in the game.
Brand, Branding & Brand Identity
As you are searching for information on brand building, you might get confused with the similar sounding language. Here are a few definitions:
- Brand: how people perceive your company.
- Branding: the actions you take to build a certain image of your company.
- Brand identity: the collection of tangible brand elements that together create one brand image.
As you grow, your brand does too, and you often have to rework how your brand is alligned with your goals. If you are wondering whether a rebrand makes sense fo your business, I would love to help you navigate that decision.