This post comes from Charlie Antoine, an author in our series of guest bloggers. See the original post here.
You can't escape branding in today's modern era of marketing and advertising—it's everywhere. Logos adorn clothing, signage, building facades product packaging and websites. Organizations are constantly reminding their audiences that they are there and persistently trying to garner attention.
A brand, simply put, is an identifier to differentiate one business from another. It is often the most valuable intangible asset on a company’s balance sheet. Brands can also be organized into families – a network of parent and child brands. Whether you’re a startup developing what your brand will look like or an existing brand looking to reposition yourself, there are a number of aspects to consider. Let’s look at the key elements that make up a effective branding.
If you can imagine a brand as a person, what I call the “face” includes the trade name, logo, colors and possibly a jingle or slogan. The face is the physical representation of the brand. When designing your logo, considerations include: typeface, shapes, icons, hidden symbology (like the arrow in the FedEx logo) and colors. There has been a lot of research on the psychology of color in logos. According to this article by FastCompany, 84.7% of consumers cite color as a reason for buying a particular product.
The key is to be consistent with the look of the brand face. The colors and logo should appear on all marketing materials and the slogan should fit seamlessly into marketing messages. The logos and colors should reflect your brand promise and match consumers’ expectations of the brand.
The brand voice is made up of marketing communications and the tone in which it is delivered. Again, it is crucial to keep your brand voice consistent across all marketing channels. From email to your website to social media pages, you should always use the same tone of voice and style of language.
Positioning is how you differentiate your brand from others in the competitive landscape. Having a competitive advantage is essential to stand out from the crowd and increases your chance of being noticed and/or remembered. Tailor your branding strategy around the consumer’s point of view and answer these questions: What’s in it for them? Why should they buy my product vs. my competitor’s?
Your brand promise is what you are going to deliver to your customers—every time. Whether it’s stated in your mission statement or through your advertising message, this is what customers should expect when engaged with your brand. Generally, it is the experiences delivered through products or services.
Your consumers define your brand. For the most part, you can influence the impact consumers have on your brand identity by defining a target audience. Advocates of your brand contribute to the brand identity as a whole, affecting the overall perception to others. Consumers that have similar tastes tend to be loyal to the same brands. Therefore, choosing the right audience is important to attract others of a similar psychographic.
Just as important as the here and the now, brands that have been around long enough have a history to share. No matter how much the brand has evolved since its inception, everything that has happened has contributed to where it stands now. The story also establishes credibility and has the ability to tap into feelings of nostalgia.
As you can see, branding is more than just a logo; it is a reflection of a company or individual. All these elements should blend together to create a cohesive brand identity across all forms of media. It is best practice for your organization to put a style guide in place so that branding stays consistent and memorable. The average exposure to a brand is about 3 seconds at a time, so you want to make a lasting impression!
Do you agree with all of these brand elements? Share your thoughts in the comments below!