What is Branding? Understanding the Scope for a Unique Brand Identity
‘What is branding? Why is it so important? Do we really need it?’ Only if every brand designer had a penny for every time he/she was asked that question.
For businesses, branding gives recognition, identity, and value - the three qualities that set them apart from their sea of competitors.
Perfectly balanced on the pillars of skill, creativity, and strategy, a brand offers a business the power to create a story that offers customers an insight into the service providers that builds trust and emotional connection.
In this blog, we will answer the burning question - ‘What is Branding?’, clear some misconceptions and help businesses, corporates, and solopreneurs understand the power of building a brand.
What is Branding?
It is about building and maintaining a business's reputation.
As a new (or seasoned) business owner, you have a great product idea and have figured out the solution it will offer your customers/users.
Now comes the important aspect of telling your customers who you really are.
Branding is an essential part of the business that helps convey your ideas to customers and influence them to consider your product/solution/service.
While every customer WILL have a different perception about your business, good brand identity will help bridge the gap between your original messaging and their perception.
Branding or creating a brand identity is the face of your business and frankly, has a tremendous influence - both positive and negative. No pressure!
However, it is important to note that brand identity is not all creative but includes people, activities, and much more.
Without further ado, let's dive in.
Common branding misconceptions
We now have a fair idea about what branding is.
It is time to clarify a few misconceptions and understand this curious case of mistaken identity.
Why Should You Invest in Branding?
The concept of branding must have been created for a reason. We think that it is to help you model perceptions and improve your engagement and invariably, your bottom line.
The following points elaborate on why you should invest in branding.
1. Simplifies Marketing
These days, a brand can be viewed from multiple directions, social media, applications, prints, advertisements, and so much more. As a result, marketing needs to be extremely responsive to all these platforms.
This is where branding comes in. A good brand design and identity creates a structure for the marketing efforts to design their campaigns. Instead of considering it ‘just logo work’, marketing can gain insights, channel visions, dive into customer preferences, and leverage the power of visuals to drive the message.
This will help brands forgo their rigidity when it comes to representation on multiple platforms, as well as command attention from the consumers (who have a very short attention span)
Branding also decides the core message of the business. Having that in place helps marketers create original yet relative campaigns without the need to recalibrate their marketing efforts.
If you don’t believe us, as per a report almost 77% of marketers agree that a strong brand is a game-changer for business development.
2. Creating a Company/Service/Product Recall
We have heard of the phrase - “out of sight, out of mind’. Businesses with no brand identity in place are more likely to be lost in the sea of competitors.
Creating a brand identity will give the amorphous visual language of a business the recall or recognition value - which means that your customers will be able to recognize your brand without your business name or other identifiers.
Did we mention that having a brand-aided recall value will also offer you a competitive advantage?
3. Close Premium Deals
We will reiterate - branding is about building a reputation and representation. A good reputation has a large clientele since people trust the company and more likely to make an extra investment than lose it all on a subpar partner..
Branding helps break the clutter and offers you an edge above your competitors by raising your credibility and giving you the power to charge premium rates.
After all, people don’t buy products, they buy brands.
4. Boost Value
We have already discussed that branding simplifies marketing, increases brand recalls, and empowers businesses to close premium deals.
In addition to these, having a stellar brand identity works very well in improving engagement and in the case of public stock, improving its share value.
In fact, Global Banking & Finance Review emphasizes the importance of branding. Around 82% of investors consider brand recognition to be vital for their investment decisions.
Step by Step Branding Methodology
Creating a brand identity is a multi-step process, comprising different elements. Here’s a step-by-step insight into building a brand
1. Charting a Brand Strategy
A brand strategy is a plan that encompasses the target audience, current position in the market, and the message you seek to convey to your users via your brand.
Before you chart a strategy, it is important for all stakeholders to have a collective goal or vision. Brainstorming and workshops are a great way to get all thoughts together and build a strong brand sans conflicts.
Once the common tone is set, it is time to dive into understanding what the brand stands for. A new brand needs to figure out its core message that will drive customers and existing brands, who are looking to reinvigorate, need to do a deep dive into their ‘element’. This element is the differentiation factor and what once lured customers in.
Once the core has been realized, your brand strategy should include the following:
Awareness: Your plans around building the brand awareness
Recognition: Collaterals and ideas that will help consumers recognize your brand.
Engagement: A combination of surprise element and familiarity. The representation of the brand will help improve engagement and interaction by the customers.
Attachment: The final touch where the consumer is of utmost loyal to the brand.
4th - Lowest Rung - Satisfaction: Understanding if your customers are satisfied with your brand
3rd Rung - Delight: Adding the element of surprise and happiness for your customers
2nd Rung - Engagement: A combination of trust, relevance, resonance and loyalty. Your customers will now be attached emotionally to your brand.
Top Rung - Empowerment: Establishing a brand's importance. Creating a recognition value where you consumers don’t look at other options.
2. Understanding the Audience
Understanding your audience is the battle half won. If your brand is unable to communicate with your targeted users, there are chances that the domino of awareness, recognition, engagement, and attachment will collapse.
You can build unique customer personas and targeted clientele via the following methods:
Do a deep research about the said customer personas
Try understanding the solution your target audience is looking for.
Assess how and where your customer persona interacts or can interact with your brand.
Add a personal touch by creating surprise/delightful moments for your customers while addressing their pain points.
Having the inside scoop will help you create a more specific and targeted brand identity.
3. Crafting Brand Persona
These are characteristics that make your offering unique. It is akin to giving your business a personality and semblance to a human.
While crafting a brand persona, you need to zero in on the industry, the mission of the company, the context, and the benefits of your product/service.
For instance, while we were building a brand identity for a transportation enabling solution, Yulu, we wanted to portray a brand that offered last-mile connectivity, emphasized on a healthy way of living, and encouraged ecological practices.
Hence, our brand ethos for Yulu was sustainability, innovation, and connectivity.
Your business too can have unique characteristics that will help it stand out.
4. Brand Positioning
Brand positioning is all about the space the brand occupies in every individual customer’s mind. This space can be based on the comparison to its competitors, the problem it solves, or maybe both.
The key to locking down on the brand’s right and profitable position is determining the sweet spot it will occupy in the consumer’s perception.
If it's a new brand, then a detailed study about the product or the service/solution will hold the answers. Determining the offerings can help brand designers chart out the message it should ideally deliver and build a strong recall value.
On the other hand, if the brand needs to be revitalized, it is a good idea to retrace the steps and dive into its initial days.
Move along the timeline and see where it witnessed success and recognition. Instead of reinventing the wheel, these milestones will give the old ideas a modern twist (no, we are not talking about copying here).
Since new campaigns, trends and multiple ideas have made the waters a bit murky, this will bring back the authenticity and true messaging of the brand from the dead and reposition itself more clearly in the customer’s mind.
6. Brand Identity
A collation of elements that helps create a brand image is what can be described as a brand identity. Your brand identity answers the following questions:
What does your brand do?
What are its beliefs?
What is its persona?
Who is the target audience?
How do you want your business to be perceived by your customers?
What is your brand’s USP?
For instance, if you are building a vegan food brand, your identity will comprise of
Core offering: Vegan food products.
Values: Clean, healthy, and cruelty free
Persona (adherence to the values): Health-conscious, Animal Lover, Ecologically Conscious, Calm
Target Audience: Vegans, those trying veganism, health-conscious and ecologically aware.
USP: Providing tasty, nutritious, ethically sourced, and easy to prepare vegan food products.
7. Drawing a Visual Language
As we speak about creating a brand tone, your visual language has the ability to strengthen your brand's tone and positioning.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, effective visual language simplifies and amplifies complex messaging, sets the context, and creates the relatability factor in the consumer’s mind.
Following are the elements that make a comprehensive visual language:
I. Designing a Logo
A logo is one of the most important elements of your business's visual identity. While designing a logo, the designer charts a long and detailed analysis of what the brand stands for, its benefits, and the emotion it evokes. This is the logo that will drive your brand messaging across all mediums.
Your logo is the first thing anyone notices about your brand. Needless to say, a logo is crucial for establishing a good first impression. A well-designed logo is simple, unique, extremely relatable, and highly responsive to different formats - right from a 16-pixel favicon to a billboard and able to hold your audience’s attention for at least 10 seconds.
We designed the logo for a hydroponic farm: Growing Goodness, keeping in mind what the brand stands for.
II. The Color Palette
Did you know that color has a huge role to play in your branding success?
Colors have been hardwired into the human brain and the impact it has on human emotions is something every brand must leverage. For instance, yellow is associated with optimism, while the hue green offers a soothing effect to our minds and eyes.
The psychology of color yields a heavy impact on brands and this is why it is important for businesses and concept creators to connect color with the messaging.
It is very important to choose your types (or fonts) very carefully as it sets the tone of your brand.
For instance, serif fonts like the Times New Roman are great to portray a feeling of trust and authority. On the other hand, more rounded forms can lend a playful & friendly vibe to your brand.
For our client, The Lighthouse Farming Experiment, we used a strong serif paired with bold stencils to help tell the story of empowering marginalised farming communities in the villages of India.
This is the final step, but we are far from done.
Collating the elements together is the first half of the battle.
The second half comprises ensuring that your elements are working the way they should and demonstrate consistency in every representation of the brand.
For instance, does the choice of your color work equally well on both print and digital format? Does the type work well in different formats? Is your brand responsive to different platforms?
The answers to these questions lie in testing. Consistent testing of every element in different scenarios and formats lays the ground for a complete brand representation and the final implementation.
However, it is important to keep in mind that brand implementation is not about having rigid frameworks but a fluid guidance system that allows brand designers to implement their ideas but also tweak them to fit the larger picture.
One of the ways to ensure acceptance from your team is to make sure they are also involved in the branding process in some capacity. Making sure all your employees are trained to use your branded assets, tone and voice will go a long way in ensuring your efforts to create a brand stand the test of time.
Branding Red Flags and Challenges - How to Counter them?
A brand is a feeling and branding is an organic means to connect your business with your customers.
The right branding will evoke emotions, will be thought-provoking, and will be value-centric that will seek to build the experience, rather than impressions.
This intangible yet deep-rooted connection, coupled with the right service/solution will help you build a powerhouse of a brand that will be the heart of your organization, setting you up for success.
At Gopigraphy, we help you create brands that are exclusively crafted to synergize your values with your audience. We offer a step-by-step service to help you craft brands meant to create a deep impact.
DEFINE YOUR SUCCESS WITH YOUR BRAND!
Connect with us to know how branding can elevate your business to dizzying heights
1. What is branding?
It is the craft of creating a reputation via creative storytelling and business strategy to influence your customers
2. What are the steps to branding?
Understand the service/product
Understanding the target audience
Building a brand identity
3. What should branding consist of?
4. Why is branding important?
Branding helps you:
Create a brand recall/recognition
Close premium deals
5. What is the role of branding?
Branding forms the heart of your organization. It helps create value, resonance, and engagement for your customers.