What is branding?
The term is thought to originate from the practice of branding cattle by farmers as far back as 2,700 BC (Khan and Mufti, 2007). It helped farmers prove their ownership and became a way for buyers to recognise quality as a farmer’s brand became synonymous with good livestock.
Nowadays, branding has evolved and, thankfully, doesn’t involve hot irons! In modern marketing terms, branding denotes how an organisation presents itself to its customers and how it is perceived. In effect, a brand is the persona of a company. Just like a person, a brand has a voice and its own style and behaves in a certain way.
Every aspect of your branding needs to be carefully thought out to cultivate the right kind of persona, not only for your company but for your customers. Your target audience needs to be able to connect with your brand and feel it is trustworthy, something they want to be a part of and reliable and of high quality. Branding done well will cultivate loyalty with your customers, so they choose you over your competitors.
Consider buying a new pair of trainers or shoes. Would you search for practicality and comfort, or would you consider looking at what your favourite companies can offer you first? We often find ourselves returning to brands without realising how much we’re sold on the dream rather than the products. A cheaper pair of trainers could do the job, but we’d rather have the branded version that we know and trust. We don’t want just any old pair of trainers; we want the cool ones!
What is involved in branding?
Building an entire brand involves the logo, fonts, colours, icons, photography, tone and style of voice, and other design elements. You will also need to define the key characteristics. If your brand were a character in a novel, you would determine not only what they look like, their fashion style, and how they talk but also what they are like as a person, how they interact and what factors motivate them.
Points to consider include:
Your core values and ethos.
These elements will help cement the underpinning values of your company and allow you to represent these throughout all marketing endeavours.
Your mission statement will summarise everything your organisation stands for in a few sentences and let anyone reading it know your core values and ethos and how you practise them.
Your brand identity is your organisation’s visual and written representation and defines the company name, logo, tone of voice, colour palette, typography, etc.
Once everything is clearly defined, the elements must be used consistently throughout your organisation to reinforce your brand for staff and your audience. Each way you communicate with current and potential customers needs to be considered, from your website to social media, printed media, customer service, and anywhere else your audience might see or hear your company.
Incorporating your brand is achieved through the following:
Anywhere you have a physical presence should represent the key design elements, such as the interior and exterior of a physical store, a booth at a conference, etc. These will need to use your brand colours, logo, fonts etc.
Every interaction with customers reinforces your brand, even when handling complaints.
From workplace uniforms or dress codes to practising your core values and ethos, your brand should drive each of these. For example, a company with an environmentally friendly ethos should practise sustainability in the workplace.
Branding with a Sprinkling of Psychology
Branding aims to present your audience with something memorable, something they can relate to and feel loyal to and invoke positive thoughts about the organisation. Your branding needs to have appeal, distinguish you from your competitors and reflect your brand’s personality.
We use a little psychology to achieve these points – move over, Sigmund Freud! For example, for a fun and vibrant company, we might choose bright and bold colours and modern fonts for the core of its design and a light-hearted tone of voice. For a more traditional company, we might choose a calligraphy-style font with a less adventurous colour palette and formal tones.
The branding we created for Eddie Hall, a UK strong man and previous deadlift world record holder, is a perfect example of how good branding can invoke the right emotional responses.
The packaging design is instantly memorable and unique. The illustration of Eddie’ The Beast’ Hall uses strong lines and his signature pose to depict strength, confidence, and enthusiasm. The use of the colour yellow invokes strong emotions of confidence and energy. Everything is designed to appeal to its target audience – anyone wanting to gain strength and confidence.
How do you build a good brand?
Building a good brand is a long-term strategy that begins with defining it, deploying it everywhere your audience will come across your organisation, and then developing your marketing strategies based on your brand guidelines.
A strong brand is crucial to your success, or it could lead to catastrophic failures, such as 20 Epic Fails in Global Branding. Hilarious as some of these might be, it can be challenging to recover from a branding disaster.
At The Hideout, we recommend our Brand Biology workshops which are tailored to discover what makes your business unique and its positioning in the market, the persona of your brand and how to bring it to life. We use the information gathered and our creative expertise to create your visual and communication elements, such as your logo and tagline.
It is essential to document the details somewhere (we provide you with a Brand Book), and then you will need to use it everywhere.
How we can help you with your branding
Whether you need a complete rebrand or a logo overhaul, our team will be happy to chat with you and offer advice. We offer a full range of services that encompasses branding from websites and packaging design to logos.