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What is Branding?

Apple, Nike, Amazon. What do you think when hearing those names? Does the brand’s logo comes into mind? Maybe you recall pleasant or unpleasant experiences with this brand? Thinking maybe of their new product line and maybe you can’t wait to buy from them? Or maybe you are eager to tell everyone how much this new product sucks before ever using it?

What’s almost certain is that you do recognize these names, and maybe independently of where you live in the world. What these companies have in common, except of being successful, is their very strong branding.

Now many people sometimes confuse branding with a brand’s logo. That’s a bit understandable since the logo is a brand’s cornerstone. But it’s far more than that.

Branding is what sets apart and gives value to your products and services in comparison to those of a competitor in the same market or industry. It can include graphic elements like your logo, color, typography, or other elements like your name and your tagline. But It also envelops how people feel, think and talk about you, your organization, products or services. As I hope you realize: branding is not something limited to the big players. You don’t have to make millions to need a successful branding. Even a small business or a local store need to have strong branding or at least stronger than their competition in order to be competitive and even survive in the market.

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To begin developing your brand you need to start with the basics. Take the time to think and answer at least the following questions:

  1. Who are you and what are your values?
  2. What do you do and who are your potential clients?
  3. How can you help them and what you do differently than your competition?
  4. Why should someone choose you over your competitors?
  5. Finally, why are you doing what you do? (other than to get rich of course) And what is your brand’s promise?

And don’t forget to write down your answers! Thoughts are gone forever unless somehow captured.

Your answers will help you define your positioning and your brand’s promise. Your brand’s promise is the beginning for your brand’s narrative or storytelling if you like. It can evoke emotions, focus on experience, inspire or reassure etc. It needs to be authentic and be aligned with the why you are in this business. It must have value and be beneficial to your potential customers. But most importantly always keep it! Appearance is crucial in developing your brand. In the modern world we communicate with visuals as well as words. Therefore the images, logo, style, your website’s design all can reinforce or undermine your message. But all these come secondary and doesn’t really matter if the experience you provide doesn’t match your promise. Or if you fail to deliver what people came to expect from your message. So establish what your brand is about. Know what are your values and position into the market even before diving into thinking your brand’s name, and definitely before designing your logo or visual identity.

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If your brand has already been established in the market, always listen and understand what people tell and think about your brand. Customer surveys are great to capture such feedback. But whatever you do make sure that you don’t have an identity crisis that need to be addressed.

What do you think is the brand narrative/promise of your favorite brands?

Featured Image: Licensed Stock Photo by Deposit Photos

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