Branding 101

Understanding and Building a Powerful Brand

In this blog post I’m breaking down what word ‘BRAND’ actually IS and WHY it’s important. I’ll also be outlining the four core elements of a brand. Logos and colours are really only a small reflection of what a brand truly is. Hopefully this de-mystifies what branding means, so you to can build a powerful brand of your own!!

Brand Vs. Branding – What’s The Difference?

What we think vs. What is actually is.

‘Branding’ is a pretty big buzz word these days, for solo entrepreneurs, small or large companies, personal brands etc.. We’ve all heard the terms – stay on brand – oh that works for my brand – oh what a fabulous brand. BUT those terms can leave you wondering what does that really mean, and what does it mean for you as an entrepreneur?

Most conceive brands to comprise of: a beautiful colour palette, strategically chosen fonts, a beautiful logo, personal photos that coordinate, the language we use in our posts. All components make up your brand but what really is: Branding? And better yet what makes a good brand?

BRAND » Is the promise you make to your customers about quality, service, experience, etc.

Your core values, your mission are what make up a brand. Think of a brand as your business’s reputation – what your customers think about your business. ‘Brand’ is what distinguishes your business from other companies and the relationship with the consumer. ‘Brand’ is the idea and branding refers to the visuals that bring life to the idea.

BRANDING » Is about taking all the information that makes up your brand and turning that info into visual / tangible items.

These tangible items make up your brand identity aka branding. Your brand identity are the visuals that make up your brand. It is your logo, your colors, your website, your business cards etc. These visuals are the first impression you offer to your potential clients. These visuals are more often than not the first impression, the handshake to new potential clients. Its also what makes customers, follow, buy your products or services, come back, spread the word to their people.

Why Is Good Branding Important?

“Nobody buys what they don’t’ understand or feel emotionally connected to” You don’t just want customers who recognize your brand and use your business once — you want customers that continue to come back. With good branding, customers can become your biggest fans who buy from you over and over again, they wait with baited breath for the next new project or thing to buy from you. They will also be your advocate and bring their friends into the fold. Remember the line – they’ll tell two friends, and they’ll tell two friends and so on. Before you know it you’ll have a tribe of people following you.


WHAT Makes a Good Brand?

  • 1/ + A GREAT FIRST IMPRESSION
    You can never take back a first impression. That first impression can make or break a sale, turn a new subscriber away, or prevent someone from engaging with you. When a visitor comes in contact with your brand, you want them to have an awesome first impression and that can be done through good design and branding. Photography & Design communicates your message visually to your customer.
  • 2/ + GOOD VISUALS BUILD TRUST
    “If people like you, they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you – zig ziglar”
    Have you ever landed on a website or received an email and the design makes you question if the site is a legit site? Bad design can make you not trust a website or business. If you have a logo, website, business cards, social media, and all of your branding is consistent, you can gain customer’s trust, which is the ultimate goal. Well-designed branding gives your audience visual proof that you can be trusted.
  • 3/ + BRAND RECOGNITION
    Your brand should be recognizable without a logo present, which means you need more than just a logo to make this possible. Your branding needs to be cohesive with all items including logos, social media, packaging, colors, blog post graphics, etc. If you audience is viewing your social media posts, you want them to be able to recognize that it’s your style without even seeing the name. You want people to look at your post on Instagram and say “Oh that must be Brand Blitz’s blog post”.
  • 4/ + DIFFERENTIATION
    What makes your business different, unique? When you look at other why would they come to you vs. someone else? Let’s look at » Starbucks, Coffee Bean, and Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Coffee Bean, and Tim Hortons are all coffee chains, but what makes them different? How are they different from each company? What makes you want to go to one more than the other? If you notice, the colours, the logos, the messaging is all different between the brands.
  • 5/ +MEMORABLE
    Humans are visual people. You are more likely to remember something after visually seeing it compared to just reading about it. Therefore, if you create a brand that is different from competitors and make it visually appealing you are more likely to be remembered by a potential customer. The more somebody sees your brand the more likely they will purchase. Likewise if you provide a good / strong customer experience, your customer will now associate it with your brand.

Excellent photos are not just a matter of snapping a great moment. Clicking the shutter (and all the experience it takes to know when to do that!) is the first step but the true magic happens in the dark room. These days, Photoshop is our dark room. As professionals, we know how to use editing tools to pull out the best shots which showcase your brand. Post production and retouches are as important as clicking the shutter,  an amateur won’t have the experience or tools to deliver that.


Four Elements That Make Up A BRAND:

1./ Identity 2. / Messaging 3. / Personality 4./ Strategy

FIRST » Brand Identity

BRAND IDENTITY IS:

The visuals that make up your brand. It’s your logo, your brand colours, website, business cards etc. All the information that you have gathered to make your business unique translates into visuals. Branding also includes anything that effects the senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell.

Examples of our senses & branding:
• SMELL → Smells trigger memories. The smell when you walk into Starbucks, or the essential oils when you walk past a Body Shop, Sage or Lush Cosmetics.

• SIGHT → The Nike Swoosh. The Starbucks Mermaid. The way the Apple stores have all their products displayed in a large, open, brightly lit, minimal space. The way you interact in an Apple store is similar to the way you interact with Apple products.

• HEARING → Commercials with jingles that get stuck in your head. Slot Machines – Revenue in Las Vegas fell by 24% when sounds were removed!

• TOUCH → Our skin has more than 4,000,000 sensory receptors. Think about materials, weight, softness & comfort of product. If you are a product based business, think about how you can use touch for packaging.

• TASTE → McDonalds Fries vs Homemade Oven Fries.

note – this is also the last step when creating your brand, but its often what people think they need to do first.

SECOND » Messaging also known as Brand-Story

Brand message is the position or foundation that your business takes to make your business unique and stand out from everyone else. Your brand messaging (mission statement) will help determine your decisions when it comes to your brand design and your brand’s voice. This is a big picture of how you want your brand to appear to your target audience.

Your messaging conveys to your clients your fundamental core values and how you can provide your service or products better than other competitors. This is depicted to our audiences in our » website copy, our bios, social media platforms, lead magnets etc. The images we choose to showcase, also conveys your story, they help set the message we want to share with our clients. Its the whole package working together that creates your brand message.


THIRD » Brand Personality

By giving your brand a personality, it allows you to visualize it.

If your brand was a human, what type of personality would it have? If you have a small business, most of the time the brand personality would be the same as the owner of the brand.

A brand personality comes into existence when human-like adjectives – like unique, caring, funny, trustworthy, creative, straightforward, dishonest, rebel, etc. are brought into all the identity elements.

This is the perfect time to decide if you want your brand’s personality to have an identity of it’s own like Coca Cola or Apple or a more personal brand.


FOURTH » Brand Strategy

Your long term goals for developing the brand for your business.

Brand strategy is the actions for
implementing your brand identity. If your brand is how you present your business to the world, your brand strategy is the scaffolding that holds it up.  These are the actual steps you take to make sure that consumers fall in love with your brand. It defines what it is that makes your brand what it is, what sets it apart from the competition and how you want your customers to perceive it.

How are you going to connect with your audience?
How are you going to make sure they stay loyal?


NEXT UP » Where to begin when building your own brand!

Whether you’re just starting out or have been at this a while its never a bad time to check in with your brand. Just like our wardrobes we update them sometimes seasonally, sometimes yearly. And not to just stay current with the latest fashions but so we can feel confident and good about how we show up.

Branding our business is very similar and we’ll get into that in the next blog post!

Here’s to building your brand and growing your business!!


Yours in creativity
Annemarie

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