The process of branding is vitally important to the success of any company. It’s branding that builds a reputation, highlights your worth, sets you apart from the competition and marks the difference between a business focused on doing and a business focused on staying. But what is branding?
In simplest terms, it’s the representation and communication of one’s personality, style and core beliefs. It’s the relaying of your company’s fully shaped identity, both visual and philosophical.
To find what that identity is will involve digging deep and answering questions about your mission and values. You will need to identify strengths, benefits, and features of your product or services. In answering those questions you’ll create perceptions about your brand. It is managing these perceptions and creating emotional attachments that will strengthen and grow your brand and create relevance within the marketplace.
Establish Your Position
Positioning your company within your industry is an important part of the branding process. It is the practice of differentiating a product or service from others within the industry. Is your business decades old or a start-up? Do you want to be known as long-established experts or youthful risk-takers? Taking your company and humanizing it creates a meaning that will travel over all facets of your business.
Discover Your Visual Identity
Focusing on the visual identity of your brand is a phase that can get quite jumbled. When talking about visual identity, we are focusing on the logos, color schemes, fonts, and photography. It can be fun to explore these areas, but consistency is key! If your website or print material has an overload of patterns, colors, and photos, you lose focus and portray a sense of uncertainty and disjointedness, for both you and your audience. However, when you apply attention to creating an appropriate color scheme and distinct logo that go hand-in-hand and underscore your company’s emotional feeling, you are establishing a visual identity.
Finding Your Voice
When you communicate with your audience, it’s important that your company have a consistent “voice”. This represents the tone and personality that the public sees, reads and hears. Having the right voice builds trust and empathy in communities and industry verticals you want to be a part of. Your brand voice is a result of your brand language and brand messaging. The two come together to create the tone in which you communicate with your audience. Slight variations of your brand voice can certainly be applied, however, depending on the forums in which you appear as well as the people you address. Social media, blogs, video and print media all require variances in brand language, humor, and thought-leadership.
So what’s the biggest takeaway? Ultimately, creating a clear and concise brand and appropriately communicating it to your audience, is a critical step when starting and growing your business. There are countless branding strategies floating around boardrooms and Google, and finding the right one for your company takes time and consideration. The balance between flexibility and consistency is tricky to find, however, if you feel the look and tone you choose accurately represents your business mission, makes your product or service relatable, and gives you the opportunity to connect with consumers, then you’re on the right track.