Oh, get a Brand? Just get a Brand? Why don’t I just strap on my brand helmet, squeeze down into a brand cannon and fire off into brand land, where brands grow on brandies!
“Brand Development” and “Branding” are commonly misunderstood terms, but both are crucial exercises for the longevity of your business. With this article we will debunk some popular misconceptions surrounding a brand and what role it plays during branding.
Let’s get one thing clear from the start:a brand is not a logo or slogan. A brand is an emotional response triggered when people interact with your business.
The process of branding, on the other had, is how you promote your products or services to build the desired emotional response.
Put simply, a brand is what people feel or think, and branding is how they remember you.
Now that you know what a brand is, let’s discuss how to get one and gain control over it. A brand is the foundation of your business and people will have different emotional responses from your products and services. If you do not take the time to identify the emotional scenarios, you could lose control of your brand over time.
Imagine, if you will, that you are in a boat raging down a river with all your employees manning the oars. You’re screaming out directions to navigate and avoid the jagged rocks around every turn. A brand in this case is your destination downstream: You need to look ahead and identify the obstacles between you and your goal, and take the correct evasive actions before they are right in front of you.
A simple emotional response to conceptualize is eating food, so let’s look at a typical restaurant. People need to eat daily and many choose to eat out, so the process of choosing a place is a perfect example of how having a brand can work in your favor. People will choose a restaurant for many reasons, but mainly due to quality and type of food, price point, atmosphere, location and service.
These considerations are are all functions that the restaurant owner wants to have under control, but it only takes a single bad experience to leave a customer with a negative emotional response. If someone enjoys the experience (brand) at a restaurant they may consider returning again. But how do you get new customers in the door to enjoy your restaurant experience that first time?
This is where the creative design process takes place. Typical practice is to develop and adopt branding design standards consisting of colors, fonts, logos, slogans and a voice. You then use these items together to build all your advertising materials. It’s important to put time and consideration into these activities; your brand and branding effort work together to instill memories in your audience.
Once you’re happy with your branding standards, it is time to build a digital presence with a website, or redesign your current site to reflect the end goal of your brand. You will want to use the same thought process of satisfying needs and navigating obstacles identified with your brand when building your site. A website in an extension of your brand and should be manicured and organized with the same level. If you do not have a physical location your website is even more important in conveying a positive emotional response.
Branding doesn’t begin or end with a great website, you will need to take your customers’ pulse regularly and ensure that your brand still means what you want it to mean. Remember, your brand isn’t what you think about your business; it’s the collective opinions and emotions of everyone you’ve encountered, every customer you have served. If your customers think of you as untrustworthy, slow, or out-of-touch, a new logo won’t do you much good! But once you have truly identified your brand and put in the time and hard work that branding really requires you will find that business growth is far less of an uphill struggle!