When I say the words ‘brand’ or ‘branding’ what is the first thing that comes to mind?
If I had to guess, I would say that like me, you would be thinking of the images, colours, words, and sounds that relate to the products and services you value.
Am I right?
It’s not surprising that when most people hear the words ‘brand’ or ‘branding’, they automatically align the idea of a brand with human connection.
Powerful brands evoke:
A brand’s identity becomes the narrative that tells the story of our lives, how we identify, the values we hold and how we want to live our lives.
In my work with Human Brands, I come across many amazing and passionate business people – custodians of some fantastic brands – who are confused about how to make their brand stand out. Many are also at a loss as to how to even define or differentiate their brand. Often their first impulse is to spend money on having a new logo or website refresh.
The best starting point for nurturing and creating a strong brand – whether that’s a new brand or an existing brand which has lost its impact – is to get to the heart of what makes your brand unique.
A brand is much more than just a logo. It is everything your customer experiences when they interact with your business online and in real life
- Brand vision? Figure out who you are, who you’re for, what matters to you and what you stand for. Not just as an individual but as a business too. Today’s consumers don’t just want to buy something, they want to buy into something, too. For more on this, check out my blog: Why do I need a brand vision.
- Visual – colours, fonts, layouts, images. Did you know that when she was in training, Australia’s track cyclist champion (and chocaholic) Anna Meares couldn’t have anything purple in her home, as this would make her think of Cadbury – and therefore chocolate. Colour can be so important!
- Language – both verbal and non-verbal. Does your brand have a consistent approach in tone and style throughout all its communications – whether they be through your website, social media channels, in emails, on the phone, or in person. Are all brand representatives on board?
- Environment – company culture, values, beliefs and behaviours. What are your guiding principles? How does this set you apart from competitors? Are you an employer of choice? What does this mean for your customers?
Consistency is hard to achieve but vital for trust: no one likes a person for instance who changes all the time. Same with brands. Confusing and erodes trust.
But consistency can be achieved: Once you are clear on who you’re for, what matters to you and what makes you different – and you build your copy, imagery etc from the same foundation – it’s easy to get consistency across all those channels.
What you see should be what you get
You’ve spent hours dreaming, planning, and working on a new venture in the build up to the exciting moment when you launch.
Your brand looks beautiful, professional, and engaging… But what about the nitty gritty details?
When you have 101 things on your plate the last thing you want to think about is how an image is cropped, which fonts you’re using on your email signature, or whether your business card features the correct shade of your brand’s colour. Do you have the tools to ensure your brand remains consistent across all its channels?
Check out this amazing brand we helped build for Healthful, a women’s wellness company. We created clear brand guidelines that showcase everything from the colours, fonts, and patterns, to layouts, images, and colour treatments that bring the Healthful brand to life.
Brand guidelines are the perfect tool for ensuring the brand’s visual identity remains consistent.
Personalities that POP
A brand’s language is one of the hardest aspects of branding to maintain, but by far the most important in ensuring your brand’s identity stands the test of time.
Think of your brand language as how your brand would behave if it were a person. How would it interact with your customers both verbally and interpersonally? How would your customers feel when they walked away from your brand?
Is your brand quirky and provoking? Or confident and reassuring?
How do you build those characteristics into your language? Is it with a smile? Or a well-placed question mark?
As a starting point think about how your customers are greeted, both in-store and on your website. How about the copy on your website?
Is it consistent? Does this represent what customers can expect from your brand? If not, why?
That is the power of branding.
Branding is creating an experience (visual, online and in real life) which communicates what you stand for, who you’re for, and what makes you different.
It is the behaviours, beliefs and service ethos that are embedded in all aspects of your organisation.
It is what makes you, you, and your brand unique.
Until next time – all the love.
PS: Branding is my passion. If you would like someone to bounce ideas off or have a chat to about your brand’s identity or where your businesses marketing is heading – I’d be happy to catch up for a coffee and a chinwag.