Before diving into what branding is, it's crucial to understand what branding is not.
What is NOT Branding:
Branding is not a Logo.
Logo is a "symbol" or "icon" and a great tool, but it's not the brand itself.
Brand is also not your service, your product, colors, layout, design, or even your name. While all those are a highly important part of your brand, they are actually what makes your "Brand Identity".
Brand Identity is a big part when making a good branding strategy, but the actual brand is a totally different thing, and it's bigger than all of the above.
What branding actually is?
A brand is the customer's gut feeling about the product or service that your business provides.
A good brand ends up in the heads and the hearts of your consumers. They create it.
It's their perception of you and your company.
So, a brand is essentially like a reputation, and you, as a designer, business owner, or entrepreneur can put the efforts into designing a brand and the experience that you want your customers to have, but at the end of the day, it's the feeling they have about you and the perception of your company that really forms what your brand is.
That's why, when it comes to branding and marketing, everything matters, and everything is important, because it all needs to work together to form that feeling and perception.
That's why your logo, colors, and design are very important but they are just parts of your brand. More accurately, they are just tools/tactics that you can use in order to create that desired impression or feeling that your customers get about your business.
Difference between Amateurs and Pros
Besides your logo, colors, and your name, you also have a number of significantly more effective tools at your disposal in order to create the desired feeling among your customers.
These are the 3 tools we picked out that you can use right now and apply to your business in order to create the desired impression of your brand to your customers.
Story is one of the single most effective tools you have available in order to create more growth, better perceptions, better feelings, and essentially build the business that you want to.
We as humans are naturally conditioned to simply accept, listen, and be influenced by stories, which makes stories such a powerful way to communicate your message, values, and ideas to your customers.
One of the most powerful stories that you can create if you haven't done this already is something called an "Origin Story", or in other words a "creation story".
This story essentially tells the root story of your company. Why it got started? What problem did it solve? (or looking to solve), etc.
This story is usually posted on your websites "about us page" and answers thas question like "Why us?", "Why now?", "Why should I care?".
This part is where it's incredibly important to really dial deep into your "Ideal Customers" (Those people that love you and love what you do and want to support you) and try to identify/match their core beliefs with your core beliefs.
So, what are your core values? What do you stand for and believe in?
Another word for beliefs you could use is a "Creed", and identifying this, and by communicating it, that allows you to really connect with your ideal customers on a much deeper level.
3. Highlight your leader
Just like any good and well-known brand, you need to highlight your leader.
Apple has Steve Jobs,
Microsoft has Bill Gates,
and Tesla has Elon Musk.
All charismatic, polarising leaders that attract a certain crowd and repel others, all in the name of pushing the brand forward.
And these leaders also frequently use both stories and beliefs in order to push the brand values.
In many businesses, highlighting the leader, even if they are no longer part of the company can help drive the business forward, especially when it ties into the origin story of the business, product, or service that you're trying to promote.
Also, keep in mind that leaders don't have to be real people.
They can be based on fictional characters or representations of the brand.
Great examples of that would be:
- Michelin man,
- Mickey Mouse,
- Cooled man,
- Tony the tiger,
- Nintendos Mario
- M & M's.
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