What is branding?
Updated: Mar 11, 2021
Branding is key to any successful business but what does it actually mean? And why is it so important?
Whether you've been growing your business for years or taken the opportunity during lockdown to start one, here are a few reasons why you need a strong brand…
Branding, (according to Google's English Dictionary), is: “The promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design.” Finding that creative spark which gives you that distinction is fundamental to creating a successful brand!
First and foremost, having great branding helps you drive up brand awareness within your customer base and serves to make your product or service stand out from the crowd.
Your logo will always be the hero of your business, but I can’t stress enough how this is only one part of the bigger picture when it comes to your overall brand. As a broad overview, you’ll also need to consider;
1. Colour Choice
What’s the psychology behind the colours you choose and how will this influence your customers? How will the colours work together? Will you have primary and secondary palettes? How do you navigate the fine line between on-trend and outdated...?
2. Font Styles
Serif, sans serif, handwritten… what tone will this be setting for your customers and does it support the Tone of Voice you want your brand to have? How will you set up your font hierarchy? Is your chosen font readily available as a web-safe font so that you can keep consistency across your website?
3: Illustrations or Graphic Elements
Patterns, illustrations, icons or infographics are all perfect opportunities to add further personality and depth to your brand. A pattern could reuse your brand mark in a creative way to subtly reinforce that brand awareness for your customers, or a set of illustrations could represent a key offering of your business that you can utilise for different content requirements. Using them across all your communication channels can really lift your visuals and help to create that all important coherent look and feel that you should be aiming to create.
A category all of it’s own! But this can really make or break a brand. It’s always worth investing in the best you can; working with a professional photographer will give you great results! Research styles you like and keep it consistent. One simple trick for keeping something in line with your branding is to add an object which is one of your brand colours into the shot, obviously mix it up from shot to shot but it can be an effective way of tying it all together.
5: Tone of Voice
As I mentioned above, this is really important and can so easily be overlooked. By considering this you can determine how your visuals support the ethos of your brand and most effectively showcase the story and personality of your business.
Traditionally, it may have fallen to the big high street names to focus on the intricacies of brand design, but more and more we’re seeing a significant shift of consumer focus to digital platforms and social media.
This really has opened up the playing field for smaller independent businesses to have much greater opportunities to attract customers.
So this means it’s more important than ever to have a coherent brand style that will work across all elements of your customers journey, as you navigate this huge potential customer base. Think how you’ll translate your Instagram posts, Facebook posts & headers for your website / Etsy shop / YouTube channel into business cards and stationery, product packaging, customer communications, flyers and press ads… etc etc! You need to consider how they will look as a suite of designs.
Would someone receiving your product through the letterbox, recognise your latest instagram post when it popped up on their feed? If not, it’s worth considering how you can tweak your designs to achieve this.
I’d argue that it’s always best to consider all of these elements that make up your brand when you first launch your business, but in reality not everybody’s story will follow that path. Some businesses do organically grow from a creative outlet to a fully fledged profitable business (there’s certainly been a huge surge of small businesses that have launched during the pandemic and are doing just that!)
But whichever stage your business is at, the points above are a selection of key things to consider. They are important not only to attract and communicate with your customers, but to truly engage with them. To resonate and connect with them. And arguably as important:
Make sure you're proud to share your Brand, your story and your vision for your businesses future.
Because ultimately, if you create a strong successful brand and are true to its offerings, your customers will want to share all that for you too, and what greater compliment can there be?