Whether it’s branding on merchandise that you’re using when you sponsor an event, or you’re revamping your website and want it to reflect what your organization is about, your brand is one of the most important fundamental elements of your business.
A brand is your business and marketing concept that helps people identify you. Brands aren’t something you can see or touch, yet they still shape the perception customers and partners have about your business and your products or services.
Your brand can ultimately be your greatest asset if you’re setting yourself apart. Logos and slogans aren’t a brand on their own. These are marketing tools that are part of your larger brand identity.
When you have a strong brand, it stays front and center in the minds of your customers.
Brands aren’t only for corporate use either. They’re now increasingly used by individuals, particularly in the social media influencer era.
With a strong brand, a business can evoke certain emotions and have control over how people see it. Consumers develop a relationship with companies that have strong brands, leading to loyalty thanks to increased credibility and trust. A customer is more likely to purchase from brands they know and trust. This will give you an ongoing competitive edge.
If you’re going to introduce a new service or product, having an established and recognizable brand is also helpful.
With those things in mind, below are seven elements of branding that are important to understand.
1. Brand Image and Identity
A brand image is a broad, all-encompassing concept. Brand image includes all of the ideas, emotions, opinions, and associations someone might have when they consider a certain brand or perhaps a product of a brand. The image can include human characteristics that are ascribed to a corporate brand as well.
Brand image is a term referencing a subjective external perception.
Then, there’s brand identity. This is something more concrete because it defines how the owner of the brand wants it to be perceived. The more you can align image and identity, the better.
Brand identity includes components that will be talked about individually below, like name, logo, colors, shapes, and language.
When building a brand identity, it’s important to analyze the market and determine key business goals. The brand identity needs to include an understanding of targeted customers, and then it’s important to determine the message and personality that you want to convey.
There needs to be consistency here.
Your brand name is the word used for identification of your company. This is what sets you apart from competitors and demonstrates what you’re offering to the public.
3. Logo, Graphics, Images, and Color Scheme
Your logo is going to be one of the most recognizable aspects of your brand. An audience you be able to instantly recognize you by your logo. It needs to be used on your website, physical products, marketing materials, and emails.
A lot of logos are image-based, but they can also be your brand name.
Graphics and images can encompass all of the other elements of your brand that make it unique. If you’re going to share images, it’s good to edit them, so they look cohesive and consistent across all materials and platforms. For example, you might use the same filters for all of your images to tie them together consistently.
Your color scheme is going to be incorporated into everything else you’re creating to build your brand. You’ll use your color scheme in your logo, graphics, images, and marketing materials, for example.
If you choose your colors well, just seeing those alone can trigger thoughts about your brand and business.
Your typography is the fonts you use in your business materials, which, again, as with everything else, need to be consistent and cohesive. You want people to recognize your fonts as being associated with your company. You might choose a set font and stick with it across the board no matter what you’re creating.
5. Tone and Voice
Tone and voice are about what your business appears like when you’re communicating with your targeted customers in marketing materials. Your tone and voice might be light and humorous, for example, or informal and casual. Your brand and voice could also be more professional or academic.
As you’re developing your tone and voice, think about your target audience and your products and services.
Your brand voice can include the words and language you use, all the way to the personality of your marketing assets. Your goal with your tone and voice is to make a lasting impression.
While we tend to use tone and voice together, they are two different concepts. Your brand voice is the personality of your company, which doesn’t change. Then, the tone is the emotional inflection that you apply to your brand voice. You can adjust your tone when you need to, depending on the message.
As you establish your brand voice, start by going over your mission statement and your values. This should give you an idea of how you can start to connect your values to your brand.
6. Brand Values
We mentioned values a bit above, and these are big for your brand. Your values are what serve as the beliefs and principles that your company stands for. When you can cohesively and consistently articulate your values, then it’s going to help align your brand with something more meaningful. This is also one way that customers will build a deeper connection with you.
7. Brand Positioning
Finally, brand positioning is where consumers see you within the market. This includes how you’re different from competitors. You want to make sure, as part of your brand positioning, that you’re using marketing in a way that’s going to allow you to maximize your reach to your market segment. Brand positioning means you create a voice that stands out above the noise and helps you resonate as something unique and different.
With brand positioning, you can make sure that you’re reaching the people you’re targeting in the most effective way possible.