What is Branding?
A bright red can. A white wave underlining large cursive letters that wrap around that bright red can. That design translates to their bottles, their billboards, their trucks and their apparel. We hardly need to tell you what company we’re talking about. And why is that? Because of branding. Well, not simply branding, but because of effective branding. So what is effective branding?
A brand is a comprehensive package that communicates your company’s message to potential customers. A logo is a key piece of branding, but it is not the entirety. To pick a famous brand, let’s look at Nike. The letters in the Nike logo are uniquely Nike’s, but the Swoosh implies action and the “Just Do It” tag communicates the company’s ethos. The three belong together and together they tell a potential customer what kind of message they are buying into.
Anatomy of a brand
We just covered that a brand is more than a logo, but typically, a logo is a good place to start when considering your brand. Think of some words that define your company, or are at least aspirational. We can use those words—say, for example, speed, professionalism and compassion—to choose the visual elements that go into your logo. What typeface, the font, if you will, should be chosen is a good first step and typography can communicate a lot about your message right off the bat. To illustrate this point, which law firm* would you choose from the two options below?
Another choice that goes into a logo is an icon. An icon can be a typographic (the McDonald’s arches) or an image (the Twitter bird). There may be several reasons that a client might choose an icon, but the best reason is that the icon helps communicate your message to your audience.
Your logo is going to be the DNA of your brand so, make sure that there isn’t anything in that is going to confuse its viewers. We take these considerations into every logo that we create and every logo that we work with, forming the very best impression for your company to potential customers.
So, you have your product—a good or service—and you have your logo that calls out to people who you are. The next part of the brand is where that logo and those products live. For some products it makes sense to have an actual brick-and-mortar location like a store or warehouse for people to go and see, while others will be providing their products and services digitally, or at least through the web. Whether or not you have a physical location, every company or business should have a website as well. For this blog, we will skip the physical store and talk about the website, but many of the branding elements that go into a good website are good practices in the physical world as well.
First, your website should be—99% of the time—organized, easy to navigate and able to be responsive to the type of screen that a user is viewing it on. Second, from a visual standpoint, you’ll want to see some of the DNA that we mentioned before from your logo spread throughout your site. Consistent colors, typographic styles, messaging and images will create cohesion and will create a sense of professionalism in the minds of your users. And lastly, you’ll want to make sure that it is easy for a user to access/buy/use your good or service. Both in a real store or e-commerce, any confusion or friction around a product will reduce the likelihood that your audience will engage with it. Clear pricing, attractive calls-to-action, clear navigation, and trustworthy checkouts are staples of physical and virtual places of business. At Anania Media, these best practices are baked into the sites that we create to expand your logo and ideas into a fully cohesive brand.
The visuals—like marketing materials—are the delivery system for your message. They are how you get your products or services in front of new and, hopefully returning, customers. Google and print ads, commercials, social media posts, trade show booths and more are what bring your brand—that combination of product, messaging, logo, and website/storefront—to your audience. You know that you’ve got to be in front of their eyes to get their attention, so that means letting them find you where they are. We partner with our clients to understand their needs and combine their industry knowledge with our marketing expertise to get your brand out there.
Still, you might ask, “Isn’t a brand for a bigger type of company than mine? What will branding do for my company that just a logo won’t do? Isn’t that what marketing is for?” That’s a great question and it will be the focus of part two of this series.
*Yes, Nelson & Murdock is from Marvel’s Daredevil comics. Enjoy.