Branding 101: Brand VS Company
While the two are intricately connected, a brand is much different than a company. A company is the entity and business represented by the brand but a brand is a carefully curated public face of the company’s product or service. There can be parent companies who supply branded lines of product (Procter & Gamble or Johnson & Johnson), or a company who has a branded product with variations (FedEx and Apple). A company has CEO’s and accountants while a brand has a color palette and a photography style. Brands are essential for growing a business and customer base, but the actions of the company support the message of the brand. The trick is to develop and brand that represents your company.
Importance of a Brand
The reason a brand is so essential to a growing business is because it helps build brand loyalty and recognition. The experiences that people have with your brand and the stories they hear will stick in their mind, dictating their future buying choices. If you are recognized on the shelf, it elicits an immediate positive response from potential buyers. The consistent look will build trust with your customer base as well. Like a friendly face, they will return to you time and again and spread the good word. And nothing sells like word of mouth. If you are at a small store looking to buy toothpaste, are you more likely to grab the Crest or the other one you’ve never seen before?
Answer: The Crest.
Good Branding vs. Poor Branding
Good branding can be expensive because there is a whole science behind it. Good designers and firms look into market trends, competition, and deep dive into the profile of your ideal customer to custom make a brand system specific to you. One that creates a consistent look for your company as well as the essential tools to target your niche and pull ahead of competition. It is a disservice to your company to pay for cheap instant logos. Bad design is often worse than having no design at all. A branding identity specific to you is able to communicate your company’s mission and establish the standard of service that they can expect. Think of Apple; They have a brand that has changed very little over the years. They are known for their customer service and dependable services…and the pretty price tag. But you will willingly pay it.
Building Blocks of Branding
Did you know that a consistent look will make you four times as visible in the marketplace? Many people don’t know what goes into building a consistent brand. The logo is the most well known. Unfortunately this is usually purchased without a brand book or branding suite that provides secondary marks, color palettes, and fonts to support it. A good example of branding is Chipotle. The cups, the napkins and even the paper in the chip basket are all branded materials that would appear in a brand book. They all have the same style of artwork, the same fonts, colors, and “vibe.” They are instantly recognizable even if the logo is on the other side of the bag. You know exactly where its from.
There are other parts of a brand like signage, packaging, promotional items, and websites. Websites are a part of a brand and are built using branding materials. It is important to say that websites built by DIYers usually follow a style predetermined by the “style package” or template they select. Using this approach will get a sleek and stunning website that is soulless and devoid of your essential brand message. Plugging your logo in at the top will brand it as yours but the template style might not have the signature color you selected, and the default font might clash horribly with the typography of the logo. When building professional websites, developers will incorporate the fonts and colors that are part of your brand as well as stylized photography, icons, and graphics.
Brand books are created by designers to help guide you through the ways to apply your logo and what not do to. It has the color codes so you always have your brand colors, something that “boosts your recognition by 80%” says an article from DesignRush, What Is Branding? The Importance Of A Strong Identity & 10 Companies Creating Core Brand Values. Even the fonts selected are showcased and labeled for their uses, a big key to remaining consistent and looking professional.
Setting Yourself Apart
It’s hard for new businesses starting out, especially in saturated markets. A surefire way to get your best food forward is to narrow down your target audience. Its not always good to play it safe and be an everything dealer and master of none. Find your niche and speak to them directly. Tell your origin story and share your values. This is sure to boost revenue by 23% and create brand loyalty with minimal effort. If you know exactly who you are selling to, you will reach them with the right marketing tactics. They will recognize you and keep coming back for more.
Branding might seem like an unnecessary cost but it is essential to creating a lasting brand. It is important to invest in good design and a designer who is invested in your company.
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