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Branding, more than just a logo

The number of conversations I have that start off with the likes of “this branding thing, it’s just a logo, right?!” Erm… how do I put this delicately…

Branding is certainly not a carefree topic, especially not in our office. In fact, we would go as far as saying we get quite hot headed on the matter. Our last article refined the correct use of the English language, you can read it here. This article, we set out to put the record straight on what this wonderfully complex phenomenon, branding, actually consists of.

In order to explain the branding process in simple English, (and please bear with the me while I refer to this overly used metaphor) you could compare the elements involved to be like pieces of a puzzle, all coming together to create a comprehensive image. It is your most powerful tool in setting up your business. It is consistency and it is the foundations building your business onwards and upwards.

Here’s how it all comes together.

Let’s start at the very beginning, logos.

The logo comes first as it helps set up some of the brand’s primary guidelines. The purpose of a logo is to align consumers with an image of your business, putting, for a lack of a better stance, ‘a face to a name’, ergo making your business more familiar and recognisable.

So, the logo is a pretty big deal, especially when you think that it’s going to be attached to everything and anything you create, not to mention it’ll represent your entire business. While it can be tempting (and we know this from experience) to try and cram as many colours, patters etc. into a thumbnail sized design, best practice is to go subtle and simple. It would be a real travesty for a logo to look great on a website and dead awful on the back of a t-shirt.

Let there be… colour

Ah the wonderful world of colour. Just not when linked to branding. Don’t get me wrong, designers love colour… but four (max) is all you’ve got to work with, per brand. Keep in mind, just like the logo, colours will also be carried across every element of your branding and they need to resonate with a consumer, not have them think they’ve seen yet another rainbow, so keep it simple.

Before we start on creating a colour palette from a pantone colour guide (don’t make the mistake of using CMYK colours, just trust us on this one), we make sure to do our research. Market research is just as important in the branding process as it is when creating campaigns. How sucky would it be to fall in love with a set of colours only to find your competitor uses something similar.

Colours are a huge tool for creating a consistent and identifiable brand. They will be the feature of your website, create consistency across social media (with the help of filters of course), they will appear in your office space and across all collateral. In short, you want to leave hints of your colour wherever your target market may come into contact with your brand.

User experience

The branding you put forth to your consumer should encompass the entire experience, not just the visual elements. Remember, branding is all about generating emotion, and a user’s experience is a key player in rousing emotion.

Bear with me while I go off on a little tangent…

Pretend you own a bakery. Your customers are going to be exposed to your brand before they even walk through your doors. This is where the five senses come into play; the way the shop smells, the display of the baked goods, the greeting they receive as they approach the counter, even the temperature of the store. All of these elements are going to influence the way your customer feels. What you can take from this little tangent is, when branding your product/service, what experience do you want to leave your customer with?

Voice

Communication creates a lasting impression (now isn’t that a valuable life lesson for us all… bet you didn’t think you’d get quality life advice when you started reading this blog).

When creating the voice for your brand you should consider the different aspects of your voice. Best practice is to imagine your brand as a person and give it quantifiable personality traits. Is it confident, sweet, funny, warm, corporate, lighthearted? … you get the gist. The voice that you choose for you brand solely depends on what you want your, or whom you want your brand to represent.

This is the voice that will carry all your communications and for it to become a recognisable feature of your company, like all other branding aspects, it will need to be made consistent.

Personality

Effectively, what I have been trying to say all along is that your brand is your personality; your individual identity and character, and it is what will distinguish you from your competition. A brand’s personality will provide authenticity, relatability and genuineness, helping you to develop your relationships with your consumers.

Look at it this way, people connect with people – it’s human nature. Your business’ personality will come across in the way that you project yourself and communicate with your target market.

In conclusion

While I talk a lot about consistency, I want to reiterate that it’s the only way to build a strong brand. Creating a brand guideline for your company is a good place to start as it will host everything (plus more… this just gets better and better) all in one neatly and creatively designed booklet. We can even design one for you, drop us a line here.

It is crucial, that the development and strengthening of your brand are seen through the points made above. This is where a good creative marketing agency come into play (hint hint). We can work through all your concepts/ideas/muses and give life to a brand that’ll stand tall. Branding to us, is a journey; it’s more than just a process and it certainly is more than just a logo.

Building your brand is a big deal, so don’t underestimate its value.

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