What is Branding?
Branding encompasses a few different elements and sometimes the terms ‘branding’ and ‘visual identity’ are used interchangeably. In this article I will explain what they mean.
Branding is a process to build awareness and customer loyalty. Alina Wheeler (‘Designing Brand Identity’) explains that it is:
“…about seizing every opportunity to express why people choose one brand over another”
Branding is the intangible qualities and values that define your company, or your brand. It is more to do with emotions and making a connection and developing a relationship with your audience.
It is recommended that a Brand Strategy is formulated to help develop your brand for the long term.
As part of defining your brand, consider your Mission Statement, Vision and Core Values. A Mission Statement succinctly describes what your company does. Your Vision is what your company aspires to be and the Core Values support the Vision and shape the culture. It is worth spending time to work on these factors so you have a good basis to build your brand. Over time, these may change as your business grows, which is why having a Brand Strategy is a good idea.
Visual Identity is the visual representation of your brand through graphical assets such as a logo, colour scheme and typography. It is important to select a Visual Identity that supports your Branding – that evokes the emotions in your ideal client that resonate with your message.
It is necessary to define your ‘Brand’ before you start creating a Visual Identity because the latter should support your Brand in conveying the message. For example, you may love a pretty script font, but if your brand is about creating a modern and minimalistic lifestyle, this would not be an appropriate choice.
Brand Styling is linked to Visual Identity as it is where you infuse personality into your brand through visual and non-visual means.
An example to illustrate the different between Branding and Visual Identity is the company Red Bull. Their Brand is all about adventure and high energy through the sponsorship of events, but their Identity is about presenting a consistent look of their brand assets at the events, on products and advertising.
Once you have determined your Branding and Visual Identity, it is a good idea to create a set of instructions detailing what these are. A document such as this will help guide the usage of the brand and how to communicate it to your audience. It can contain the following:
- Brand history and values
- Mission Statement
- How to use the logo and any other symbolic assets
- Colour Palette
The guidelines are important because they help create a consistent and cohesive presentation of your brand.
Branding is a process used to build awareness. The consistency of your message and aesthetics is key. A brand conveys a set of expectations.
Brand Identity incorporates the visual elements that represent your business, the tangible assets, including a logo. A good logo is unique and can be described. It should resonate with you and your target audience.
Brand Strategy is a long-term plan for developing your brand.
Brand Styling is infusing personality into your brand.