I’m a Brand Design Expert running a small brand studio in Essex and I meet startup brands of all sorts, all the time. What I find is that startup brands or even established business tend to get the wrong idea about branding and quite frankly I don’t blame them because the words brand, branding and brand identity get thrown about all the time as marketing ploys.
Some think of branding as a reputation, whilst some think of it as a brand name. Some think of it as a following and some purely as a brand image. The truth is that all of these conceptions are right but what startups don’t get is that a brand and branding are not one singular defined thing. Whilst a brand represents something, branding relates to the application or creation of something.
If you’re starting a new business or looking to re-brand then take a second to let me explain branding clearly.
What is A Brand?
A brand is an entity and although it may not be something that you can physically see, its constant representation into real life events signify the difference between itself and the next brand and make itself a physical asset. It does this by way of its thinking, its values, morals, character and action as a business. The business uses these set of brand values to represent itself, market itself and stay in business. It’s a mission which transcends itself into all areas of the business from marketing and development to customer care and packaging.
A brand is actually a company’s personal way of thinking and acting with regards to anything or anything specific. It could even be seen as a bigger ideology which transcends itself.
All in all, it’s a marketing tactic to help inform the the public, identify, experience and buy from any given brand specifically.
What is a Brand Identity?
Values are great to have but can’t be seen unless action is taken to express those values so this is where the brand identity comes in. A brand identity is the brand is a visual form. By using colour, line, shape and form, we can create a visual theme that communicates the brand. This theme can be repeated and then recognised, and subconsciously it will then be identified. Once identified, we can start to build a relationship with that design which basically represents a brand.
You could have two companies in the same industry, doing the same thing with basically the same brand values. This would lead to a similar identity on paper so design will fully explore communication goals in a creative fashion via graphical design to produce something unique to each business as an identity design. It will fine tune the brand values to create an overall brand image with style and tone that can be used to market the business.
This process can be referred to as “branding” because it’s the application of the brand via a creative discipline.
Branding can be applied to any marketing discipline though. You get audio branding, brand story, brand voice, brand strategy, brand naming, brand everything!
For me personally, I see different businesses of different sizes, use branding in different ways.
Some use it ignorantly. Some half-heartedly. And some wastefully!
You don’t need to invest in branding to make a successful business but you do
need to invest in branding if you want to create a successful brand!
It will pay off when done right!
Check out some inspirational brand designs here