I bet that your first thoughts after opening this article would have been “Ummm. Well let me just leave it”. Am I not right about this? I must be and if you ask how I know about your feelings, I can answer that as well.
Even when we claim to know a lot about logos and everything, we rarely ever had this sense of clarity on what is branding. We keep on brushing this question under the table or cover it up by talking about the basics. I have been through the same things until I was forced to understand what branding is because I needed to understand bigger things like what is brand voice and what are the types of branding strategies.
My initial reaction to all such articles would go like “Ughhhh I don’t want to use my brain and read this boring article”. But you got to do what you got to do, right? Now that I look back, I feel a bit mad at myself for being stupid enough to brush this idea under the table and never taking out time to understand what is branding exactly.
Well, I will be honest with you, the idea is a bit misunderstood on a wide scale and there is a very strong possibility that you might not know it too. Then, why don’t we take a look at it together here below? I am about to keep things as simple and as beneficial as I can for anyone who is reading this. Here is to hoping that after you are done reading this article, you can proudly say that you are clear about branding and other ideas that relate to it and can, therefore, teach about them to others too.
So without further ado, let us jump in straight to branding.
Source: MBA CHEATS
What Is Branding? And Whatever It Is Not
If you own a brand or are an influencer related to a brand in one way or there other, you must have at least once been advised to work on branding and developing your brand? For the first time, you must have thought, why is this person even advising me about such a thing. I already have developed a logo and have a solid marketing scheme. What else does developing a brand means? If that has ever been the case with you, it is about time you learn that branding is much more than logo and fame. Don’t let such a misunderstanding ever ruin your business because it has the potential to do so.
Actually branding is more about abstract ideas and emotions that represent your brand. Branding covers all those promises that your brand makes with the customers and all the dreams that you show them. Branding also covers the aura and perception that your brand’s name and existence delivers and what people generally think of your brand. You are supposed to convert all these abstracts and emotions in a visual or verbal form since that is the only way you can carry out branding to develop your brand.
While all such things might look of no such value to you, these are the things that make your business actually yours and get people to trust it. The kind of branding you do is what makes you superior or inferior to the competitor brands in the eyes of your potential customers. Your branding is your gateway to connect with people and impress your potential clients. If done the right way, branding can help the business achieve:
- More sales
- Trust of the customers
- Better reputation in the market
- Better profits
- More success
And much more.
Now that you are a bit clear on what branding is, we should move ahead and discuss other aspects that relate to this idea of branding so that you become better at branding your business the right way.
But before that, let us look at the factors that make branding your business a necessity once you have established your brand and its working
The importance of branding
When entering the market, your goal is to be known. You want to build a brand that has loyal customers and is trusted by people far and wide. All such factors are achievable only if you do the right kind of branding. Branding is important because it helps us and our brands achieve the following:
- Standing out among your competitors: No matter how creative or unique you think your product and services are, there is always going to be somewhere out there in the market who would be giving you very tough competition. You can’t expect yourself to focus on bringing in client loyalty and providing people with the best value while you are focused on avoiding competition. This is where branding comes as your savior and helps you stand out with your brand despite all the competitors. Branding helps define your differences between people and brands. It shows how you are special and what difference do you have from others. Showing all of these helps your clients recognize your brand no matter how many competitors exist out there.
- Building your peculiar repute and recognition: A successful brand is one that is easily recognizable and is so well-known that people can simply recognize it from its logo or slogans. If done the right way, branding helps you get this recognition very easily and in a very short span of time. You just have to find the right person who would put in all the possible creative sense in making your logo, websites, banners, and other such visual branding elements and over time, in fact very soon, your brand would become a household name. Who knows, your logo might cross Nike’s swoosh mark in fame with people adoring it on their clothes and bags? I mean, that seems like a hard thing but we should dream big, shouldn’t we?
- Leaving a consistent impression on your clients: What would happen if you invest in a brand’s service and it is so exceptional that you go back to them but your second experience turns out trashy? Obviously, you won’t consider buying anything again from that brand because of its inconsistent delivering quality. The same would happen to your clients if their experience with your brand is not consistent. They would simply avoid coming back and would not refer your brand to any of their friends too. You don’t want such a thing to happen and that is why you should step up your branding game. One way to keep your image consistent in the eyes of your clients is to stay in a consistent touch with them. You can do so via your website, events, social media pages, and whatever else comes under branding. Other than providing your clients with excellent quality in services and products every time, staying in touch with them in a consistent manner helps keep your brand’s consistency alive.
- Sparking client connection and loyalty: There is so much that you can do with the right kind of visual branding. Brands don’t really realize how important is the nature of connection that it shares with their clients in building the brand over time. The right kind of branding is the only thing that can build your loyal and trustworthy image in the eyes of your clients. You can foster a very amazing connection with your clients only if you put some extra effort in understanding the color psychology and linking the branding visuals to your brand’s values under such an understanding. Doing so, your clients will become loyal to your brand and would keep on coming back, which is the best thing that can ever happen to a brand.
Source: MBA CHEATS
What Is Brand Voice
When we talk of branding and image, one thing we often miss is building an understanding of the brand voice. Brand voice is one of the most important components of branding, and unless you understand it, you cannot really expect yourself to be at home in branding ever.
Basically, brand voice refers to the nature and kind of communication that you develop with your clients. It encompasses the message and the level of formality that you want to keep with your clients and that reflects your brand’s over-all aura. Whether all your marketing tools and campaigns as well as your brand image needs to be sophisticated and detached or whether it needs to be frank and upfront, building a close relationship with the brand and factors that relate to such a decision are all the major determinants of your brand’s voice.
Once you are done on deciding your brand’s persona, that would obviously be related to what your brand represents and what kind of market it is operating in, you need to work out a perfect brand voicing plan. You need to decide:
- The tone that you would use in your messages
- The formality level that your brand wants to exude through communication
- The personality that you want to represent through your brand
- What major factors you want your brand to be remembered as
All these factors would help build a solid brand voice for your brand and would help your establish exactly the kind of relationship that you wanted to with your customers. It is always a good idea to stick to whatever brand voice you chose at the beginning. Try to go with something distinctive, not too difficult, unique, and somewhat interesting as your brand’s persona and choose the similar kind of voicing elements to go with consistency.
If you are confused about the kind of voice to choose for your brand, the best way to figure yourself out is to understand your brand as a living, talking, and expressive human being. Now try to figure out what would work best for this person if he or she is marketing your brand and its services. Go for something that you think would impact the listener the most. Others ways to establish a useful and impact voice is to use your brand as a means to address the societal concerns and to bring about a positive revolution that your surrounding needs badly. However, this should be done carefully as your brand does not want to be political or capture any remorseful feelings
Source: Blueprint brands
Now that I have talked about one of the most important component of branding and you are quite clear on what is brand Voice, let us go a bit ahead and clear your confusions on the types of branding strategies, but wait, why don’t be discuss a few other branding components before that? Let us do it here below:
Logo: This is certainly the most important (but definitely not the only one) component of branding. Your logo is your gateway to fame. You cannot expect your brand to be recognized unless it has a logo. I can go on lengths about the benefits of logo but let us just stick to naming the elements of branding here as we have other important things to discuss too.
Brand imagery: Somewhat similar to logo, but much more than that is a brand’s imagery that determines where your branding would work the most and how would it work. Brand imagery basically refers to the images and themes that you would use in communicating with your audience. These themes can either be content-based of color-based and your logo is also usually revolving around these themes too. Your brand’s imagery basically communicates your brand’s identity and determines what kind of image your brand would have in the mind of your clients. One mistake that people make is that they don’t really differentiate between the imagery and the image of the brand. Your image is a larger whole that determines everything about your brand. The imagery, on the other hand, is a sub-part that helps construct the brand’s image.
Brand personality: I have already talked about it above but let us just go through its basics once again. Basically your brand’s personality is the tool to make it stand out and that is why its understanding is important for you. Again, consider your brand as a human and see what aspects of its personality would propagate its image in the most. Whatever image you find the best should be your brands persona that you get famous through the right branding.
Mission and Vision: When people are trying to make an investment in a new brand for the first time, they are likely to see the brand’s mission and visions with detailed care. Your brand’s mission and vision have the power to attract or repel people from your brand and, therefore, you should take a lot of care in defining these two things. These two statements should be there on your brand’s website and should be accessible to everyone. Also, try to keep these realistic and easy to understand so that the one who reads them gets clear on your brand rather than getting more confused.
Brand’s guide: Whatever mission and vision you choose for your brand determines the kind of rules and laws that you would set for it. Also called the brand’s Bible, your brand’s guide needs to be clear enough and should be easily accessible to everyone in the form of a document that they can read to figure out your brand’s persona. You brand’s guide helps you attract more clients since it is a chance to show case your professionalism and principles.
Website: If you are here, chances are, you would already have a website. If don’t, you are not doing this branding thing right. A brand without a website is not something clients usually accept. This is why you need to have an engaging, complete, and an easy to use website. This website is your space to exude your brand’s class and communicate with your customers. You can put in all your brand’s most reputable factors here, this creating a sense of branding that was never there before.
This was indeed an exhaustive list of branding components. Every brand is different and, depending upon what it does, it might need a whole lot of other branding tools. You can even increase this list to add in things like packaging and business cards. You can even bring in social media strategies, PRs, and much more.
Types of Branding Strategies
Now something as great as branding with so many components cannot be done all on its own. Your brand’s strategy will define what, who, where, and when about the message and ideas that you want your brand to exude. Depending upon what kind of business you own and what is your brand’s purpose, your branding can be roughly put in one of the following types of branding strategies:
- Corporate branding: Corporate branding gives more importance to the entire corporation under which the brand falls rather than focusing just on the specific branch of the brand or on a single product. Corporate branding is usually used by companies that are huge with a lot of sub-brands. It helps them assert the fact that since their parent corporation is great and widely loved, there is no reason that the sub-brands of singular products would be shady. Even when not all brands can opt for this branding type, it is quite a successful strategy but requires years to be built.
- Individual branding: As its name indicates, this branding strategy is the opposite of corporate one. In this type of branding, the companies rely on their parent corporations’ repute in rather a subtle manner and assert their product or line’s value more. However, it is already understood that the product belongs to the famous brand, thus it would be great. This natural understanding helps the brand focus more on the newer products and their branding only and thus eases the task a bit.
- Product branding: In such a branding type, the brand only focuses on a single product to make it famous. Consider how the word Vaseline is now used synonymous with the lip petroleum jelly or the word pampers is now used for baby diapers. This must have happened as a result of successful product branding.
- Personal branding: Please don’t confuse it with individual branding since both are poles apart. Personal branding is a strategy where you create your brand around a person rather than praising the products of parent brand. You choose a few important celebrities to endorse your brand its representatives. Whatever then your clients believe in is a result of that public figure’s image. However, such a branding strategy is now failing in the recent years due to an awareness that most celebrities are just associated to a brand on the basis of money and personal relations and are rarely concerned about the quality the endorse so blindly.
- Co-branding: This one is quite obvious by its name. It refers to two companies sharing their branding by creating a joint service or produce. This way, the repute of both the companies is translated into the branding of a new venture or product that attracts more and more people.
- No brand branding: More commonly referred to as “minimalist branding”, the no brand branding is a unique and quite an affordable strategy of branding that many brands are now opting for. In such a branding, you tend to assume that your product is the only thing about itself and it should be enough to make a room for itself in the thriving market. Rather than relying on the brand’s fame or a parent group’s repute, you assume that your minimalism will draw the audience towards you. This is why you keep things generic and simple, without going overboard with your branding.
- Geographical branding: If your brand is famous far and wide with its offices in almost all the regions, then this is the kind of branding you need to go for. In this kind of branding, you opt for a branding technique and kind depending upon the region you are in. You take up that particular region’s cultural, political, and social trends and try incorporating them in your branding elements. This way, people feel a sense of connection to your brands and are more than just welcoming towards your brand.
- Attitude branding: This is the kind of branding, that you need if your brand’s attitude is something very well-developed and impressive. You can establish your brand’s attitude as positive, friendly, welcoming, and empathetic, and can later incorporate all these things in your branding strategy. This has the power to make people feel like they belong to your brand and your brand belongs to them. Such a branding strategy is also important when you want to establish a relationship of trust and equality with your potential clients and target audience to get them to try out your new product or services. If your brand is recent with no parent-name to support its image, try this branding technique to make yourself known and revered in the community.
- Brand Extension Branding: A very rare and a well lesser-known branding strategy, brand extension branding is aimed at helping brands extend their services and products to newer places. It can also be opted for when an already well-established brand is staring out a sub-version or rolling out a new product. Using brand extension strategy with effective planning and a creative mindset (of course along with going strong and perfect quality-wise in terms of whatever you provide your buyers with) can help you achieve success with all your new ventures no matter where you go. Such a branding strategy has been successfully used by several clothing companies that are launching a new line of attire. In such a case, the products can be new and different but should relate to the existing brand in one way or the other to work the best.
- Private-Label Branding: This kind of branding is used to help brands compete with bigger fishes in their markets. A brand can opt for endorsing the products of a famed brand and selling them alongside developing a replicated, low prices, or drug store version of the same product to give those looking for a cheaper option to invest in something worth investing. Many stores and supermarkets go with such a strategy especially when they are endorsing multiple bigger brands in the same shelf.
And the list can keep on going on and on. Please know that none of these is a hard and fast kind of branding that you need to be following in entirety. Depending upon the nature of brand you own and the kind of branding you aim to carry out, you can either go with a mixture of all these types, can mix and match some while leaving others in entirety, and can take up the most beneficial features of each to create your own unique road towards your brand’s success.