What is Branding?
As per Branding Mag: Branding is the perpetual process of identifying, creating, and managing the cumulative assets and actions that shape the perception of a brand in stakeholders’ minds.
This definition is a particularly important one, as it clarifies that branding is not a “one and done” action, though many of its aspects may seem to meet that expectation. Even the most iconic brands are in a constant state of analysis and potential change, keeping up to date to better serve their customers.
The Benefits of Branding
Have you ever created a website on one of those template platforms and been offered a free logo? For some, that randomly generated asset is considered “good enough” for branding. If this sounds like you, read on - because it’s not good enough. Branding is a crucial part of running a successful business and without it you’ll be dead in the water.
Think of a successful business. Apple? Coca-Cola? Chances are, their names pop into your head first. But what follows immediately after? I'd be willing to bet their logo comes to mind just as quickly. A strong brand identity ensures that your business is easily recognized and sets you apart from the competition. Take a look at Windows vs Apple, or Coca-Cola vs Pepsi - their branding strategies are distinctly different.
When it comes to brands like Windows vs Apple or iPhone vs Android, people tend to strongly favor one over the other. Branding plays a big role in creating this loyalty, as it represents what the company stands for and what they offer. While features and user experience are important, strong branding can create referrals and long-term customer loyalty.
Consistent branding not only creates loyal customers but also loyal employees. As an employer, Apple fosters a sense of exclusivity among its employees, starting from the interview stage and reinforced by branded merchandise. This sense of being part of a prestigious brand's staff-only club helps build loyalty.
Branding guides your advertising and keeps you focused on your goals, defining your direction. Your brand image and values help you know what to strive for at every step, building clarity and direction for your business.
Branding vs Marketing
Branding is like your home base, creating your company's identity and cultivating how others feel about it. Marketing is what happens when you step out the door, using your brand to win over new customers. Just like getting dressed for the day, building a strong brand helps you enter the world with strength and confidence, ready to grow your customer base.
Key Elements of Good Branding
So - why are the brands I’ve been mentioning so powerful? This is because they meet the following key elements of good branding:
They deliver clear messaging
They confirm their credibility
They connect on an emotional level
They motivate consumers to purchase
They encourage loyalty after purchase
In 2020, one kind civilian gathered together some Apple ads through history and made them available on Twitter. Take a quick peruse through these and you’ll be able to identify all the above points. While these ads are an example of marketing, you can see how this marketing utilizes Apple’s branding to succeed.
Your Branding Checklist
Powerful branding isn't limited to big companies like Apple or Coca-Cola. Local businesses, grown from the heart, can also have strong branding as owners tend to know their customer base well. With this in mind, how can you get started creating your brand image?
What emotions brought me to where I am today?
If my company were a person, what kind of person would they be?
Follow up: What would this person’s values be?
Who are my competitors?
What does my company do differently?
All businesses need a purpose. A vision. A mission. Values. If you can find an emotional core to your company; define it as a personality, then you have your starting point for branding. Your company’s persona will reflect on your potential customers, helping you to target the right audience, and by analyzing your competition you can determine what to do to stand apart from them.
For fun, try answering this values test as your company, not yourself! Branding is not just important, but fun as well, so it’s a great way to start.
We wish you all the best on your branding journey, and if you need a helping hand to get you going, reach out to your friendly neighborhood Arctic Leaf representative and we can tackle your branding together!
Arctic Leaf is a digital agency with over 10 years of e-commerce experience serving clients of all industries. Our entire team is Baymard UX certified and our amazing developers can build everything from simple Shopify themes to fully custom headless experiences.