Tools and insights to help you define your branding needs.
WHAT IS A BRAND?
Back in the day, a brand was considered to be a logo, a product or some sort of identifier or physical mark on a product or service. Today, the word brand implies a holistic interpretation. It is the sum of well thought out plans, characterized guidelines, goals, and objectives that are fueled by your target audience. Brands are concepts or ideas that provoke emotions and mental associations the can be imprinted in society for generations.
Balancing the harmony between the brand owner and consumer is determined by every touchpoint. The journey makes for infinite possibilities constantly defined and redefined by brand owners and their understanding of the consumers who love their brands.
WHAT IS BRANDING?
Now that we’ve discussed what a brand is, the act of branding getting your audience to resonate and associate with your brand. Branding is more than a logo, website or a few social media posts. Branding is how you feel, how you make your audience feel, how you sound, what you do and what you stand for.
Many companies associate branding with marketing. But branding and marketing are like second cousins. Marketing involves the steps you take to engage your audience to buy your product or join your community. Branding is the action verb for defining your company, outlining your purpose, aligning your look and feel with your voice and tone.
But let’s be clear. Once your brand is established and you’ve outlined essentials like target audience, values, mission, products, services, everything you do thereafter is branding. The way you converse about your brand, the vendors and partners you align with, the way you share your business on social media—it’s all branding.
WHAT IS A PERSONAL BRAND?
A personal brand is your individual story, what you stand for, believe in, the values you embrace and how you communicate those values. Your personal brand should highlight your principles, strengths and speak to your target audience or potential tribe of supporters or followers.
Personal brands are very similar to a corporate brand in that you must express your value to customers and distinguish yourself from competitors. Both corporate and personal brands are unique identities, that thrive when they show clear value to consumers or clients.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF POWERFUL BRANDING?
Sets you apart from the competition
Generates new business opportunities
Promotes longevity and staying power
Increases company value
Inspires your team and community
WHAT IS BRAND DISCOVERY?
Brand discovery is about establishing, brand authenticity. It’s your own research project designed to answer these questions:
Who we are?
Who do we say we are?
What do outsiders say we are?
With strategic methods from focus groups, in-depth competitor analysis, to auditing existing materials or surveys you can embark on a journey to build the foundation for your brand. You wouldn’t build your house on unsteady ground, your brand should be treated with the same care.
WHAT IS A BRAND STRATEGY AND WHY DO I NEED IT?
Branding is an abstract term, draped in layers of nuances and emotions. Sounds poetic and dreamy, right? Exploring such levels of complexity does not magically happen overnight. It's a process, that is one of the first exercises founders, entrepreneurs, and business owners should complete.
Strong, lasting, culturally impactful are rooted in strategy. Brand strategy is the blueprint that provides, guidance and purpose as to what your business stands for and where and how you communicate with your audience. Depending on the type of brand you're developing brand strategy includes elements such as mission statement, brand positioning, tone, target audience, brand promise, values and other key factors that help define your brand's unique value proposition.
Brand messaging, where and how you communicate with your target audience and potential consumers is what makes your brand unique. Cohesive brand strategy is the foundation for establishing a valuable timeless brand.
WHAT IS BRAND IDENTITY?
You hear the word branding and it all sounds the same. Brand identity is the image you present to your audience and consumers. It creates a positive user experience and it includes your logo, color palette, collateral and is the consistency between your visuals and messaging. Your brand identity should evoke emotions while allowing you to understand how your consumers feel.
WHAT IS BRAND POSITIONING?
Brand positioning is how your brand appears in the market. After conducting a comprehensive competitive analysis you can start to imagine how you will make your brand stand out by highlighting positive differences. During the positioning process, you’ll establish what makes consumers tell their friends about you and what you need to do to continue to keep them loyal and engaged. While brand identity and brand positioning are closely related, understanding your brand’s position in the market is the first step, before you embark on the visual design journey.
WHY IS BRAND STRATEGY IMPORTANT FOR WEB DESIGN?
Imagine discovering an awesome environmentally conscious non-profit brand on Instagram. Your favorite stars support the cause and the brand story is aligned with your values. You head to their website because you want to see how you can help, but their website doesn't look as credible as their IG page. You are left to wonder is this even the same brand from social media? Is the story real?
Websites play an important role in the visual journey and experience you provide your audience. The impression you make with your website could determine a lead from a sale and turn followers into believers. In order to achieve optimal website success, it should be rooted in your strategy; do you understand your audience and the market? Great website design will generate leads,, boost brand awareness and increase engagement and time spent on your site.
HOW MUCH DOES BRANDING COST FOR STARTUPS?
Branding is an abstract art every business must embrace to thrive. Most startups should invest in branding before devoting resources to social media marketing, product launches, or influencer marketing. Your journey to brand legacy starts with a strategy to define your brand ethos, your purpose, what you stand for and the overall long-term goals for your brand.
If you're launching in a vastly competitive market, such as the Cannabis or the beauty industry, have you identified your competitors? Brand discovery and understanding of the marketplace are essential parts of the branding process. You know you need a website, right? The website developer will need to need to spend time manifesting your brand identity, your look, feel and color palette, and your logo or icon. You'll have to work with the web developer to clarify your user flow and experience too. How will your consumers navigate your site? What do you want them to do on your site? Buy a product? Fill out a form?
All of these details are considering branding. Developing a brand takes time and resources. Most branding budgets range from $5000 for strategy and website development to $50,000 for more SMB websites and eCommerce sites that require more detail strategy and in-depth analysis. In conclusion, branding is a vital business investment, but you should always be mindful of your budget. Try to allow 10 to 20 percent or your initial startup fund for laying a solid foundation for your business to last.