What is a Brand?
A brand, at its core, is immaterial. It’s about the abstract attributes and values which present themselves in concrete ways. It is the sum of all interactions between a company’s products, service, company, or stakeholders. Or, “a brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers”, as defined by the American Marketing Association.
Branding = Art + Science
A brand is not simply a logo. Your brand is the resulting feeling or perception created from all of the visual and audio communications that are used to portray the personality of your company and the products and services you create. The logo is a symbol that stands for all that the brand represents. Your Brand is the Mix Between a Science + Art. The result of which is the instinctive or intuitive perception or feeling that distinguishes your company in the market.
You can consider a brand as the idea that a person has in mind when thinking about specific products or services, both in a practical (e.g. “the golf-club is light-weight”) and emotional way (e.g. “the golf-club makes me feel more skilled”). It is therefore not just the physical attribute that forms a brand but also the feelings that customers develop regarding the company’s product or service. This combination of a physical and emotional experience is triggered when exposed to the logo, the visual imagery, the name, or even the message communicated. Your brand is a relationship based on the past experiences and future expectations between you and your customers. It is defined by functional and emotional benefits and should be intended to influence customer behavior.
Therefore, it is critical for companies to build a strong brand positioning strategy. Without a comprehensive, well-defined brand strategy and identity, your audience might not understand who you are and what your company represents.
Building Your Brand
Branding is the process of applying meaning to specific products or services through creating and shaping a perception of a brand in consumers’ minds. It is a strategy designed by companies to help people to quickly identify their products and/or company. It also gives consumers a reason to choose one product over another by clarifying what a brand is and is not. It is what makes one brand stand out from another.
The Strategy (Science)
When approaching your brand, it is important to recognize the challenge that requires implementation of a robust strategy to achieve success. Your brand must align with the products, services and markets your company that your company creatives and engages with. Good branding takes all parks into consideration, from the way the company behaves (brand personality) to the way the company looks (visual perception).
The Identity (Art)
This is the visual representation of your brand. It is all of the visual and audio communications that are incorporated in all marketing collateral, such as sales literature, websites, signage, etc. The visual approach, such as the images, colors, and fonts that are used, significantly contributes to how the brand identity of the organization is perceived.
The Position (Emotional Appeal)
How we define the brand’s unique capabilities and approach to delivering benefits, the benefits the brand delivers to the target audiences, the tangible things the brand can point to that prove that it can consistently deliver on its promise. The objective is to attract and retain loyal customers by delivering a product that is always aligned with what the brand promises.
You can communicate with various tools to create and shape your brand:
- Advertising & Communications
- Product & Packaging Design
- In-Store Experience
- Visual Identity
Why do companies need a strong brand identity? In a fast-paced and overcrowded marketplace, our brains create shortcuts for making decisions and are why you need to have a strong brand foundation. Your brand identity is how your audience perceives your company, products, and services. It is the “face of your business” and is the mental box your customer puts you in when they are thinking about buying what you’re selling. For example, when I say the word “soda” – what do you think about first? What image comes to your mind? Is it a can of Coca-Cola or a 2-liter of Mountain Dew? “Branding is endowing products and services with the power of a brand” (Kotler & Keller, 2015).