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There have been many times that I have introduced my business as being a digital design company specialising in website design and when I mention branding I get a lot of vacant expressions. “What,” they say “like logos?” And they are not wrong, but I realise that this is the extent of their knowledge about branding. I also get enquiries from prospective clients looking for logo design, but branding is so much more than that and business owners need to know why.
In a nutshell branding is the experience you give to your customers to make them feel a certain way. Although branding may be a combination of visual elements (like a logo), it reflects your business’s mission, values and visions. It represents who you are and what you can do for your customers.
Think of the well known clothing brand, Hollister; an American lifestyle brand aimed at teenagers selling Southern California-inspired casual wear. What comes to mind? Maybe its the logo, the products or the shopping experience? You may have perceptions of the brand being pricey, hipster and overrated or perhaps fashionable, affordable and fun. No matter what, you probably have an opinion which has been constructed by Hollister’s branding techniques.
Let’s look into their stores as this is a huge visual representation of their branding. The exterior is a traditional Californian beach hut with shuttered windows and a porch for the entrance. Already you are experiencing Hollister’s brand and as you delve into the store you continue this experience – the dim lighting, the powerful scent of their perfumes, the walls with videos of young people enjoying life on the California beaches, the staff dressed in summer clothing etc. That is how they encourage their audience to make a sale, despite the fact that a customer may be in the New York store buying summer dresses in the middle of winter, because they make their customers feel as though they have been transported to those sunny and beautiful California beaches.
So once you have identified your business’s branding through its mission, values and visions, the next step is creating a brand identity so that customers can easily recognise your brand. The elements of branding is as follows:
Of course the logo is an essential aspect of your branding. It may be one of the first things your customers see of your business and should have a lasting impression on them. Most iconic logos are the simplest, for example, Google, Apple, Nike and Starbucks. The logo should be the most recognisable aspect of your brand so it is important for your logo to represent your business in a simple yet effective way.
Most businesses have an alternative logo that you may not even be aware of. The reason why having more than one type of logo is important is so that you can use them for different purposes. For example, their is so much space on a website for your primary logo but on your social media profile pictures you will need a condensed logo to be able to fit within the limit.
Google example of different logos:
Every business should have at least 2-3 different types of fonts that they use throughout their website or advertising material like business cards, flyers or letterheads and social media posts. By using the same fonts it keeps your brand consistent and customers may be able to identify your brand through your advertisement simply due to the fonts used.
Can you name these brands from the fonts on their advertisements?
Most iconic brands use 2-3 colours in the branding and research into colour psychology so that they can make their customers feel a certain way. For example, McDonald’s we all know is yellow and red. The colour red is supposedly meant to make you feel hungry whilst yellow makes you feel happy. Starbucks pride themselves on trying to be more eco-friendly and so their logo being green helps reflect this.
Colour is such an important part of your brand as ‘consumers make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing and that between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based on colour alone.’ Also, ‘brand recognition can be increased by up to 80% by effective use of colour throughout marketing, packaging and logo design.’ *
Adding secondary elements to your brand helps it all tie in nicely together. Graphic elements include shapes, icons, graphics, lines and patterns which can be used for packaging, on your website, stationery and advertising materials. For Azalea, the texture is the grey marble which we include on our website, business cards, social media headings and letterhead. Our graphic elements include the floral graphics and the polka dot lines. See how many times you spot these elements on our website alone.
Although most brand strategists don’t usually include this in their branding services, photography is super important in helping reflect your brand. Images are used everywhere for companies, like stores, social media, website and advertising materials. Images speak a thousand words and the human brain processes images 60,000 times quicker than text . You should be aiming to include high quality and copyright free images into your branding.
A branding style board and guide is a way to present your branding and most brand stylists will include this in their branding service. A branding style guide is a document that shows all of your branding aspects and can act as an overview of your brand. The branding style guide is a more detailed document that shows you how to use the different elements effectively. These are both really useful to refer back to when designing other materials for your brand so that it stays true and cohesive with your brand.
I think that most business owners underestimate the importance of identifying the purpose of their business and how reflecting this through their branding can really drive a business to success.
A business that stays consistent with its services and products and branding can guarantee returning customers as they will know what to expect and can trust the company.
Your logo is practically the face of your business so of course, this is the best and easiest way to gain recognition from your customers. Just ensure that your logo represents you business and is strategically designed.
Not all business are identical which means neither is their branding. Therefore use this to your advantage to create a polished and unique brand to make you stand out from your competitors.
As mentioned before, branding is an experience and through the designs of your brand you control how you want your customers to feel and respond to your business. This can be used through your logo, colour palette or font combinations
It leaves a lasting impression on your customers and thus increases your brand awareness.
By having a polished and consistent brand in place it helps you build trust with your customers as you will come across professional and legitimate.
Branding is the basis of your business and incorporates everything your business is and strives for. This therefore helps when creating marketing strategies and designing advertising materials and keeping them relevant and cohesive.
Does your branding reflect your business’s mission, values and visions? Do you love your logo? Are you attracting your target audience? Is your brand helping you achieve your business goals?
Answers: 1) O2 2) Nandos 3) Calvin Klein 2) Nike
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I'm Ashlea and I'm super passionate about helping ambitious women, like you, ditch the 'standard 9-5' to create a life and business of their dreams.
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