What is Branding?
Branding is the process of building a brand. But what is a brand? To fully understand what a brand is, there are some other terms to get familiarized with. Let me walk you through this design terminology.
As a designer, I can create a brand identity. Your brand identity includes the visual elements your brand uses to represent itself, along with its voice, tone, and messaging. This works the same way as personal identity. For a job interview, you make yourself look presentable and try to speak confidently and clearly to give the perception that you are professional, skilled, and the right person for the job. You are establishing an identity with that potential employer. You need to do the same for your business. Your business should use every tool available to let people know what you do, why you do it, and who it's for. Like a potential employer, if your clients or customers aren't convinced that you can adequately serve them or give them the product they need, they will pass you over and go to someone else.
The Ideal Consumer
Your ideal consumer is the person who sees you as a solution. They will love what your business offers, recommend it to other people, and will become a loyal patron. To build your brand, it's important that you identify who this consumer is. When you identify your ideal consumer, you discover your target audience. By knowing your target audience, you can create a brand identity geared towards attracting them. These targets are the ones who will ultimately create your brand by how they perceive your business.
Yes, your brand is how your audience perceives your business.
This is why it's important to consider every point of contact you have with your audience as an opportunity to guide their perception and, in turn, guide the formation of your brand.
How to Build a Brand
To build a brand you need to examine your business goals. You should have a mission statement that summarizes these goals. Your mission statement is the core that a brand should be built around. All the arms of your brand should support this core statement.
When I engage in a branding project, I do a business evaluation by asking a series of questions. This helps me gather the information I need so that I can design effectively for the business's ideal consumer. It also will help you form your mission statement if you don't have one already. From there, l roll into creating the visual elements of the brand identity, including:
- Logo design
- Color systems
- Collateral items
- Image styles
My work as a designer ends around here, but the work to build your brand doesn't. As I said, you should utilize every point of contact to build your brand. A few points of contact to consider are:
- How you greet customers when they walk into your establishment
- How you deliver your services or goods
- How you answer your phone or respond to emails
- What they read about your business
- What they hear about your business
- How your establishment looks
You have full control over how you operate your business. However, you can't control what people say or write. You can only influence them and respond.
Building a brand is no easy task and it's a task that's never really completed. You need to stay on top of it. Industries change as the needs and interests of the consumers change. Always keep an eye on your ideal consumer and evaluate your business periodically to make sure it's still appealing to them. Doing these things will help you shape your brand so that it is strong and aligned with your mission.