There is an almost infinite number of companies on the market, each of them fighting for supremacy. It’s like a lion’s den out there, every one of them trying to rip the others apart and get to that intoxicatingly sweet, fresh, delicious prey named success. How do they differentiate from each other? How do they manage to out-best their opponents? Through branding.
So, what is branding?
You might already have an idea about what branding, but let’s see what the experts say. According to businessdictionary.com, “branding is the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers”.
Let’s say you plan to buy a new apartment. Obviously, you have an idea of where you want to live, you know in which neighborhood you’d like to stay, but you also have some areas you avoid. Why? Because of the way they look, how much green space there is, how expensive the apartments in that area are, how much traffic there is, who else lives there and how high or low the criminality rate is. Some of these things are tangible, some are intangible, but they all contribute to your buying decision. The sum of all these is called branding.
What elements does a brand contain?
Now that you’ve got an idea about what branding is, let’s see what it’s made of. Any brand should contain a mix of different elements that, put together, create a whole. Usually, any company that wants to develop or improve its brand should have a name, tagline, logo and set of rules. These rules are usually comprised in a brand manual or an identity manual, a document that acts like a guideline. Similarly to a law, it regulates the do’s and don’ts regarding the brand identity elements, to help others know how and when to use them in order to maintain a brand’s consistency.
A brand manual should contain everything relevant to a company, from the brand promise, the tone of voice and how communication materials should be written to how to use the logo, how to write the tagline, what fonts and colors can be used.
Remember that branding extends to every aspect of your business, from the way your employees dress and talk to the way they talk to clients, how responsive they are to suggestions or complaints, how fast are the deliveries made etc.
Think about your favorite chocolate bar, the one you always choose when you’re craving something sweet. Why do you choose that brand instead of another? Is it just because of the chocolate’s quality or price? Or is it because you were influenced by some other factors, such as the company’s notoriety, its messages, the emotions associated with its consumption?
To sum it up, a brand is not made merely of its visual identity, it also contains intangible facets, such as its values, its voice, its personality, the messages it transmits or the way it communicates with its target audience.
How to develop a branding campaign
Crafting and implementing a branding strategy is a thorough process that can take up a few months, depending on its complexity. Obviously, creating separate elements of a brand can be accomplished in a shorter amount of time, but developing an integrated branding campaign requires a lot of work. Firstly you have to define the goals or, if you never thought about it, define which is your company’s brand and how should it be built. After that you have to do your research and only afterwards can you start developing the necessary materials. At the end, you have to fine-tune them, to test them and, finally, to implement the campaign.
It is recommended not to do all that work on your own; instead, you should let a team of professional marketers take care of your campaign. Just as you know everything about your business, they know how to make a successful branding strategy.
If you want to see how a brand manual should look like or if you want to set an appointment to talk about your branding strategy, click HERE.