The Magic of Branding
You’ve probably heard it a thousand times: “A brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
A brand is about expectations, consistency and being human:
It’s about setting expectations, so when they’re met, you’re seen as reliable and trustworthy.
It’s about consistency, so when there are deviations from those expectations, they can be explained away as an exception (or even celebrated).
And it’s about being human, because people relate to other people more than they do to corporations or brands.
So how do you build a brand that is trustworthy, credible and all those nice things?
I’ll tell you how and it you don’t need to be a designer.
Discover your purpose
The first step in the branding process is to discover your purpose. Your purpose can be defined by answering these questions:
- What does my company do?
- How does my business serve customers or clients?
- In what areas do I excel, and what are we known for?
- What unique value can I bring to the marketplace?
Once you have a clear understanding of what your business is all about, then it’s time to align your brand strategy with that purpose.
Consider which values are most important to you and how they align with the goals of creating an exceptional customer experience which will help you…
Find your voice
Are you funny? serious? technical? relaxed? courteous? crass?
Your voice is your personality. Your voice is the human side of your brand.
It’s what people will relate to and connect with, because they can see themselves in you. Find your voice by answering two questions:
- What do you want people to think of when they hear your name?
- What makes you different from other providers in your industry?
A good voice establishes authority. A good voice also increases engagement with customers. There are multiple ways to figure out what exactly this means for you:
- Look at the products or services that you offer. Your brand will probably have a certain style of writing associated with it — it may be casual or formal; it may be conversational or corporate; etc.
- Research other companies who do what you do, but better than you do (or vice versa). What makes these brands stand out? Is there anything they all seem to have in common?
- Ask yourself: Who am I trying to reach? If someone were looking up information on me online right now, how would they describe what they found? Does my website match their expectations or not?
Discover your audience
To do this, you need to know who you want to serve.
So how do you find your audience?
How do you understand them?
How do you engage with them?
The only answer is to lurk on reddit, twitter, facebook and linkedin. They’re out there, just put your ear to the ground and find them where they hangout.
Are they entrepreneurs? then they probably have a shopify store, if that’s the case then they follow the shopify account.
Facebook groups are also a treasure trove lurk, listen and ask questions.
Subreddits as well — go to /r/startups if you’re thinking of targetting startup owners so you get an idea of what the culture is.
Remember: there’s no niche too small. Your audience is out there, you just need to find them and listen — hard.
Branding is an opportunity to Illicit an emotion
Branding is the use of a name, term, sign, symbol or design to identify a product or service.
It’s more than just visual design. It’s a consistent and deliberate strategy that creates an emotional response in your customer.
Branding is not just about creating awareness.
It can help you build trust and loyalty with your audience by establishing credibility in their mind during the purchasing process.
In fact, 93% of consumers said they are likely to switch brands if they don’t like how they feel about a company or its products (source).
When you look at branding through this lens,
it makes sense why brands are so important — because people remember them! They remember how a brand makes them feel. From purchaisng a product to customer support.
And if you want people to remember your brand when they come across it again in the future (whether online or offline), then it helps for that brand to illicit an emotion from them:
whether that be joyous excitement for something new & exciting coming out from Apple each year;
happy nostalgia from watching old Disney classics;
prideful integrity towards banking institutions like Wells Fargo who have been around forever so we know exactly what kind of service we’re going get when we go there.
Branding was never about the logo, type or the colorscheme. That’s where companies get it wrong. The brand starts from an emotion ➔ idea ➔ thought ➔ culture.
The logo symbolises what the brand stands for, that’s the result of the emotion, idea and culture.
The logo is the physical manifestation of a brand’s identity, that’s why it needs to be consistent across all mediums (to make sure people know what they’re getting).
It’s not about picking the right font or color scheme; it’s about how you can apply those tools to evoke an emotion in your audience.
Read this post and more on my Typeshare Social Blog