If you’re already dabbling in marketing, you might have heard that features don’t sell; experiences do. That’s what most professional marketers focus on to sell the experience that customers go through when browsing their products and services. Your brand identity defines this experience.
Branding can do wonders for your business, and it’s the tool that enables you to market your business correctly. Over the years, we have mastered the art of branding to deliver maximum results to our clients, and today, our branding specialists at Brandria give you this detailed guide to cover all the topics you need to know about branding.
Let’s dive right in!
What Is Brand?
Your brand is your company’s story; it is the tool you use to make sure your business shines amid hundreds of brands that provide the same or similar products and services that you sell. The brand identity of your brand has one goal: to leave a positive impression on your customers and prospects, enough to make you the preferred option when considering purchasing your product.
Think of your brand as a tool to communicate your vision, values, and goals with your prospects, as it clarifies what your company does and what values are implemented in this process. Your branding defines the experience that your customers feel and go through when interacting with your business.
What Is Branding?
Branding is the continuous process of creating a prospered brand identity for your business. As you deliver your brand identity, you must deliver materials that support your brand, such as brand visuals (Logo, color palettes, visual designs) and other elements such as taglines, tone of voice, websites, and more.
Branding your business is to give it the right tools it needs to increase in popularity and profits. Branding is present in every aspect of your business and brand identity, from the most minor aspects of your marketing strategy, such as social media captions, to the most vital parts of your business, such as packaging and websites.
Creating a solid brand is creating a strong brand identity that lies in every aspect of your business and outside it. Your name has value beyond just being a label for your business; once you understand that and start implementing a strong brand identity, success will only be the next logical step in your future.
Here’s food for thought: what brand comes to mind when you think of luxury and exclusivity? Most of you would guess Apple, and it’s not because they sell outstanding features and products. It’s because they have one of the most recognizable brand identities ever.
Associating your business with a certain quality and solution can take much time and effort, but the payoff is worth it!
Make no mistake, however. You shouldn’t combine branding and marketing under the same category. While the two can seem very similar, the difference is quite noticeable.
So, what’s the difference between branding and marketing?
Branding And Marketing : What Is The Difference?
Think of your brand as a car. Your branding will be the engine, with marketing being the fuel and the battery that power your engine to run the car.
Branding and marketing are words that often come together in usage, as marketing is the tool to communicate your brand’s identity and vision to your prospects and customers.
There are some fundamental differences between branding and marketing. Here we list some crucial differences:
- Branding is the development of a business’s brand identity, while marketing is the development of campaigns that connect brands to products using the brand identity.
- To build a compelling story that aligns with the company’s values and connects with customers. While marketing focuses more on the tactics that let customers take action.
- The brand identity focuses more on creating a strategy that supports the brand’s identity, while marketing focuses on a strategy that deals with products, services, and campaigns.
- Branding focuses on how your audience feels about your company, while marketing focuses on how your customers interact with your company.
While marketing and branding has immense differences, marketers utilize both tactics, as one can only get results with the other.
When creating a marketing strategy for your brand, it’s crucial to remember that most of a marketer’s work is to perfect the branding of a business to make the marketing job more accessible and attainable.
With that in mind, let’s discuss why branding is important for businesses.
Is Branding Important?
Branding is an important pillar in marketing. As your growth journey starts to become challenging, it is your branding and brand identity that define how you stay in business and connect with your users. Your branding gives your organization an identity and a story, makes your business more memorable, and helps your customers connect with your story.
The importance of branding lies in its benefits. As branding specialists, we’ve created specular brand stories for different brands around the world. Here are some of the benefits we have compiled using our experience over the years:
Influences Buyers’ Decisions
Your branding gives purpose to your business. When you’re creating your brand identity, you need to put a purpose in practice for your products. A recent study by Razorfish has shown that more than 82% of customers make purchasing decisions with a purpose in mind.
This indicates the importance of branding and brand identity in influencing purchasing decisions. So when you’re creating your branding strategy, you need to put in mind your products’ purpose and your brand story.
Creates A Memorable Identity
As we discussed earlier, your brand identity is the story of your brand; it goes beyond your products and services. It’s the story of why you’re in business and why you are selling what you sell. Branding gives your customers and prospects a human face and something to relate to and connect to when interacting with your organization.
Let Customers Remember Your Brand
A simple thought experiment will show you the importance of branding. Think of Google, Amazon, Apple, Nike, Adidas, and many more billion-dollar companies. All that they have in common is an outstanding yet simple brand identity they built and nurtured over the years. Branding is the face of a company and leaves a mark on your prospects’ minds.
Supports Marketing And Advertising
Marketing, advertising, and branding go hand in hand. Your marketing and advertising efforts are not nearly as effective as they can be without distinct branding. It adds recognition to your business and marketing efforts.
Creating A Brand Identity
While branding is mostly creative, it requires solid team efforts and massive organizational skills. The most important thing to have in mind when creating your brand identity is that you have to have the mindset of a brand strategist.
Branding is a continuous process. While you will unleash your creative powers, you will need to repeat most of the steps you will take to have maximum results.
But no need to panic! At Brandria, branding is our specialty. It is in the name, after all. And our branding specialists have devised the perfect six-step plan to create the perfect brand strategy and brand identity for your brand.
Here is the most effective way to approach branding from a marketer’s point of view:
Define Your Audience
You may have grown tired of marketers telling you to identify your target audience. However, identifying your target audience is the most critical step a marketer can take when they’re creating a brand identity or a marketing strategy for their different clients.
As for creating a brand identity, defining your audience opens many doors for your business. It also establishes awareness, recognition, trust, expertise, and revenue.
When you define your target audience to utilize for your branding, it will lead to creating more personalized experiences for your brand identity, leading to more conversions.
A study by HubSpot, one of the leading marketing blogs, has shown that more than 70% of customers say that they’re looking for a personalized experience when interacting or purchasing from a brand.
So, if your brand identity is relative to your customers and prospects, you’re doing it wrong. It doesn’t matter if you’re using top-of-the-line visuals or have the best products ever. If your brand identity is relative and connected to your customers, it won’t connect to your prospects and will lead to lower traffic and conversions.
Set Up A Mission Statement
A mission statement is about way more than a pithy slogan or tagline. It’s the heart and soul of what your brand truly stands for. An effective mission statement expresses the core reason you started your business—what problem you aimed to solve, what need you sought to meet, and the unique impact you want to make on the world.
It encapsulates the ideal difference you hope your brand can create in people’s lives each day. To craft a meaningful mission statement, you have to dig deep within yourself to define your innermost purpose and passion. Refine it until you’ve captured the very essence of what makes your business unlike any other.
The mission statement should fully align with your company’s core values and guiding principles. It acts as a guiding North Star, informing every branding decision and messaging choice you make, big or small.
Keep referring back to your mission statement as you create your branding to ensure you stay true to what you stand for.
A mission statement that authentically resonates with purpose has the power to inspire your staff and connect emotionally with customers. It becomes a touchstone that people can genuinely believe in.
Determine Your Unique Values, Qualities, And Advantages
A key step in developing your brand identity and your branding in general is determining what makes your business truly unique. What values do you follow? What qualities make your business unique? What advantages set you apart from the competition?
Ask yourself these questions and make a detailed list of your differentiators. Maybe it’s an unwavering commitment to quality, personalized customer service, ethical sourcing, or community give-back. Perhaps you pioneer leading-edge innovations or possess specialized expertise. Whatever it is, your unique selling proposition shows precisely why customers should choose you.
Highlight your most powerful differentiators and establish them as the pillars of your brand story. Weave your uniqueness into your messaging consistently. This will help prospects understand why you are the superior option compared to alternatives.
Create Your Visual Assets
Studies show customers evaluate a brand’s visual identity in milliseconds, forming positive or negative impressions instantaneously based on the logo, color palette, fonts, imagery, and other design elements. This emphasizes the immense value of thoughtfully crafted visual assets that align with your brand identity.
Partnering with a talented designer or hiring a digital marketing agency to develop a professional, polished visual identity is an investment that continuously pays off for your brand.
Build your visual brand assets like logos, icons, illustrations, photography, packaging, and graphical elements that bring your brand essence to life. During this phase, optimize these elements for both digital and print use.
When visuals authentically reflect your brand story and personality, recognition dramatically improves.
Next, maintain consistency with a comprehensive brand style guide governing correct visual asset implementation across touchpoints. From websites to brochures, visual branding should be instantly recognizable. Consider templates for on-brand marketing materials, signage, presentations, apparel, and more.
Apply your visual identity extensively, especially in customer-facing touchpoints. A cohesive visual presence communicates professionalism and builds trust. When you integrate visual assets that genuinely reflect your brand, you make an impression that lasts.
Distinguish Your Tone of Voice
Your brand’s tone of voice is the most distinctive thing about your brand. It should capture the very essence of your personality and resonate with your core audience. Determine the voice that feels intuitively right for your brand. Is it formal or casual? Funny or sincere? Knowledgeable or friendly? Only you and your marketing team can define the attitude, character, and style you wish to convey for your brand.
Next, consider vocabulary, sentence structure, idioms, cultural references, and formatting. Your tone may trend toward short, punchy phrases or elegant, descriptive passages. It could incorporate industry lingo or avoid jargon entirely. Setting your target audience is crucial to your brand’s tone of voice as it can determine how you handle trends, slang, and the length of your messaging.
Consistency is key when it comes to your brand’s tone of voice. Whether social media captions, website copy, radio spots, or print ads, customers should instantly recognize your distinct brand voice. Work with talented copywriters to produce messaging aligned with your brand tone guidelines.
An authentic, memorable brand voice connects on an emotional level. It feels like a conversation customers want to join versus one-sided marketing spam. Take the time to find your voice and confidently put it to work, building rapport and trust with your audience.
The Post-Branding Process
After refining all the critical elements of your brand identity, it’s now time to implement your branding. Start by training staff to correctly implement branding across customer touchpoints. Provide guidelines, resources, and coaching until your unique voice, visual assets, and core messaging are integrated internally.
Next, launch external initiatives to increase brand exposure and recognition. Update online properties like your website, social profiles, and email templates for branding cohesion. Create on-brand signage, packaging, uniforms, swag, and environmental design. Pitch your story to media contacts and insert branded content across channels.
The more exposure customers have to authentic branding, the more likely your message will stick. Think long-term and commit to steady branding amplification versus quick fixes. The brands that earn devoted loyalty have journeys measured in decades rather than months. Trust in your vision and keep branding efforts consistent.
Most business owners feel confused and lost at this point of their marketing; this is why we recommend hiring a digital marketing agency to take all that load away from your shoulders.
Here at Brandria, we’re all about marketing. Perfecting marketing strategies for clients worldwide, we can guarantee that all your marketing and media solutions needs will be handled.
How To Build A Strong Brand Across Different Channels
If there’s something marketers need to learn and learn fast, it is how to build a strong brand identity across different marketing channels. After creating your branding strategy and your brand identity, you will need a plan to implement these unique elements into your platforms.
Our branding experts at Brandria have poured their heart and soul into creating a plan and detailing how you can implement your brand identity elements. The major channels to implement your brand identity are:
- Social Media
- Customer Service
Here’s how to do branding just right in each of these channels:
Humans are visuals by nature. So it’s not surprising when a survey by HubSpot has shown that over 50% of customers think that the most important element of a website is its design. Knowing that you should splash some spark in your website to attract customers. Always remember that your website is the core of your business, so your branding should be evident as day in it.
In today’s digital age, social media channels are the first thing that your customers check about your business when they’re researching your products and services. Conveying your brand identity over your social media channels will increase your brand awareness significantly.
It’s important to keep in mind that most of your customers will probably never have contact with your business outside the packaging of their products. Being the frontier of your business, taking care of your packaging is one of the main appeals of your business and brand identity. Whether your brand identity is meant to be professional, luxurious, authentic, or whatever you decide it to be, it should be clear on the packaging. Let’s take the most obvious example of good packaging. Apple.
Apple is conveying the image of luxury and exclusivity. While their packages don’t have any extravagant designs, their simplicity communicates luxury. When creating your package, think of what you want to communicate with your customers and prospects. And keep in mind that packages are one continuous marketing tool.
Your brand identity is evident in your advertising and marketing strategy. When you’re setting up an advertising plan, whether it’s digital or print, you need to communicate and convey your branding in these ads. It’s proven that paid ads are one of the main sources that drive traffic and increase conversions. Because of this, your ads must tell the story of your brand and be immediately recognized for your brand based on the logos, colors, and visuals.
Sales and Customer Service
According to research by Khoros, good customer service is capable of turning one-time customers into long-term champions. Good customer service comes hand-in-hand with good products and a concrete marketing strategy.
Train your sales and customer service staff to use your brand guidelines to maintain consistency between channels. Whether your customers are inquiring about a certain product, asking for a demo, or just having a general question about your brand, all their responses should be according to a concrete brand identity. Incorporate your logo, color palette, visuals, taglines, imagery, and brand voice in this stage.
What Are Some Brand Terms You Need To Know?
Marketers know that there are some brand terms everyone needs to know in order to master branding and the making of their brand identity. Throughout this article, we have used some terms that are related to branding. While the meaning of these terms might be obvious, our specialists at Brandria have prepared a list of the most important terms you need to know to move up in the branding world.
Brand awareness measures how known your brand is between your target audience and the general public. Businesses with higher brand awareness tend to perform better, going viral or trending. In general, your branding purpose is to achieve higher brand awareness, thus leading to higher levels of conversions.
Brand extension is a strategy where a company utilizes an established brand name when introducing a new product or entering a new product category. The goal is to leverage existing brand equity and recognition to increase consumer acceptance and adoption of the new offering.
By extending a known brand into a complementary category, companies can reduce marketing costs, accelerate uptake, and minimize the risk associated with building a new brand from scratch. However, brand extensions must reinforce the brand promise and align with consumer perceptions, or they risk diluting rather than building upon brand value. When executed thoughtfully, brand extensions provide established brands with a path for growth and exposure to new audiences.
Brand identity encompasses the visuals, messaging, values, and personality that make a brand unique in the minds of its target audience. It is the cumulative set of associations that customers have with a brand, including logo, color palette, tagline, tone of voice, and other intangible assets that differentiate it from competitors. Crafting a distinct and memorable brand identity is essential for connecting emotionally with customers, driving preference for your offerings, and cultivating loyalty over time.
Brand management is the strategic process of building, measuring, and managing brand equity over time. It involves developing a cohesive brand strategy and vision, and then executing integrated marketing programs across channels to shape customer perceptions. Rigorous tracking of brand performance metrics enables marketers to nurture the brand, increase its perceived value, and expand its reach.
This requires constant monitoring of the competitive landscape, adapting to market changes, and reinforcing the brand promise through great products, services, and experiences. The goal of brand management is to drive brand loyalty, boost marketing ROI, and secure a brand’s position as an indispensable asset that contributes to enduring consumer affinity and business growth.
Brand recognition refers to the ability of consumers to correctly identify a brand when exposed to visible brand elements like the name, logo, packaging, or slogan. It signals a basic level of brand awareness and familiarity. If people can recognize your brand among competitors, it means your visual identity and marketing are working to imprint your brand in consumer memory.
However, recognition alone does not necessarily mean preference. The goal is to build brand equity beyond superficial recognition, creating meaningful connections and loyalty.
Brand trust refers to the confidence and reliability that consumers associate with a particular brand. It is built gradually over time through consistent delivery of the brand promise, including providing quality products and services, good value for money, and positive customer experiences. Brands can earn trust by transparently addressing consumer needs and pain points, demonstrating expertise and integrity, and nurturing relationships.
Once established, brand trust becomes a key asset that enhances loyalty, affinity, recommendation, and willingness to give the brand the benefit of the doubt. A high brand trust provides an edge over competitors.
Brand valuation encompasses methods to quantify a brand’s financial value based on current strength, reputation, and predicted future revenue. Valuations help determine the business contribution of branding activities. Strong, reputable brands have higher valuations, as their brand equity boosts customer acquisition, retention, and willingness to pay premium pricing.
Branding Tips For Small Businesses
Every small business requires its marketing and branding plan. Even if your business is still in its earlier stages, a solid branding strategy and marketing tactics will take it from zero to hero. Getting the right brand identity for your business will make a distinct difference in your sales, driving organic traffic to your channels, increasing brand awareness, and achieving more sales.
Humanize your Brand
One of the most common mistakes that marketers fall for is treating their businesses… like businesses. Completely dismissing the human element in their marketing tactics. When creating a branding plan for your organization, make it relatable to your target audience. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers. Will you buy from a brand that only sells to you?
When you’re creating a branding plan for your organization, you need to make it as relatable as possible for your target audience and prospects. Moving forward, this will help you create a consistent look of authenticity and trustworthiness with your customers and prospects.
This will, in turn, drive organic traffic to your social media channels and increase conversions and authority over time.
According to HubSpot, an overwhelming majority of consumers, around 88%, desire authenticity from the brands they choose to support. Consistency is critical for effective branding, as it establishes trust and assures customers of a brand’s genuineness. With consistent branding, companies can avoid inadvertently weakening their brand identities and perplexing their customers.
Successful brands with strong recognition and value consistently focus on unified branding across all platforms and mediums. This allows customers to easily become familiar with, recognize, and develop brand loyalty over time. Implementing detailed brand guidelines can greatly assist in maintaining uniformity. They ensure branding elements like color schemes, fonts, logos, and messaging align across marketing materials, social media, websites, and any other consumer touchpoints.
Build A Solid Brand Strategy
As we discussed in this article, your brand strategy goes beyond your brand guidelines. It sets a plan with specific goals in mind to achieve to grow your brand and organization.
As a small business figuring out its place in a vicious market, your brand identity and strategy are your ultimate weapons. Branding is a continuous process, and it gives your organization a purpose and value to make it last forever.
Don’t Let The Competition Control You
A big part of creating a brand strategy is conducting competitive analysis. However, many small businesses get intimidated when they’re doing competitive analysis on their competitors when they find out how successful and profitable they are.
Competitive analysis is the backbone of your brand strategy; it educates you on the what’s and what’s not of your desired industry. But keep away from complete imitation. If certain brands follow the same formula for their branding, that doesn’t mean that you have to follow that same style. Keep your branding new, fresh, proactive, and unique.
Branding In A Nutshell
Branding is an ongoing journey that requires commitment, consistency, and creativity. For long-term success, branding must be a living, breathing process—not a one-and-done project. Revisit strategies frequently and keep initiatives fresh. Little details make a big difference in showing customers you care. As your business grows, stay agile, listening to feedback while remaining true to your core brand essence.
The brands that thrive are human at their heart, with purpose as their compass. Put your brand’s mission into action each day. With creativity, consistency, and care, you will set your business apart. Let your brand story connect on a deeper level to foster lasting affinity. When branding comes from an authentic place, you have the power to turn customers into brand champions.
Although we’re a decade-old branding specialists, we know the worth of the content others in our space publish in this topic. So we used multiple resources to strengthen our argument in such a broad topic.
Here are some of the references we used to create this guide:
- Andrivet, M. (2023, October 18). What is branding?. The Branding Journal. https://www.thebrandingjournal.com/what-is-branding/
- Decker, A. (2023, March 15). What is branding? understanding its importance in 2023. HubSpot Blog. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/branding
- Markus, J. (n.d.). What is branding? – why is branding important? – get the answers here. Oberlo. https://www.oberlo.com/ecommerce-wiki/branding
- Branding Basics: The what and why (2023). Shopify. (2022, August 15). https://www.shopify.com/blog/what-is-branding
- Kenton, W. (n.d.). Brand: Types of brands and how to create a successful brand identity. Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/brand.asp