Branding began in the cattle fields. Stay with us, it’s a true story.
Farmers realised that they needed to be able to identify their own cattle – just in case they wandered off down the pub for a pint, or went to visit their pal in the next door neighbour’s field. Ok maybe not the pub bit, but you get the idea, they needed to be able to identify them – so they ‘branded’ them, putting a distinctive mark on their cattle. Branding also became popular back when things like sugar were sold at markets in barrels. The people selling the products wanted customers to have a way of identifying them when they came back for more, having liked their product so again they marked the barrels.
So to summarise (cattle and sugar aside), branding was (and still is) a way of helping people identify one thing from another of a similar type.
But what is branding now and how has it evolved?
Well the original premise still stands – branding helps people identify your company, product or service from a competitor’s. But with the internet, social media, online shopping and savvy people, branding needs much more than a logo now. Brands have style and personality and they are constantly engaging audiences across multiple channels – online, in print, in person – you name it, the biggest brands interact with people on a daily, sometimes hourly basis.
Essentially, branding as it stands today is the thing that makes a business more human – and therefore it makes companies more engaging, more unique, more attractive and more recognisable.
Branding has many different elements though, which (ta-daaaaah) we have listed below for you in a checklist style. So if you’re about to embark on a branding journey – this will hopefully come in pretty handy. Grab a cuppa first though – just because everything is better with a cuppa in hand, or maybe you could have a brandy? Sorry, bad cheesy joke – we couldn’t resist. Anyway – enjoy.
Products & Services
This is pretty obvious, but what your business offers has a lot to do with the direction of your brand. Before creating a brand, it’s good to decide the direction you’re wanting to take, then build a foundation from there.
Some say logo, we say brand mark. Why? Because when it’s truly part of an overall brand, that has all the other bits we’ve listed here, it becomes much more than a logo. A Brand Mark is like your company’s face – people will use it to identify you, and to a certain extent to suss you out a wee bit. So while a brand mark certainly can’t do it all, it’s still an essential part of the branding process.
Ever wonder why you need,need,need to buy that new pair of trainers, or have an unexpected but painful got-to-eat-it-now-or-I’ll-implode craving for chilli cheese fries with extra cheese? We’re a bunch of visual types, us humans, and when something looks good, we want it. From photography to graphic design and advertorials, your visual style is first thing they’ll see.
Tone of Voice
Not only should your brand look sexy, but it should sound sexy too (like Marvin Gaye in Let’s Get it On). People relate to brands that sound like people and have a consistent tone of voice. Sounds obvious, but you’ll be surprised by how often this is overlooked.
Your website is like a window to your brand – think of it as the mothership. Nail your website and the rest will follow.
Your communication strategy is pretty much what it says on the tin – how is your brand going to communicate with the outside world? Are you going to use social media or print advertising? Are you going for a modern approach or something more traditional? Psssst, not pointing any elbows, but if you need a hand with social media, we can help.
Despite how pretty the packaging is, it’s what’s on the inside that counts (that’s what our Grannies always told us). Sure, a great visual style is what will draw them in, but a cracking personality is what will make them stay. That’s where brand loyalty is built, amigos.
Brand values reflect what your business puts at the tippy-top of their priority list. The thing with brand values is that companies tend to go for the obvious, rather than really thinking about what they want to project.
Your brand culture is the place where your personality and values meet, it’s all about how things are done in your brand. If your brand reflects a fun, vibrant personality with “collaboration” as a top value, then your culture will project a fun place to work, that encourages your team to express their opinions and have a say in what’s going on. See, it’s all coming together.
They say you’re only ever as good as your team and honestly, whoever ‘they’ are, they sure know their stuff. It’s true, your team are going to be representing you and your business every single day. Think about the type of person you want to hire and don’t settle for less, they’re as much a part of your brand as everything else.
Collaboration to business is like milk to double-stuff Oreos, although optional, it makes things even better. Think about the businesses you want to associate with, how can they can have a positive impact on your brand and how your brand can have a positive impact on theirs.
Your visual style is enough to stop traffic, your team are a bunch of super heroes and your business has more personality than you can shake a stick at, but your office is a bit blah. Creating an environment that reflects your brand is the cherry on top of the big sticky branding sundae. So head to Pinterest for some inspo and get creative.
Need help creating your brand? Get in touch with our team now: firstname.lastname@example.org