To explain Brand marketing in very simple terms Chery Burgess said, “A brand is a reason to choose.”
Though it is not really the explanation of brand marketing, his statement emphasizes the value of a brand. If our pocket allows us, then we always prefer to buy branded products over unbranded products. I don’t need to explain why you choose branded products over unbranded products because you already know that.
You trust the brand as it promises you the best products and best quality. You should consider your brand as your calling card. Your brand defines what you’re known for as a company. It makes your company memorable to the consumers. You should focus on building your brand from the very beginning. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t create a brand if you haven’t done that already. We will discuss how brand marketing can help your business grow faster later in this post.
Let’s first see what a brand is. Though you know what it is, there is more to it than you already know. As the seasoned marketeer say that there is more than what your eyes see in a brand. So, let’s first understand what a brand is, and then we will discuss other things related to brand marketing.
What is a Brand?
Usually when you think of a “brand,” mostly you think about the brand’s logo, slogan, colors, and visuals associated with the brand. Advertisements of brands usually comprise all of these elements that make them memorable for the audience. But it is not all, there is a lot more to it. At least in the 21st century, a brand means a lot more than just a logo, slogans, and brand colors.
Technically a brand is your company’s overall identity, which is built by several factors, including the below ones:
- Your brand’s mission, vision, and values.
- What you offer as a brand (products & services) quality, trust, customer service.
- What differentiates you from your competitors.
- Your brand message, slogan.
- The personality of your brand and the tone you use for communication with the audience.
- Brand colors, logos, crest, pictures, videos you use.
- Most importantly, the reputation of your brand. This is how your audience sees or thinks about your brand.
These are the elements that put together define a brand. Now, let’s see how we can define brand marketing.
What is Brand Marketing?
Simply speaking communicating your Brand Identity is called brand marketing. What does that mean? It means brand marketing is not just about putting up your brand logo anywhere and thinking that you are doing brand marketing.
Rather, brand marketing is about sharing all aspects of your brand. Those aspects comprise your brand’s mission, vision, values, and personality that resonate with your audience in a synchronized way across all platforms including social media, print media, and other forms of marketing and communication channels.
Brand marketing is technically marketing your company in the way you want to represent yourself in the market. Brand marketing is not a short-term marketing goal.
It is obvious that it takes years to establish a brand in the market. Hence, the brand marketing strategy should be focused on long-term goals rather than short-term goals. Later in this post, we will discuss some of the brand marketing strategies. The first among them is to create a strong brand profile.
But before we jump on to that let’s see how brand marketing can help the brand.
Brand Marketing helps the brand:
- Create user loyalty
- Confirms your credibility
- Clearly delivers your brand message
- Emotionally connects your audience with your brand
- Motivates your audience to buy from your brand over your competitor’s brands
Goals of Brand Marketing Strategy
As you know that brand marketing is done for a purpose and it has some specific goals that it intends to achieve. Let’s see what are the objectives of brand marketing strategy?
The most important goal of brand marketing is to create brand awareness. Brand awareness is to get your audience to instantly think of your brand mission and brand messaging whenever they see your logo or products.
Differentiation from the Competitors
Another goal of brand marketing is to create differentiation. A brand helps differentiate your brand from competitors, so consumers have a solid reason to choose your brand over the competitors. Through brand marketing, you can show the human side of your brand. When you show the human side of your brand your audience can easily relate to it. The real magic of brand marketing is when your audience can relate to your brand.
Reputation management i.e., building a positive brand reputation is another aim of brand marketing. In today’s world where everyone has access to say anything about your brand through social media and other online channels, it is practically not possible to control what people talk about you. But, with brand marketing, you can develop a positive association with your audience and encourage them to talk positively about your brand. It helps you win the trust of your prospective customers.
Activate Emotional Triggers
Most of the purchases in today’s world are driven by emotion. Especially, when it comes to buying products from brands the emotional triggers play a very significant role. For instance,
Nike always presents itself as a sports brand and promotes health and healthy living. That’s an emotional trigger. Everyone wants to stay fit and healthy. Through brand marketing, you can activate the emotional triggers. Emotions are powerful – if your brand is associated with positivity, that wins the trust of the customers.
Promote Customer Loyalty
Another important goal of brand marketing is to promote customer loyalty. Your existing customers have the highest customer lifetime value. They are loyal to your brand and are more likely to refer their friends, colleagues, and family members to your brand.
That’s because they want their friends, family members to experience the same experience with your brand they have gone through. Hence, providing a good customer experience is important to promote customer loyalty.
Important Reasons Why Consumers Trust Brands Over Non-brands
There are many reasons that make people trust brands over the non-brands. Below are some of the important ones to make you understand how important is brand building for a company.
- It delivers good quality products or services.
- The brand gets good ratings and reviews if they serve their customers well.
- It charges a reasonable price for its products or services.
- A brand always treats its customers well.
- It quickly addresses customer complaints and feedback.
- A brand takes every possible measure to protect the privacy and security (personal information) of its customers.
- Brand treats its employees well and offers them many perks and benefits.
- A brand is socially responsible and always takes social responsibility towards the community.
- Brands are mostly not politically motivated and remain neutral in most of the political campaigns.
- Brands always strive to delight their customers.
Developing a Strong Brand Identity
Establishing a solid brand identity also known as brand equity is very important.
However, it is also very important to note that a strong brand identity doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t just pick a few colors, icons and put together a logo for your brand.
Rather, you need to approach your brand identity creation strategically and thoughtfully. This requires deep thinking, strong communication and design skills, and a deep understanding of your company, vision, mission, and values of your brand.
Does this seem intimidating? Don’t worry, further in this post we will cover everything that will help you create a great brand identity. So, let’s first begin with what does a brand identity include.
What Does a Brand Identity Include?
Just having a logo and tag line is not enough to create a strong brand identity. Rather you need to create a comprehensive visual language that can be applied to everything related to your brand. This would be seamlessly applied to the website, visiting cards, signages, advertisements, packaging, etc. The basic brand identity includes:
- Typography (fonts used in logo, website, print material, mobile applications, etc.)
- Data visualization (charts & graphs)
- Design System (brand’s theme)
- Iconography (icons used in the website, mobile applications, and other print material)
- Illustration (animations, caricatures, images, etc.)
- Interactive elements (videos, audio, animation, etc.)
- Photography (pictures used for advertisements, websites, mobile applications, etc.)
- Video and motion
- Web design
Remember: Your brand identity should be seamless across all mediums. So make sure you have all the necessary elements included while creating your brand identity.
The Keys to a Strong Brand Identity
The key to a strong brand identity is that it should work for everyone like the content creators, customers, brand ambassadors, stakeholders, and employees. Always make sure your brand identity comprises the following important elements:
- Distinctiveness: Your brand should stand out among competitors to catch the attention of your audiences.
- Memorable: Your brand should leave a lasting and memorable experience on the minds of the audiences. It should make a clear and distinctive visual impact. Think of the McDonald’s or Apple logo. They just include the logo and not their name on their products. Their logo is so memorable that people remember them without the name.
- Flexible: A good brand is flexible. It can be scaled when required. Again, thin of Apple as a brand. They started with manufacturing computers and gradually, they started manufacturing iPads, iPods, smartwatches, smartphones, music streaming services, and many other products. Hence, a brand should be crafted in a way so that it can grow and evolve with the brand.
- Cohesive: Your brand should be cohesive. Each piece of your brand should complement the brand identity.
- Easily Applicable: The elements of your brand should be intuitive and clear so that the designers and animators can use them easily.
Make sure you have all the above elements included when creating your brand. If any of these elements are missing, it could be challenging for your creative and brand team to do their job well.
Step by Step Process of Brand Identity Building
Now let’s see what is the process of building brand identity in a step by step manner. In the beginning, the process might seem intimidating, but don’t worry we will take you through the process and help you understand what to do and what not to do while you are building your brand identity.
Remember this process is not only for the new brands, but can also be implemented to the old established brands for their rebranding or if they want to improve the existing brand image.
STEP 1: Complete Your Brand Strategy
The first step in creating a brand identity is to outline what you are trying to achieve and how you are going to achieve it. Of course, you need not write your whole business plan in creating your brand identity, but you need to have a few important things in place well defined and well crafted. Below are those important elements you should have.
- Vision, Mission, Values of your brand
- Brand Messaging (brand voice, personality, tagline, value proposition, brand messaging)
- Brand Identity (brand logo, color, icons, typography, etc.)
Your brand identity is a tool to help you showcase your brand visually. Hence, it supports your brand strategy. It is important to have your brand strategy in place before you get into creating your brand identity.
Further in this post, we will discuss this.
How to Do it?
In order to design a strong brand identity, it is important to first complete the foundational work of your brand strategy i.e., creating your brand’s Mission, Vision, Values, and Brand Messaging. Having these in place help you define what you want to communicate and based on that you can create your brand identity to communicate the same visually.
STEP 2: Re-evaluate Your Current Brand Identity
It is important to do a complete assessment of your current brand identity if you already have one and you are updating it. If you are creating an entirely new brand identity then you should start with step 1 discussed above.
The goal of re-evaluating your existing brand identity is to understand how your brand is perceived, both internally and externally. Having an accurate and honest reflection helps you understand what you need to correct.
How to Do it?
The best way to do it is to begin by preparing a Brand Audit Questionnaire. Once you have prepared your Brand Audit Questionnaire share it with the employees, stakeholders, customers, partners, etc. You can use the sample Brand Audit Questionnaire given below, make the necessary changes you think fit for your purpose. This questionnaire will help you get the real picture of your brand and also you will know what you need to change.
Current Core Identity
- Organization Name: List the way you want it on the logo and any other derivatives.
- What Does Our Busines Do? Use a succinct, objective description.
- What is Our Brand Heart? List your purpose, vision, mission, and values.
- How is our brand currently perceived? Does it align with our brand Mission, Vision, and Values?
- How do we want to be perceived? What you seek to be known among your audience.
- How has our brand changed over time? Mention the transition of your brand from the very beginning to the current.
- Who is our audience? Put your customer persona instead of writing generic terms.
- Who is our competition? Write the names of your competitors and what they do differently.
- How do we differentiate our brand? Make pointers that make your brand different from others.
- What is our current brand identity?
- Traditional – Progressive
- Exclusive – Accessible
- Corporate – Friendly
- Serious – Fun, Playful
- Understand – Bold
- Simple – Complex
- City, Urban – Natural
- Familiar – Disruptive
- Steady – Dynamic
- Realistic – Idealistic
Current Visual Identity
- What Does Our Current Visual Identity look like? Describe the logo, color, typography, etc.
- What does our current visual identity communicate?
- How does our current visual identity align or misalign with our values?
- What do we NOT like about our current visual identity?
- How has our visual identity changed over time?
- How do we feel about our current logo?
- Where will our logo be used (print, web, social)?
- Why are we creating a new and unique logo? Why now?
- Should our new logo be “evolutionary” or “revolutionary”? Decide whether you want to update your current logo or start from scratch.
- Why type of “character” or “personality” would we like our new logo to have?
- What type of logo are we more drawn to?
Current Verbal Identity
- What differentiates us? Articulate how you’re different from your competitors by filling in this statement: “Our [offering] is the only [category] that [benefit].”
- What is our current tagline?
- Our current value proposition?
- What are our three main selling points/messaging pillars?
- Our current brand personality? It can also be helpful to describe your brand as a person.
- What is our current brand voice/tone?
STEP 3: Know Your Brand Personas
You should always keep in mind that your brand is the face of your company that you show to your audience. So, the idea of brand creation is to communicate your brand as a whole in an accurate manner.
A common misconception about the brand identity is that it is just to inform audiences about what it intends to present itself. But, there is more to it. Actually, your brand identity presented really in a way that your audience wants to engage with your brand identity. Your brand identity wouldn’t be effective enough if your audience doesn’t resonate with it.
This simply means that you need to make effective design choices keeping in mind your customer’s needs, values, and preferences. When you do that your brand will certainly resonate with your customer’s needs and preferences.
How to Do it?
First of all, you need to create your customer persona. Your Customer persona should represent all the different segments of your customer types. The customer persona is basically the demographic and psychographic information about your customers and it tells you what influences them and their purchase decisions.
Technically to create a really good brand identity you should also be trying to include the personas of your potential customers, and your employees. It is also important to understand how they perceive your brand. Understanding that in good detail helps you create the right brand designs and brand identity.
STEP 4: Identify Your Competition
The most important element of building a brand identity is creating differentiation. That means creating your brand visible, relevant, and unique from all your competitors. Identifying and comparing your competition gives you an understanding of your landscape and how their brand is presented and perceived.
How to Do It?
First try to find out how your competitors present themselves in terms of common visual elements, trends, tag lines, ads, visual themes, brand personalities, etc.
It’s a good idea to break free from the already set benchmarks and create something different. For example, all-female brands traditionally use colors like pink, yellow, orange, purple, etc., but what if you create something with black and grey. That’s a beautiful combination. It really gives you a great opportunity to be creative, and create a different and outstanding brand identity.
STEP 5: Write Your Creative Brief Before You Start Designing
With the information, you have gathered in the previous steps you can start designing your brand. But, instead of jumping right into the design, you should first write your creative brief. The creative brief includes every significant detail about brand design. It also helps the team working on the brand design on the same page. With the clearly written creative brief, your team can create a visual identity that truly aligns with your brand.
The creative brief includes the following:
- A short brand statement, vision, mission, and values.
- A brief overview of the campaign’s background and objectives.
- Key challenges that the campaign aims to resolve.
- Target audience.
- Main existing competitors of the brand.
- Brand’s values and market positioning.
- Communication channels on which the campaign will be launched.
How to Do It?
Simply you can use a paper or a word document or an excel sheet whatever is convenient for you and your team. The creative brief conveys the vision of the client. Everything stems out from that right from the fonts, colors, existing competition, logo design, icons, look of the website, images, and the entire creative project.
We use Google Docs in our organization for writing creative briefs. It is easy for everyone to access, share their inputs, and also it works as a tracker for us. So, you can use that too if you are comfortable doing that.
The creative brief should not be too long to read but easy to read and go point by point. We use three-line pointers for each element included in the creative brief. So, it is always easy to read and act upon.
STEP 6: Brainstorm Your Visuals
After you have your creative brief ready it is time to think about your visuals. By visuals, I mean the visual concepts. In this step, you translate the text-based information in your creative brief visually.
This could be a little challenging to translate the creative brief into a visual brand identity. The best way is to start with a mood board. It helps to communicate the brand sentiments through visuals.
How to Do it?
The best way to start is to start with the world cloud that describes your brand. Right words can bring life to your brand’s visual identity. When you have jotted down your words visualize those words into pictures of what they represent.
For instance, if your brand is about power, like heavy machinery, your words should be representing power.
For power, you can use Spark, thunder, or something like that. When you will go back on your mood board with your words and pictures you will find the right thing for the right visual identity of your brand.
STEP 7: Design Your Individual Elements
Now is the time where real fun and challenge begins. You have to design each element individually, but you have to keep in mind that every element of your brand identity influences each other.
Your brand identity begins with the logo of your brand. Every other element of your brand is influenced by the logo.
How to Do it?
Nothing is better than making a free-sketch of your logo using a pencil or your iPad. Some people are well doing it right on computers, but we are starting to design the logos for our clients with pencil and paper. Then we brainstorm with our team and make iterations until it is perfect and gives meaning to the brand identity.
The idea behind the logo designing is that it should convey the brand message in itself without any taglines and descriptors. Adding colors to the logo makes it more meaningful and gives it a life that speaks for the brand values and vision in itself.
Once you have your logo ready with color now is the time to choose your color palette. With a good color palette, you can very much differentiate your brand from the competitors and give it a unique identity. It is important, however, that you choose your colors wisely as colors can elicit strong emotions. And you know that people are very emotional.
How to Do it?
In your color palette you can keep your colors as follows:
- 1 main color
- 2 primary colors
- 3-5 complementary colors
- 2 accent colors
Your color palette should give the designers enough choices to be creative and not confuse and limit them in their creativity.
Typography is also a very important element in the whole brand identity building. The type of fonts you choose should complement other elements in your brand. Mostly the typography emanates from the brand logo.
How to Do It?
Typography is a very important element in the visual language of the brand identity. But, it is also very tricky when it comes to choosing between serif or non-serif fonts.
But choosing the right font type can be really overwhelming and confusing. To keep it simple, limit the number of font families to 2-3. And it includes the primary and secondary brand typefaces for specific purposes, such as headings, subheadings, body copy, captions, brochures, packaging, etc.
Though the Google fonts are very generic and mostly everyone uses them being free and can be used across websites, apps, marketing collaterals, and almost everywhere else, you can choose from that. Or you can choose from custom fonts if you need to. That’s completely your choice and the need for your brand.
The Design System, Layout, and Presentation
A brand identity is not just the logo, color, typography, and pictures, rather it is more than that. If everything is right and your layout or the design system is not right it might not appeal to your audience. The design system is an important point in the whole visual language of branding.
Your design system should be an enjoyable experience for your audience. Provide a cohesive and consistent presentation of your brand in every manner possible. The best way is to make everything consistent in terms of the design and visual language of your brand.
How to Do it?
Design an intuitive layout that makes it easy to learn visual communication. Your content including the body text, headings, sub-headings, images, icons, spacing, the layout should all be consistent everywhere.
A picture is worth a thousand words. In branding, it is even a million words that your pictures speak for your brand. So, choose your pictures very carefully. Whether it is a brochure, PowerPoint presentation, advertisement, or website images it should all be chosen very carefully in the context of the brand and what it intends to communicate. Make clear guidelines about the use of images in your branding.
Pictures in themselves tell a great story. And storytelling is the best way of marketing. So, now you should understand how important is to choose good images for telling your brand story. The same thing and theory apply to the illustrations you use for your brand. So make your illustrations carefully and make sure they speak the language of your brand and not otherwise.
The icons, charts, data visualizations, any interactive art, buttons, motion graphics, videos, should all be well thought out. Try to make every element of your brand tell the story of your brand in a consistent and interesting manner.
STEP 8: Build & Distribute Your Brand Style Guide
With the steps discussed so far, you may have the complete gist of creating a great brand identity. Now, this is a final but very important step to make your brand bring out an impact in your target market. If your brand identity is not used in the right way, it will never make the impact you want. For instance, what would it show if your brand logo is used in the wrong way on any marketing campaign? It would be killing your brand.
A brand style guide saves all the hassles and gives all the employees, stakeholders, vendors, and designers clear instructions as to how the brand identity and its elements will be used. With this everyone knows exactly how to use the brand elements and then your brand is represented correctly without any mistakes.
Include clear, easy-to-follow guidelines for every part of the brand identity, including examples and use-cases. Also include practical detail, denoting as much information as needed to help your designer and team to replicate the brand identity successfully and without any mistakes.
When you have completed your Brand Style Guideline ready to distribute it to your team, vendors, designers, marketing, production, and the stakeholders. Store your Brand Style Guideline in a place where anyone can access it without any problem.
Designing a successful brand identity takes a lot of work and collaboration. Give your brand team the right elements and inputs to create a unique and outstanding brand identity for your brand. Brand marketing is an important and indispensable part of the success of a business. You can grow your customer base faster with brand marketing techniques and offer your customer’s brand value. With this, I am sure your business and brand will grow to success faster.
If you need a professional’s help in creating a unique brand identity contact us.
The post What is Brand Marketing appeared first on Digitoly. Digitoly - Digital Marketing & Branding Consultancy authored by Krishan Kant Upadhyay