What branding isn’t!
The first thing I want to make clear in this blog is that branding is not a logo! A logo is one small part of your brand. A logo will come after a lot of other elements of research and design. Before you can design a logo, you need to:
- Determine your target audience.
- Establish your mission statement.
- Define your values, features, and benefits.
- Create your visual assets.
- Find your brand voice.
Once you have done this then you can build your logo and start to build out your brand.
What is branding?
According to the CIM branding is:
“A brand is a product or a service that delivers a consistent and distinctive benefit to a customer. It will contain a set of characteristics that it will use to differentiate itself from its competitors and ensure it remains relevant to its customers”.
Let’s explore this in more detail. When I write copy for clients, I must consider their tone of voice and who they are. For example, lots of independent breweries have license to go crazy, they want to be seen as fun and out there, they want to be seen as anti-establishment. This ethos is transferred into their packaging and their design an example of this is Little Critters Brewery in Sheffield. However, let’s compare this to a solicitor. They need to be seen as knowledgeable; they need to be seen as trustworthy. Therefore, if we look at O’Donnell’s Solicitors we will find a very different website. Their colour scheme is sedate, they have a lot more text, the photography is very professional it creates a completely different vibe to the brewery.
The importance of branding
HubSpot argue that branding is one of your organisation’s most important assets. It gives your organisation an identity, makes your business memorable, encourages consumers to buy from you, supports your marketing and advertising, and brings your employee’s pride. It also allows you to align your marketing strategy, it can give you a license or reign your team in. One great example of two brands really sticking to their brand identity can be found in the case study we wrote back in 2020 when BrewDog and Aldi collaborated.
Branding for small businesses
It’s very exciting to talk about brands and doing research and creating designs but what about small businesses, how do we apply it to us? We don’t have the budget, or the time that larger organisations do so how does branding work for us?
Choose your identity:
As a small business owner your business is likely to be an extension of you. Think about who you are, what you represent, what colours you like and the way you like to talk. This is likely to create your brand colour scheme, it’s tone of voice and the choice of imagery. Choosing your identity is your special sauce, or to use business terms you USP, it is how you make yourself different to your competition.
Focus on consistency:
I am very fond of saying that you can tell a good brand even if their logo wasn’t on the marketing collateral you were looking at. Coca Cola could cut the last five seconds off their Christmas advert and we would still know that it was their advert. Whatever you do, no matter how much or how little keep it consistent.
Create brand guidelines:
This might sound like it belongs to big business but have a think about this. If you are a small business the likelihood is that a lot of your marketing is outsourced, if you need to design something you will go to a graphic designer, or you might get someone to help you build an email. But if you don’t have some guidelines, even simple ones then these various freelancers, friends, agencies or whoever won’t have a path to follow and will go down their own route and then the marketing you do won’t work together. You can read more about the importance of getting your marketing to work together in a blog that we prepared for thedirectorschoice.com
It takes time to establish your brand, so establishing partnerships with like minded established businesses can help you to enhance your organisation. For our business we are part of DBFY, the group is local, friendly and supportive, which is where we want to position our business. It might also be worth considering using a ratings company like TrustPilot to build up some trust in your brand.
Branding will always remain the most important section of your marketing strategy. This is because your brand is what will sell your product so it is important to have a very strong branding to attract the attention of your customers.
The team at the Marketing Guy are always here to help if you want to discuss your marketing needs.