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What is Branding Anyway?

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The 5 most important components of a good brand

When you think of branding, what comes to mind? For some, it’s a tagline – a clever play on words that sums up the business in a fun, memorable way. For others, it’s visual identity – a company’s logo, colours and fonts.

The reality is, branding is all these things and more.

There are many different components of branding and we would need several blogs to talk about them all in depth. To start us off, here are the 5 most important components of a good brand and how to develop them.

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is pretty much what it sounds like: it’s about positioning your brand in the minds of your customers. It involves identifying your Unique Selling Point (USP) or your niche in the market.

Think about what makes your brand distinctive in the marketplace: what makes you unique, and how can you communicate that to your customers? Then, take that information and craft it into a positioning statement, which you should test regularly.

Cult Branding recommends a 7-step process to creating a positioning statement. We’ve summed the process up into a few questions:

  • How are you currently positioning yourself?
  • Who are your (direct) competitors and how are they positioning themselves?
  • How does your positioning compare to theirs? How are you unique by comparison?
  • What is your USP? What value do you uniquely provide?

Your positioning statement isn’t customer-facing. It’s more of an internal reference explaining the perceptions you want your customers to have about your brand.

Click here to read some really great examples of brand positioning statements.

Brand Promise

Your brand promise clearly explains what your customers can expect from working with you or buying your product. It should really highlight what benefits you can offer that your competitors can’t.

Your brand promise isn’t a description of your product, but a description of the value that comes from it or how it makes your customers feel. This article from Stellaservice highlights some of the best brand promises we’ve seen.

If you were to visit a five-star restaurant, there is a certain expectation in your mind that’s been set because of that restaurant’s promise to you. You expect to be seated quickly, the food to be delicious, and the staff courteous. If your waiter forgets to bring your drinks, it leads to a negative experience. The restaurant didn’t fulfill its brand promise.

As this shows, your brand promise is – or at least should be – communicated in everything your brand does.

The same goes for your logo. If you’re using a black and gold color scheme, you are communicating a degree of prestige or elegance – and are promising a certain level of service.

Think about the reputation you want your business to have – or, if you’ve been in business for a while, how you can build upon or change the reputation you currently have. Sometimes the easiest way to do this is to think about what your brand isn’t.

Click here for some extra tips on creating a solid brand promise.

Brand values

Your brand values are the qualities and beliefs that underpin your brand and the way you run your business. To be authentic and believable, they should guide all your business practices and be acknowledged (and practiced) by your entire team. Not all brand values are created equal!

Click here for some examples of brand values – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Try to use values that also motivate or inspire your customers. Like your brand promise, your values should connect with how you want your customers to feel and why they should choose to support you rather than your competitors. By finding and prioritising mutual values, you’re more likely to drive a connection between your brand and your customers.

When creating brand values, try to use a single word and then break down what it means to your business in a succinct sentence or two. By defining your values this way, you prevent them from being lofty and make them more concrete.

We like Fabrik’s four-step process to defining brand values:

  • Discover what matters: pinpoint values that mean something to you
  • Know your customers and competitors: find out what your customers value and whether our competitors are serving them
  • Stand for something: ensure your values are actually implemented
  • Stay consistent: make sure your whole team buys into your values and is ready to support them in the long-term
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Brand voice

Your brand voice is like your brand’s personality. It explains in depth how you communicate with your customers.

Your brand voice covers things like whether you should be formal or informal and the specific types of language you use. It should be a guide for everyone from your content writers to your salespeople.

It’s important to think really specifically about who you’re talking to. For example, if you’re targeting young children, you’ll probably want to speak in a more informal way with simple words. But if you were targeting teenagers, you may want a brand voice that’s slightly more sophisticated with a balance of ‘cool’.

Try looking at the way your target audience talks about your brand or market, the tone of voice they normally use, and figure out how you can best resonate with it. Customer testimonials or customer service tickets are great outlets for finding the right language.

This article from Sprout Social gives some great advice on defining a brand voice.

5 Simple Ways to Define & Maintain Your Brand Voice

Visual branding

If your brand voice is your personality, your visual branding – or your visual identity – is your face… your clothing, accessories and style.

A huge component of your visual brand is the colours you choose. For example, red can be a strategic choice for a food business as it can evoke hunger. However, red should be avoided by financial brands as the colour is often an indicator of negative funds.

Your visual brand is also made up of your logo and other imagery you choose to represent your business, as well as your chosen fonts. This article from Creative Bloq gives some great information on different typefaces.

Behance is a great resource for finding beautiful examples of visual branding. It’s one of the many resources we use at Colouring Department for inspiration. Read more about where else we find our design inspiration.

There are plenty of things to consider when crafting a brand or undertaking a rebranding project, and it’s always wise to get a second opinion. At Colouring Department, we’re proud to help clients design beautiful, powerful brands, like this branding design project for Skinplicity Aesthetics, a Manchester-based beauty therapy business.

We would love to review your branding and answer any branding-related questions – no matter your industry!

Get in touch today.