Branding Evolved A Complete Guide
What is a Brand?
A brand is a way an organization, a company or an individual is perceived by those who experience it. More than merely a name, term, design, or symbol, a brand is the recognizable feeling a product or business evokes.
Brands, then, live in mind. They live in the minds of anyone who experiences them: employees,
Your Brand is the Company's Most Valuable Asset
Despite their intangible nature, brands are the business tools that create commercial value.
Think of a brand—any brand, e.g. Apple, Coca-Cola, FedEx, Dunkin' Donuts—does not matter. We are pretty big fans of Apple around here, so let's go on with that.
What is the Apple brand? It is not just the computers and phones and other cool stuff we cannot live without. Those are the products that Apple manufactures. So it is not slick TV ads or dramatically staged presentations or sleek minimalist storefronts. Hence, All it takes is efficient marketing and advertising. It is admittedly pretty cool marketing and advertising, but still.
Even Apple's name and logo do not encompass what we mean when we talk about the Apple brand.
It turns out the Apple brand is not anything in the real sense of the word. So you cannot hold it or hear it or even touch it. But that does not mean its brand, not the most valuable thing Apple owns.
The Apple brand is the reason you could not pay the majority of Apple customers to use any other brand. The futuristic-thinking, seamless experience of the Apple brand has become an intricate part of the identities of a legion of devoted followers. For this reason, its brand is Apple's competitive advantage. Nothing else even comes close to it.
A strong brand boosts the chances of customers opting for your product or service over your competitors. It attracts more customers at a low cost per acquisition, who are happy to pay a little more and will buy a bit more often.
To better understand why your brand is valuable, let's began by breaking it down to its fundamental components
Elements of a Brand
As perceptions, brands comprise a bunch of different components. It aids in taking a look at the essential ones, as these are the purview of the next concept that we will explore: branding. The fundamental elements of a brand consist of the brand compass, identity, company culture, name and tagline, website, voice and messaging, and brand architecture.
It is a summary of the most elemental truths about your brand. It is the outcome of the work done in the brand strategy phase, including positioning and research. A brand compass shows the direction where your brand heads and why. It consists of five parts: Purpose, Vision, Values, Mission, and Strategic Objectives.
Company culture is a spirit of the collective purpose and inspiration that drives your brand. It is more than just fiery leadership speeches and ping pong tables in common areas, though. The most influential company culture is founded on a brand's fundamental values, those principles that define how your brand interacts with the world, and why. Robust company culture can result in internal brand alignment—the ideal state of being wherein a brand's employees understand it at the deepest point and are motivated to act as ambassadors.
Brand personality is a rare spectrum of thoughts, emotions, and behavioral patterns that are intrinsic to a brand. Its character consists of the brand's most individualistic traits. It is what makes Apple the sleek, minimalist auteur, or REI the rugged, pioneering outdoorsman. A brand's personality is the key reason it is identifiable to the loyal customers and the basis for the highly personal relationships that they build with it.
Brand architecture is the coordinated system of the names, colors, symbols, and visual language that defines a brand. Superior brand architecture is highly intuitive and intentional, founded on research into the customer experience. Brand architecture systems are generally categorized as either endorsed, monolithic, or pluralistic. The monolithic brand architecture comprises a single master brand and multiple sub-brands. Endorsed and pluralistic architectures include parent brands with different bonds to the divisions over which they preside.
Name and Tagline
A brand's name and tagline are the most immediate face to the world. They should be replete with the meaning—either intrinsically or as the result of a methodical brand narrative. It takes alot in the creation of a brand's name and tagline. In-depth brainstorming, market research, refinement, testing—the process is designed to assure that these monikers are not only meaningful but ownable as well. The complex nature of creating names and taglines is a testament to their importance. A firm name conveys a brand's unique value propositions, differentiating it from its competition and leaving a robust impression on those who experience it.
Your brand's identity is more than just your logo. Character is the visual encapsulation of the profound truths revealed about your brand in strategy and positioning. A valid character will embody all of the defining characteristics of your brand, including personality, promise, and purpose. Your brand's identity is the stamp on the world—a sleek symbol full of meaning that has the power to communicate your brand's nature in a visual instant to all those who experience it.
Brand Voice and Messaging
Brand voice and messaging are essential to a brand's engagement with the world. They differentiate your brand from its competitors by portraying its purpose, personality, and promise. Brand voice and messaging humanize the brand, making it more identifiable to the customers. In every occasion in which your brand's voice is heard, whether through advertising scripts, marketing collateral, or website copy, your customers should recognize it immediately—like an old friend on the other side of the phone.
Your website is the most centralized and complete manifestation of your brand. A sleek website brings your brand to life with engaging design and compelling content. These days, sites are no longer limited to a desktop experience. They travel with us, on our gadgets, to every inch of the world. Websites remain one of the most economical and influential ways to deliver a holistic branding experience to the target audience.
Now that we have parsed the various elements that make up a brand, it' is time to look at how and, more essentially, why those elements are made: branding.
What is Branding?
Branding is the act of transforming how a company, organization, or individual is perceived.
Customer perceptions themselves do not go out and buy iPhones. But they are essential for one reason: opinions dictate behavior. Even perceptions that we're unaware of can affect how we act profoundly. Research in experimental social psychology has revealed that while we may think we are in total control of our actions and our behavior is often influenced by stimuli, we are not aware of it.
How a person perceives a brand (consciously or unconsciously) wholly determines how he or she will engage with your brand. The power of branding hinges a fundamental truth about the perceptions:
Perceptions are Malleable.
Branding has the ultimate power to shape our perceptions because those perceptions are impressionable to being developed. They practically cry out for it. Believe it or not, we are continually searching for meaning and order in the world around us. Without it, we are lost. We want our realities to make sense.
As far as our brains are concerned, there is no practical difference in perception and reality. It is where the real power of branding lies. If branding can shape our opinions, and our views are our reality; therefore, it follows that:
Branding has the power to shape the reality.
It may sound exaggerated, but in a genuine sense, it is true. The ultimate power of branding to architect consumer reality is why companies like Apple spend millions of dollars on it each year. When you effectively leverage the skills to architect reality, you can sway consumers' purchasing behavior in highly valuable ways.
Why Invest in Branding?
Some of the companies are hesitant to invest in branding boils down to a matter of perception as well. It is not easy to draw direct interrelationships between the successful branding and quantifiable returns. But the simple fact is you can not put a price on the value of creating a truly authentic brand.
So, why should you invest in branding? The operative word here is "investment." A lot of companies see branding as another expense counted in the marketing budget. But when you understand how essential branding is to influencing your consumer behavior, you know that it is more than just a tactic. It is a long-term strategy that can harvest measurable returns throughout the life of your company. Take a look at only five of the top performances you will get from the branding investment: