Branding is one of those concepts that has been widely misunderstood and misinterpreted by a lot of people if not by most of them. Especially in the design community, branding is often used regarding logo or identity design, which is not necessarily true. Some people also mix it up with marketing or advertising. So before starting with what branding really is let's focus on what branding isn’t and dump all the misconceptions about branding which are stored in our mind.
Designing the logo and corporate identities like business cards, letterheads, or marketing materials like flyers, posters is not branding. Branding is definitely not marketing or advertising either. Of course, this stuff has its own position in the whole branding process. But individually these terms can NOT be used interchangeably with branding. So as we are clear enough about what can’t be described as branding let's now get back to the point.
WHAT IS A BRAND?
To know what branding really is, we have to get a very clear idea about what a brand is. Is the company the brand itself? Well…Not at all. There are a lot of well-thought definitions of a brand but to put it simply, a brand is the feelings of the customers or users towards your business or company. It is the factual and emotional thoughts that come into their mind whenever they hear the name of your company. Just take a moment and think what comes into your mind when you hear these names? Apple, Starbucks, Adidas, Volvo? Whatever you feel about these companies is their brand. That being said, a brand is nothing physical. It is not the high rise building of your company, nor it is whatever you say you are. It exists only in the customer's mind.
WHAT IS BRANDING?
As we now know what a brand is, the most straightforward definition of branding would be it is the process of creating a brand. Simple enough right? Well, as simpler as it sounds, in the real-life creating a brand is no less critical. How can you create positive feelings in your customer’s minds? How can you convince them to choose you over thousands of other choices or make them talk good stuff about you to their friends, family, and peers and act as an unpaid marketer for your company? These are the most common questions that will start driving you crazy as soon as you start thinking about the process of creating a brand.
THE PROCESS OF BRANDING
Well, I am no love expert but I think I can give a great example in this regard. Think about the girl you have a crush on. Now to pursue her you have to move very carefully. You have to know what she likes and what disgusts the hell out of her. If you are the type of person that she does not like, then there is little to no chance that she will feel positively towards you. To impress her you have to do the stuff she likes, avoid the stuff she hates, and be consistent in all of your acts that are related to her.
The process of branding is like to impress your loved one. First of all, you have to select a specific target audience as you fall in love with that specific person ( well you can fall in love with as many people as you want, who am I to judge ). Then, you have to get to know the audience, what they like, what they need, what is the trend going on in this group of people, and then you have to design a strategy to impress them in all the touchpoints of your brand. What is a touchpoint again? Let's get a brief understanding of this term
A brand touchpoint is the interaction point where the customers interact with the company. There are certain touchpoints of a brand and most primarily it is the product or service itself. Customers buy the service or product from the company. It is a two-way interaction. If the product is good the customer will be happy with it and will get a very positive feeling towards the company.
People also interact with the company through several online platforms like websites, social media profiles, etc. A beautiful functional website that is crafted directly motivated by the need of the target customers will certainly encourage them to have a positive experience while they visit the site. An equally helpful and friendly customer service that facilitates the customers with immediate solutions to their problems will make them trust the company. And thus, by crafting the experience throughout all the touchpoints strategically and carefully you can certainly make the customers fall in love with your company.
So, branding is not designing the identity of a company, it is a much larger concept than that and to do proper branding for your company, you need to work on all the brand touchpoints very strategically, starting from the logo, identity design, online presence all the way to the advertisement campaigns, customer services, etc.
Let's design with confidence.
Brand Identity Specialist