What exactly is branding? What factors make up this overarching term? And what do companies have to do to make their branding ‘good?’
When most people talk about their ‘brand’ they mean their business as a whole. And when people think of ‘branding’ their mind usually goes to a logo. These are understandable assumptions but are only the tip of the iceberg of branding.
Of course, it’s essential to understand what’s going on in terms of branding: why you need it and what it consists of. But if you’re not a branding company, you shouldn’t try to solve this on your own and create your brand design from scratch because there are specialists that do this for businesses all over the world, and they are likely much better at it than you are. A reputed brand design firm will give you advice and professionally fulfill your branding needs. If you manage to develop good relationships with the agency’s team, you can learn valuable things about brand management and concepts.
But, as for now, let’s focus on figuring out what a brand is and why it doesn’t end with logo design.
Defining a Brand
Branding is the whole of a business’s experiences with their customers, including both those aspects that are intentional and those that are assumed or which occur naturally.
In his book Brand: A Four Letter Word, Austin Mcghie defines a brand as “emotional shorthand for accumulated or assumed information…a brand is present when the value of what a product, service, or personality means to its audience is greater than what it does for the audience.”
Branding can be challenging to tame since it relies on an audience’s emotional response, which is essentially uncontrollable. But, with the right tools and techniques, these reactions can be guided in the right direction to create more predictable and beneficial results.
Defining a Logo
One of the most notable and essential parts of branding is a logo, as it’s one of the first interactions and impressions audiences will have with a business. A logo serves as a visual representation of the company, which may include images, text, or a mix of the two. Logos usually encapsulates many of the ideas and goals of a company’s overall branding, which is likely why they have become so synonymous with the word ‘brand.’
This element, when done correctly, should have both an artistic and creative impact and a functional one. It should express what the company is all about, such as its messaging and the types of products and services it supplies. But it should also create a memorable and engaging impression of the uniqueness and appeal of the company in a way that will draw audiences in.
In many ways, a company’s logo is like its stamp or its signature, not just because it often appears on documents and merchandise but because it will grow to become an identifier and a focal point, which customers can fixate on and tie to their experiences, interactions, and memories of the business as a whole. For example, when people think of Starbucks as a company and cafe, they’ll likely bring to mind the green mermaid logo the company uses.
What’s More Crucial?
Often, businesses will focus on a logo more than their overall branding because it’s a more straightforward step. It’s a tangible aspect of branding that’s easier to achieve. However, it’s exactly that: one step.
Trying to create a logo before sitting down and establishing branding will inevitably make this process more difficult because it will be like working backward. Creating a logo before installing branding is like painting a picture before deciding what your subject will be; there’s no vision or guidance for what you’re making, so it’s unlikely to come out well or be developed efficiently. By deciding on branding first, more tangible steps like creating a logo have a finish line and a goal to reach, making the process much more pinpointed, efficient, and useful.
Your logo should encapsulate your brand, not the other way around. So, it’s important first to discuss the general feeling of the company. Think about your ideal audience and what customer interactions should look like. Think about the goals of the company and how to achieve them. Consider what needs the products and services of the business are fulfilling for customers. And think about other general concepts and messages that are important to convey.
With these ideas in mind, creating a logo will be much easier. For example, if you decide you want to have a casual and conversational vibe for your brand, this can help guide the color scheme and font you use in the logo. This will make more sense and be more accessible in the long run than if you were to develop a logo based purely on aesthetics and emotional impact and try to piece together the meaning for these choices later in a comprehensive way.
The Bottom Line
Instead of thinking of a logo as a brand or branding as separate from a logo, think of them as one; a logo is just a visual impression of those more significant concepts. In a way, it’s like the cover of a novel. Once you’re written the book’s content, you can decide how to best convey what’s between those covers, so readers understand what’s within and pick it up. But you have to write the book before making an artistic rendering of it.
Find and hire a reliable brand design agency that will provide you with all the needed professional branding assistance and explain what each of your branding elements does. Your brand designer won’t be around forever, so you must learn to deal with your brand before launching and march on to ongoing marketing campaigns. Understanding how your brand works will play a massive part in your business’s future success.