What is a brand?
I'm sure you've heard the term “brand” many times in your travels, but what does it mean? A spiffy-looking logo with a catchy tagline? A nicely designed website? Not quite.
Beyond the Logo
A logo is definitely essential and its value shouldn't be underestimated. Your logo acts as the face of your business, which makes you recognizable to the world. Investing in a quality logo can work wonders in terms of elevating or refocusing your audience's perception of your brand. Ideally your logo will be distinct and memorable, but it can't do all the work. The real job of a logo is to set the stage for the rest of what's to come.
If your brand is a cake, there's more to it than the eggs, flour, and sugar. There's the pan you bake it in, how you apply the icing, and the stand on which display it. How large are the slices you cut? Is it served with fresh fruit? How about some ice cream—who are we kidding, there should definitely be ice cream. You see where I'm going with this.
ALL OF THE THINGS
So what is a brand? To put it simply, a brand is everything—the whole kit and caboodle. Your brand is the collection of all the things that differentiate your business from the competition and make you identifiable. It's everything that makes up your business and how that business interacts with the world.
This means your logo and your website, but it's also the products or services you offer, where you offer them, and the price point. It's the social media platforms you use and what you post there. It's the tone of your marketing, the benevolence of your return policies, and the packaging of your deliverables.
So how does this “branding” thing factor in? Well to make things a bit more complex, the term “branding’ can be used as both a noun and a verb. As a verb, branding is the conscious shaping of your brand. It's the evolution that results from pruning how you portray yourself to the world. As a noun, branding is the set of visuals that expresses your brand's story and distinct identity.
People will remember your brand based on how you serve up even the smallest details, so make them count.
Your brand has its own personality and unique set of characteristics, just like a person. This requires time to grow and strategic steps to reconcile your vision and goals. With the right approach and guidance, all the pieces of your brand can come together into a unified whole called a brand identity. That can be extremely powerful.
Within a successful brand identity, every opportunity is used to build a quality experience. Each visual—every detail—is carefully crafted to contribute to your brand's story, told in a cohesive and compelling way at every turn. People will remember your brand based on how you serve up even the smallest details, so make them count.
What if you discover the way you've been portraying your brand isn't effective anymore? This can happen for a couple different reasons. The important thing to know is that you're not stuck with how you're doing things now. Sometimes the right thing to do is to embrace change and rebrand, when it's done for the right reasons.
Feeling overwhelmed? Don't be. If you're reading this, you're on the right track. Building a compelling brand is a complex business that requires a lot of time and planning, but most of all it's the time spent doing the work that will make all the difference.
Be patient. You might not be ready to invest in a quality logo or brand identity just yet, but you'll get there. It's an evolution. Start by doing the work and take it one day at a time.