Branding 101

Branding is an incredibly broad topic that covers everything from your company name and logo to its visual design, mission, voice, and more. It even extends to your products and how you market them.

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Strong branding makes your business memorable and recognizable to consumers. It can also help you build trust and loyalty with customers.

Branding Strategy

Branding strategy is a long-term plan that guides all your branding efforts toward reaching specific goals. It includes elements like brand voice, branding design, brand story and brand values. It also takes into account the competition and your business objectives.

Product branding, for example, includes distinct packaging and emblems that make a product easily identifiable. It’s a common branding technique that helps consumers shorten their decision-making process when choosing between different products in the same category. Tech giant Apple uses this branding strategy to set themselves apart from the competition with their iconic iPhones.

Another type of branding strategy is brand extension, which involves creating a new product line with an established name. Dyson and Hyundai Motors are both examples of this strategy, which can lead to increased revenue and brand awareness. However, if done incorrectly, it can lead to brand dilution and confuse loyal customers. A fighter brand strategy, on the other hand, is used to wrest market share from an existing competitor. Harper Wilde is an example of this, with their branded hashtags and funny photos that support women’s empowerment.

Brand Identity

The specific design elements that distinguish your business from its competitors are referred to as your brand identity. It includes your logo, color palette, fonts, and imagery. It also includes the language your company uses and how those elements are applied (brand voice).

A strong brand identity is what sets you apart from everyone else. It’s the special sauce that makes you uniquely yourself. It’s what allows you to attract employees who share your values, customers who feel a connection to your mission, and leads to a marketing strategy that can take your firm to the next level.

Many firms fail to take the time to think through and develop their brand identity. They either copy their competitors, which can lead to a dog’s breakfast of mismatched components that fails to stand out, or they adopt short-term trends, which can leave them looking generic and struggling to connect with audiences. When thoughtfully crafted, your brand identity can deliver on the promise of your firm’s positioning and help you stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is the unique position your company occupies in the minds of consumers. It’s what makes your products stand out in a market saturated with competitors. It establishes a clear identity, communicates your value proposition, and drives customer loyalty.

To create a strong brand positioning, you must understand your target audience and your competitors. This will help you determine how to differentiate your product from others, and what kind of message will resonate with customers.

You can analyze your competitors through online research, conduct focus groups, and monitor digital metrics. Regularly reviewing these data points allows you to spot dips in interest and evaluate your marketing efforts.

A great example of brand positioning is Duracell batteries. In a market where most batteries are the same, Duracell differentiates itself by communicating trust and quality. The brand’s marketing shows that no matter what the job, Duracell batteries will get the job done. This brand position has helped them grow from a regional battery provider to a global leader in batteries. A well-defined brand position will elevate every aspect of your business from your pricing to your logo and design, messaging, and distribution.

Brand Language

Brand language is delivered through any formal communication that a company produces and is present wherever words are used to express an offering. It is most often delivered externally through marketing communications, but can be found in investor relations presentations, staff conferences, and even when an individual answers the phone on behalf of a brand.[citation needed] It is also used in political campaigns to help constituents connect specific phrases and ideas with a candidate or party.

A strong brand language can build loyalty and differentiate a company from similar products. For example, a tool company might use a brand voice that emphasizes traditional values such as tradition, steadfastness, and reliability. This can help the brand stand out as a stable, trustworthy option among competing products that may seem more hip or trendy.

Brand language has become so important that companies are hiring a new type of expert: the brand writer. They are a hybrid of brand consultant and word expert who can take a company’s strategy and goals and translate them into a language that will communicate with consumers.

Brand Voice

Brand voice is the distinct personality a business curates to communicate with its target audience across mediums. It includes a unified approach to tone and style that builds brand recognition and nurtures connection with the customer.

Developing a brand voice begins by reviewing company values and identifying key characteristics that describe the audience and marketing personas. From there, a list of adjectives and phrases that characterize the personality can be developed. The final step is to write voice guidelines that everyone who writes customer-facing content will have access to.

For example, a company that prides itself on transparency and eco-friendliness might use a lighthearted, casual tone to support those values. Similarly, a company that sells motorcycles might use a slightly sweary and to-the-point voice to convey its rugged, strong image.

Regardless of the tone used, brand voice should be consistent across all channels. However, the voice should adjust depending on the type of content being written. For instance, an email announcing a sale would likely have a lighter tone than an article about the latest industry trends.