Branding 101: Why Build Your Company Foundation?

Branding 101 anitakc

As described in the 101 post, branding is how the public feels about your brand and involves all the design and messages attached to your company and products/services. It’s commonly described as the promise you’re giving to customers. Branding also helps your employees and potential employees align themselves with the company.

Let’s think about the Nike brand. Can you see the swoop logo in your head? Their “Just Do It” tagline invokes confidence, hard work, ambition, and collaboration. Their persona is the strong and motivated athlete you want to become. Their brand ambassadors, the athletes making appearances in commercials or wearing their gear because of sponsorships, are examples that using the Nike product can make you a better athlete. Through their branding, you envision a company that will help you become the best athlete.

In the end, branding helps the consumer embody what the company is all about at its core.

If you want more brand examples, think about Disney, Apple, State Farm, and Southwest. Can you recall symbols, colors, taglines, and feelings specific to each company? That’s (years and year of) branding at work!

So, your branding is really important. It’s the foundation your company has to grow on and it should be the first thing you figure out before you send your company into the wild. After your branding foundation is set, your branding needs to be consistent, meaning you need to stick to the guidelines you’ve established.

Branding involves your logo, tagline/slogan, company mission, company persona/voice, values and more. It helps your target audience, potential customer, and current customers understand your company to develop loyalty with your company. They recognize your band when they see it.

Let’s dive into branding features.

Logo: This is the mark by which people will recognize you. Depending on your company, you may want a version that can be a symbol and one that can be combined with your name. A good way to think about this is by looking at the apps on your phone. You can easily recognize the app/company by the icon. Maybe your company needs this (particularly tech companies), or maybe, your company name needs a unique font. Think about color meanings too. For example, many banks use the color blue in their logo because it’s a color of trust and loyalty.

Colors: Using your logo as the guiding star, the colors you use need to be complementary and consistent to your logo. Help your customers recognize your brand and make all your materials look good with coordinating colors. These colors could be present when decorating your office and creating branded takeaways, sales one-pagers, social media graphics, etc. Use color wheel theory to help you choose your colors.

Tagline/Slogan: This is a catch phrase will help identify your company. It’s something that will become engrained into your audience’s head. Make it unique, make it connect to your purpose, and make it memorable. For example: Apple’s “Think Different,” BMW’s “The Ultimate Driving Machine,” and McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It.” These taglines are present on products, advertising, and collateral. With the other parts of branding, your tagline is a trigger for your audience.

Mission: Why does your company exist? When faced with important decisions and the day-to-day tasks, your mission will help lead your actions, priorities, and team. Your mission is something that will draw your ideal customers to you because they want to be a part of your mission.

Values: Listing out your values helps support your mission and helps guide your company. “We will accomplish our mission through X value, Y value and Z value.” What matters most to you and your company? Inspiration? Innovation? Honesty? Teamwork?

Persona/Voice: If your brand was embodied in a person, how would this person be? What would he/she wear? How would he/she speak? What personality characteristics would he/she have? What values would be important to her/him? Imagining all of this can help you develop your ideal customer and company voice. Using a persona/voice will help lead the audience your way.

How do you know if your branding is successful?

  • Gather your team and ask them about the company brand. Do they all say the same, correct thing? (What your company founders have decided on.)
  • What is the energy of your audience towards your brand? Do you have fans? Do they engage with you? What feedback are they giving you?

Branding takes a lot of brainstorming and collaboration. I’ve been in many a client meeting where we took hours and even days with key decision-makers to hash out the details and analyze the foundation of the company. As I said before, branding is the starting point and is very important! Take the time to do it correctly.

I hope this helps clear up some questions about branding. If you have questions or comments, please leave a response below or send me a message.

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