Regardless of what field you are in, branding will always be the theme and essence of your company. While the rest of the world may adhere the term to marketing, branding, in itself is its own entity. In fact, the overall concept and field will always play an integral role within the overall success of your business. But before I go further of how to best brand your business and organization, I have to address the million-dollar question: What is branding?
When we think about branding, many businesses and organizations usually associate it within the realms of marketing. While they are not inherently wrong for thinking that, the general public needs to understand the vision and goals between the two completely different sectors. When we are talking about marketing, we are ultimately talking about the strategy and promotion of a company’s products and services with the goal to grab the attention of the general public and sell them on said-product and/or services. This intent to sell is, at the end of the day, what makes marketing a necessary need in the financial aspect of your business. It also represents the single defining difference from its counterpart, branding. For branding, the overall concept revolved around the identity of your company. It is that identity that represents the vision, goals, beliefs, and future growth that your business looks to accomplish each and everyday.
Now, while branding may utilize similar business tactics that are often found in marketing, the overall story and end goal is to highlight the essence of the company. It tells the intended market what your beliefs are, what your plans are for the future, how you differentiate from your competitors, and most importantly what your customers can expect from your products and services. These logos and phrases are, in themselves, the name and face of your business. That type of representation is something that is everlasting with your business. Just think about the great logos and phrases that are out there and how we automatically think of various themes and niches that fit their profile. For example, when we think of Under Armour, we think of the performance, athletics, action, and sports. In comparison, when we think of Apple, we think of creativity, technology, music, computers, and entertainment. With just that simple brand, you are able to capture the principle that represents what you and your company stand for.
So how do you create a brand that is representative of your company and their ideals? What logos and phrase can be associated with your brand to show the growth, development, and overall vision of your company?
To create a brand, you have to first and foremost understand that this process does take time. Apple’s “Think Differently” and Nike’s “Just Do It” slogans did not automatically attach themselves with the general public. Instead, both companies had to foster their mentality and products to associate themselves with bigger concepts that are now known today. But, during their creative process, they did have an underlying idea of what they wanted. When creating a brand for your company, you want to make sure you are aligning all of the ideas under one theme. It is that theme that will represent those overarching questions of what your business stands for and what you are looking to accomplish. To do this effectively, make sure you come up with a list of characteristics and adjectives that represent your company. These concepts will help identify the right message and image you will want to associate with your brand.
To help with this process, try setting up various controlled studies. Go even as far as to seek specific feedback in whether or not your brand is representative of the ideas and concepts it is trying to achieve and sell. Remember, at the end of the day, your brand wants to highlight a particular message. If you are finding that the response is not hitting what you are looking for, regroup, strategize, and redesign.
Now before you publish your prototype, try comparing your logo against your competitors within your field. For many of these companies, they have already perfected a specific idea and message that has reached the general public in the best possible way. Now I am not saying to replicate or refurbish their logo. Instead, analyze and understand how their logos and phrases were able to capture their market and how representative it is to their company values. This may give you some insight on how to better improve your logo in the most marketable way possible.
Once you have done your research and created your first prototype, continue to test your brand with another controlled group. Remember, the more feedback you have, the better information you can utilize in created the most representative trademark, symbol and phrase for your company.