Chances are you’ve heard the terms “brand” and “branding” thrown around a lot. Proper development of these two principles requires knowing how they are related, but more importantly, that they are absolutely distinct and different things.
I know – they should’ve maybe picked more unique names. No worries, here’s a breakdown of what you need to know.
BRAND: Your company’s brand is the overall impression you present to clients or customers; the perception or reputation. The net result of the branding process.
A brand is built (using branding, but wait, we’ll get to that in a minute) using a combination of what your company actually does or produces, with supporting elements like language, visual components, and other aesthetic components.
Parts of your business brand include:
- What you do
- What you make
- How you describe yourself (through written online content,marketing materials like brochures, and advertising.)
- Visual elements: Logo, Videos, Visual Language, Imagery, etc.
Some of these, especially the visual elements, can appear inconsequential to someone who isn’t familiar with how a brand is built and how even the smallest parts of what a company presents to the public help contribute to the overall way they’re perceived.
Something as detailed as which colours you pick, what fonts appear in your written materials and website, and how your logo looks can make a tremendous difference in what energy your public presence puts off - which can have a major impact on the success of your company (but certainly not as great as an impact what you do, how you do it (supported by the values), and why (purpose) – in this instance, if all the elements behind the pretty visuals are not firing on all cylinders, then it’s the old lipstick on a gorilla.
BRANDING: Branding is the verb to accompany the noun that is “brand”. In other words, it’s the process of strategising what you want your brand to be, making choices that support your brand goals and objectives (business objectives in fact), and implementing the many components throughout your company that achieve that goal.
The process (and they are in fact processes), when done correctly, should be a fairly time-consuming thing - it’s basically the outcome from your business strategy.
For most businesses, enlisting the help of a branding expert (brand expert not just one of many design companies calling itself brand expert (with little or no understanding about how businesses actually work internally; how brand impacts value chain; implications re. disruption and investment and so on...) can not only make this a much easier project to take on, but will make your branding efforts hit the mark with greater accuracy, yielding far better results.
Understanding the emotional connotations of every detail of your company’s image is a thing that comes naturally to these people.
This quality, mixed with lots of experiencing carrying brands into the public market, makes them a powerful professional ally to have.
THE GOOD NEWS: even if taking on a branding or re-branding campaign can cost time and money, it usually doesn’t have to happen but a few times in the lifespan of a business, especially if it’s done right.