What’s in a Brand?

March 2, 2016

After recently going through the process of rebranding ourselves, we were reminded that it’s actually a whole lot of stuff that can be a bit confusing. Branding is a crucial component of a company’s marketing and advertising strategy. So, if you’re looking to build your brand, let us help you get started with a few pointers.

 

Most of the technical definitions of brand use terms like name, design and symbol. A brand is these things, but when it comes to marketing and advertising, it’s also so much more. Saying a brand is just a symbol or name is like introducing yourself by saying, “Hi, my name is Amy, and I have red hair” and then, just walking away. Have you left any sort of impression? No. Do they have any inkling of who you are as a human being? No.

 

Like people, branding is the sum of both its tangible and intangible parts. It’s the color of your logo and the name of your company, but it’s also what people think of you. Every part works together to create a brand.

 

When I grow up. 

 

When you’re developing a new brand (or bringing in the old one for a remodel), this is a great place to start. Think about what you want people to think about you or how you want them to see you.

 

Know thyself (and be honest). 

 

Pretend you’re the consumer. Ask all the boring, mundane questions you think are completely irrelevant or obvious. Trust us, they’re not. And BE HONEST. Maybe who you think you want to be isn’t really who you are. Batman’s not going to try to be Superman. He’s BATMAN. And vice versa.

 

Know who you’re talking to. 

 

Find a way to connect who you want to be with what your consumer needs from you. Otherwise, they’ll decide they really don’t need you.

 

It’s a balancing act. 

 

Be prepared because a good brand is a balancing act between your needs and the needs of the consumer. You can’t just talk at them. To develop a meaningful relationship, you need to have a conversation.


Ask around. 

 

CEOs, front desk clerks, managers, janitors. Everyone will have a different perspective on the company, and you never know which insight will be the one that turns into a great idea.

 

Visual identity. 

 

We know. This one’s obvious right? Of course it is, but it’s also too important not to mention. Visual identity is your company’s face. It’s one of the best memory cues and the easiest way to be recognized. Logos, colors, fonts and pictures are a huge part of this. Think….golden arches…or half-eaten fruit. (Ring any bells? We bet it does.)

 

Be clear and consistent.

 

Make sure every brand component you produce fits together into a larger puzzle. This makes you recognizable and easy to understand so consumers can connect to you.

 

Be a turtle. 

 

This is, arguably, the most important thing. If you remember nothing else, please find a little drawer in the corner in your mind to store this. Developing a strong brand identity takes time and hard work. Don’t rush it. You may get the world’s greatest idea within your first five minutes of brainstorming (if you do, please, teach us your ways). But more than likely, you will spend weeks poring over the 50 horrible ideas you come up with before the right one decides to jump up and slap you right in the face. And trust us, you want to wait for the right one.

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