What is brand?
Brand is a catch all term that we use to describe the look and the feel of a company. This is everything from the logo, to what colors they use, to how they speak about themselves, and their voice, tone, and style of communicating. Basically brand is everything.
Brand can sometimes feel like a buzz word that marketers use that doesn’t mean much, but don’t be fooled — your brand is the most valuable asset. You may think branding became popularized with the rise of commercial advertising, but actually the word brand has been around for centuries — first being used in farming as a way of distinguishing livestock by ‘branding’ them with your own unique symbol.
Basically — if you do something that’s really good, you’d want people to know about it, right? This is where branding comes in. Your brand is who you are, and what you do.
So why is brand important?
Brand is important to distinguish yourself from the competition, to create an association between your products and your company, and to develop customer loyalty.
In the 1950s, just like in Mad Men, advertising agencies developed modern marketing as we know it today. With the rise of consumer goods available to the public, each company needed a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors. This is where brand came in.
Sidetrack: Let’s talk about brand association for a minute. Brand association is the reason that when we hear BA BA BA BA BA we know it’s a McDonalds advert. Or why when we see this image, we know it’s Coca Cola.
You don’t have to be a billion dollar company to build brand association though. If you’re a local coffee shop you could use bright green take away cups instead of the regular boring white ones — over time, anytime somebody uses a bright green cup in public, they are advertising your brand for free.
Bright green might not be the best color for you though, because you need to think about your….brand colors. Ok now slow down Alice, brand colors? Yeah, brand colors.
You should pick between 5 and 7 colors that compliment each other that you want to represent your brand. This is called your brand color palette. Use this across all of your products, social media sites, and printed materials.
With me so far?
These days we hear internet influencers talk about their ‘personal brand’ as much as companies. Personal brand is a fancy way of saying ‘how you present yourself to the world’. The same principles apply wether you’re branding yourself, your work, or your business.
You might be thinking, do I need a brand? And the answer is yes! If you’re trying to promote yourself or your work. If you’re a freelancer, for example, you probably don’t need a logo but by making sure your brand colors are consistent throughout your website just makes you look a lot more professional.
How to develop a brand
There are lots of ways to develop your brand — you could go to a marketing firm, or you can do it yourself at home. One of my favourite ways to develop a brand is to take a big piece of blank paper and write a list of everything you want your brand to be.
If you’re a family-run bakery you might want to be friendly or open and homely, whereas if you were a law firm you might want to be corporate professional and authoritative.
For example, we at Venngage we want to be helpful, friendly, accessible, and design experts. So we took those words and developed a logo, a color palette, and a website that was ‘on brand’.
Branding top tips
- Know what you want to achieve before you start. If you want to be a high class boutique agency, that should be reflected in your branding. If you’re a family run bakery, your branding should fit that too.
- Keep it simple, don’t over complicate your brand. Pick one or two main things that you want to be.
- Consistency. Say it with me folk, consistency. Your brand colors should be consistent across all platforms. The way you talk about yourself should match up. Create a blank document and write these things down, and refer back to them every single time you write about yourself. Check in with the colors every time you publish something new.
Originally published here.