If you want to succeed in any business, you need a strong brand. Be it a personal brand or a business brand. So what is a brand?
What is a brand?
There are some misconceptions as to what a brand is. No, it's not all about the visuals! A brand is so much more than a pretty logo and a business card. It's how other people perceive your business. It's the overall look and feel.
Branding consists of your brand mission, vision, and your core values. Furthermore, branding is about how you are different from other businesses out there. It's the unique value you give to your customers, your voice and most importantly, personality. You cannot have a brand without any of these. If you think about it, you will agree with me.Let's look into the following example:You love coffee. Every morning before you go to work or school, you come by your favorite coffee shop to get your super strong double shot caramel macchiato. Now, it's important to indicate that this coffee shop is not the closest to your home. You actually have to make an effort and walk 10 mins to this place. If you wanted to, you could get a coffee at the nearest coffee shop- a soulless place with a huge line. In fact, your friend Kylie loves this place! It's so chic and vibrant. But you love the other place- it's quiet and the coffee is so much better. So, which place is better?The answer is: both are.
It just depends on the customer and their values. And notice- they have different personalities- the small cozy, friendly place vs. the big, shiny, trendy place. See what I mean?
Why is branding important?
A strong brand serves several purposes.First of all, it increases your brand recognition. You know how you immediately recognize Michael Kors' logo on a bag? It's simple, yet memorable.Second, people are more likely to purchase from a business that appears legitimate and has a polished look. Would you purchase a $100 bag from a website with a logo that looks like a kid created it in MS Paint? Probably not.
Remember: Premium brands can charge premium prices. Last but not least, branding makes it easier to acquire new customers. If a person really likes your services or products, make sure she or he will recommend you. Can you imagine someone recommending you to your friends after seeing your crappy website or weird logo? I don't think so.
What Is a Brand Identity?
If you are reading this, you might think "Oh, but I have a logo and a color palette, therefore, I have a brand. So, what are you talking about, Iglika? No, this is not branding, this is your brand identity. It's the visuals you use in order to communicate your core values, beliefs, and vision. Sometimes people use the word branding to actually describe the brand identity.The purpose of a brand identity is to establish guidelines and set consistency. Let me be clear here. Your online business, blog or whatever you are trying to launch online won't last without properly executed branding. You need to be consistent. Are you guilty of using different colors and fonts on your social media and your website? Be honest ;)
Here's a list of some common items usually included in a brand identity:
- The main Logo
- A logo variation ( different colors or shapes)
- Color Palette
- Branded images
- A library of graphic elements
- A library of social media templates
- Print collateral
Here's an example of a custom brand design from my Etsy shop.