When asked what branding is, you might think of your logo, website, typeface and voice. Maybe you think of colour palettes. Or perhaps your first thoughts turn to letterheads and stationery. The fact it, it’s difficult for many businesses to define what branding is without breaking it up into a collection of a brand’s parts. It seems that the term ‘branding’ has somewhat of an identity crisis.

What is a brand?

The brand itself isn’t a tangible concept. It’s what people think of when they see your business. As a concept based on perception, your brand is hanging in a constant balance, something which can be easily shifted. Your brand essentially acts as a shortcut for your audience, so they understand your business and know where to categorise it.

More than just a logo

There are plenty of brands with a strong logo which makes them easy to pick out from the crowd. Think major players such as Nike, Coca-Cola and McDonalds. But while their logo is certainly an asset to their brand, it isn’t the reason behind their success. These brands are an accumulation of all their parts which work together to form associations in the minds of their audience. Even with the golden arches, if McDonalds veer away from their family-friendly fast food USP, they will quickly start to alienate their audience.

Shaping your branding

While your brand essentially exists in the minds of your audience, branding is the practice of shaping your brand to gain control of these perceptions. While it may feel like there’s a lot outside of your control when it comes to branding, there’s plenty that you can change.

An ongoing effort

Branding is not finite. You cannot just define all the different components of your brand on day one and expect these to be successful without managing it going forward. As a business, you can’t just tell your audience who you are, you need to show them in a way which lets them come to that conclusion on their own. Especially in today’s consumer climate, people are paying attention to the behaviour that brands exhibit and if it lines up to what you say you do.

In the beginning, your brand will just be a set of parts. It won’t be brought to life until further on down the line once you’ve started making decisions and showing your audience who you are as a business. This comes down to every decision you make, from the suppliers you use, your returns policy, whether you offer out of hours support and so much more. Even the smallest of these decisions will make up a part of your wider story and become another component of your unique brand.

Getting the right support

When it comes to brand and branding, there’s a lot to think about and it can feel like a constant uphill battle. With this in mind, you need to ensure the align with brand experts, whether they’re in house or outsourced. At Skein, we understand the power of branding and can help with both the design and strategic elements of making a brand come to life. To find out more about how we can help you, get in touch.

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash