What is branding?
At Tiller, we’ve had the privilege of working with many amazing companies to craft their new brand from scratch or to re-envision their existing brand. Our favourite part of this process is working closely with a company to visualize and communicate the core of their business and sharing in the excitement of the impact that will make. We recently took on a massive rebrand for ourselves and have seen firsthand the value branding has had on our company.
Branding is more than just a logo, fonts, and colours. Your brand represents who you are, what you stand for, and how you do business. A brand is primarily made up of three main components: brand identity (visual design), messaging, and experience. The combination of these components is what helps form the perception people have of your business. These three components each need to play a key role and work together to communicate clearly and connect your audience to your business.
Brand identity consists of logo, colour palette, typography, imagery, website, social media, marketing material, and any other visual elements associated with your company. The elements of your brand identity are often packaged together in a Brand Guideline or Brand Book. A Brand Guideline helps maintain the integrity of your brand by providing instruction on how to best implement your visual elements. A strong brand identity is consistent across all visual material associated with your company.
Brand messaging communicates your values, key differentiators, and how your company solves a problem or makes life better for your audience. Common uses of brand messaging includes your website, social media channels, email communications, internal communications, and all marketing material. Strong brand messaging is concise with absolute clarity and, by all means, should avoid confusing your audience.
Brand experience is made up of the interactions your audience has with your brand visuals, messaging, and directly with your company. Direct interactions with your company can be anything from viewing your website, to completing a transaction, engaging in your services, or speaking with a company associate over the phone, in person, or online. An effective brand has a strong cohesion between visuals, communication, and the direct interactions customers have with your company.
Why does branding matter?
Due to factors such as competition, seasonality, and changes in technology, products and services can have limited life cycles while brands have much more longevity. People don’t have relationships with products and services but they do have relationships with brands. Without branding there’s no differentiation. In addition to drawing attention to your company, effective branding builds credibility, trust, loyalty, and perception of quality.
Credibility is built by delivering high quality products and exceptional customer service. This will turn your customers into big fans of your brand and provides a great opportunity to gather testimonials and social proof.
In order to build trust with your audience there needs to be consistency between your brand’s visual elements, messaging, and the interactions your audience has with your business. Branding helps you communicate the value you provide to your audience, and when your company’s communications are backed by actions, your audience will gain the trust needed to make a purchase or hire your services.
Your brand can gain the trust needed to turn your audience into customers and great customer experiences build on that trust and lead to loyalty. When expectations are set and consistently met, ongoing relationships thrive and customer retention is strong. Not only will your customers be loyal, they’ll be much more likely to share their great experiences with others.
If people associate quality with your brand they will associate quality with your products and services. The perception that people have of your company can impact the decisions to purchase your products or hire your services. However, if you only look the part and cannot deliver on what you promise, your brand perception will be damaged and customer retention will suffer.
An effective brand also makes an impact within your organization. Your team will have clarity on what your company is about, there will be cohesion in how your company is represented, and you can more clearly align your marketing strategies with your business goals.
How to approach branding
There are many fast and cheap options for getting a logo made. But the old saying “you get what you pay for” could not be more relevant when it comes to branding. Find a branding expert or agency who specializes in branding, who cares about getting results, and has the work to show for it. At Tiller, we focus on delivering value and strategically solving problems to make an impact and get results.
If you’re working with a branding expert, there are some things you can do as a company in preparation to make the most out of your branding experience.
- Know your purpose, your values, and have a vision for your future. These are the foundational elements that a brand should be built off.
- Understand your audience and their needs. Your brand needs to resonate with your audience and you need to know them to most effectively connect with them.
- Know what you want your brand to do. What does success look like? What is the outcome you’re hoping your brand will help you achieve?
The branding partner that’s right for you will work closely with you to understand your company, your industry, your audience, and your objectives and will use these details as the foundation of your brand.