We, the alchemists of brands, designers and strategists, know the meaning of the jargon we use in our concoctions, but that doesn’t mean our clients know what we are talking about when we talk about brand, branding and other specimens.
When I run a workshop with clients, I observe that, ashamed when seeing how happily we jump from a word to another, many of them start using brand and branding randomly, to keep up, just in case.
Whether you have enough resources to hire a whole branding agency or work with a solo professional to set the foundations of your brand, as a startup owner you want to know these words that build your presence in the mind and heart of your audience. You want to make sure you talk the same language of the “sorcerers” of branding so that you can properly spellbound your audience.
Brand is the gut feeling and emotional impression customers have based on their experience with your business. That experience happens in every touch point, every interaction they have with your company.
It happens when they see your website, in your social media posts, in how your customer service answers their calls or emails, it happens when they receive a newsletter or read a post…all these experiences (good or bad) create an impression, and that impression is the brand.
The brand is built by your customers, so you need to make sure their impression is aligned with your goals, and values. And you do that with your brand strategy.
Long term plan in which core aspects of the brand such as goals, values, audience, positioning or promise…are defined, and a road map to reach these goals is created.
The brand strategy creates the personality of your brand, and that personality needs an appearance. Meet Brand Identity.
The appearance and tone of voice of your business, how your business presents itself to the world through the logo, visual language, tone of voice and other brand elements.
Remember when we said above that brand happens when your customers see your website or social media post or receive a newsletter?
Well, Branding is your social media, your post, your business card or your newsletter. Is the process of applying the personality (brand strategy) and the appearance (brand identity) of your business to every interaction and communication.
Branding is the alchemical process in which goals and values are embodied in a visual appearance and tone of voice to deliver the brand promise to the audience in any touch point and interaction.
– Defines the goal, mission, values and positioning of your brand
– Gives your brand a personality and voice
– Knows and understands your customer
– Defines your brand story, why does it exist
– Creates a logo that reflects your personality and mission
– Defines a visual and written consistent language
– Creates a structure to use the brand elements
– Applies all the brand elements consistently to every communication and touch point
– Finds out where your customers are and what they know about your business
– Checks how they buy your product or services
– Listens to their experience and opinion of your business
– Learns from your customer’s bad experiences and identifies opportunities for growth
To sum up…
Brand is how your customers feel about your company, product or service. To align that perception to your company’s goals, you create a strategy that translates into a visual identity and tone of voice, that will produce consistent communications for all touch points.
If you want to know more about how the value of brands for startups, check this article.