As a branding agency in Raleigh, NC, we get this question all the time. By definition, branding is the practice of creating a name, symbol, or design that recognizes and distinguishes the difference between one product over another. This is like when a new business creates a mark for themselves that is easily identifiable with that business. Doing this helps identify and differentiate products or services from the rest. Branding leaves customers with a first impression of a business and conveys a message of what they are to expect from what you have to offer. A business's brand should be constructed as a direct representation of who they are and how they wish to be regarded by the public. In addition to all these things, branding also helps create trust between consumers and businesses. However, a brand is more than just the logo, name, and catchy tagline of a company. It is everything that a business embodies and what sets them apart from the rest. Branding can be achieved through its visual identity, advertisements, as well as product and packaging design. In short, branding is the process of giving a specific meaning to a company and its products or services.
While branding is critical on a business level in order to set the overall impact and mission of a company, it also affects consumers. A brand provides consumers with a shortcut to decision-making when feeling indecisive about what similar product to buy from different businesses. Branding strategies, if done successfully, also add to a company’s reputation. The reputation of a brand can affect everyone from consumers to employees, to investors and shareholders. For example, if you personally do not like or feel connected to a particular brand, not only are you going to avoid buying their products, you probably wouldn’t want to work for them either. On the other hand, if you discover a brand that inspires you and offers products that you enjoy, you would more than likely be a repeat customer as well as having a desire to work for them.
Different strategies work for different businesses, although the formula for shaping a brand is all relatively similar. Branding can be achieved through listing out a business’s purpose, values, and promise – also known as your brand definition. A business’s identity is what takes up the bulk of the brand, and what most people are more familiar with. A brand identity includes the name, tone of voice, visual identity (logo, color palette, typefaces, product and packaging design, etc.). The way in which a brand advertises has a large impact on what audience it will reach as well. Traditional marketing such as television and radio commercials, magazine, website, and mobile app ads are still some of the top ways to reach consumers. To simplify it all, a product is what a business sells, their brand is what the public perceives of the company, and branding is the strategy used to create that image. In today’s world, branding is more important than ever before. With precise strategy and unique characteristics, the sky is the limit for what a brand can do!