If anyone tells you that your Brand is what you show to the world, I would argue that they don’t understand branding.
Name, logo, colours and design are the iceberg tip of what your Brand is. Your brand is the encapsulation of your audience’s perception of, and experience with, your business (and you).
Note the word perception, which is information RECEIVED AND RETAINED by a resistant, overtaxed mind. Our principle job as communicators is to SEND our message as clearly and consistently as we can to create and amplify the connection.
There is as much art as science in branding.
Brands are a blend of heart and mind – or emotion and logic if you like – so just for a brief time put measurable outcomes to one side and have faith there will be lasting benefits to building a beacon that sends messages for you 24/7.
BRAND is the sum total of how someone perceives you. That includes who they think you are, what they think you do, how well they think you do it, whether you are “for them” and have a solution they want.
BRANDING is the process of deliberately shaping that perception to create a connection.
A strong brand is reinforced through all touch points. These include how you look and what you say. Your written and spoken messages, social media, product delivery, packaging, livery, on boarding, issue resolution, staff demeanour, communication and selling messages.
Your Brand also operates internally and is the bedrock of the ethics and culture of your business and creates a coda for your team and other stakeholders.
A brand is your reputation in action, and in business, as in life, reputation is everything.
Unlike some other marketing activities, Brand is not about copying tactics that work for other people. It only works from the inside out. What people see is only the part of the iceberg above the waterline.
True branding is personal, holistic and real. If you want to get known for the value you can provide, this is the foundational piece.
Here is the metaphor I use: Your brand is like a bridge that spans two islands:
You’re on one island, shining your light, powered by your insight, your talents, your experience and specialized knowledge to share.
Across the water on the other island are your audience. Hiding in plain sight amongst them are your prospective buyers. They don’t yet know that your island has the solutions to problems they dearly want to solve or that you can deliver them a long held desire.
Your brand is that bridge that invites your audience to come over to your world. It’s so much more than how you look, it’s what you say, the tone of your voice, how you act and engage and how your personality resonates with theirs. It’s how you signal your value and whether you seem like a person who can be trusted.
Your bridge (Brand) is what you promise and deliver.
Brands go DEEP, they are your integrity, values, culture and mission. Please do the work to build a generous, inviting bridge that will seamlessly invite people into your world.
The 3 Elements of a Brand
Brands comprise tangible, experiential and emotional elements.
Tangible and experiential combine to form your unique properties. Experiential and emotional combine to bond people to a brand with storytelling and heritage. They form the stick factor and the “glue”.
TANGIBLE: Tangible properties include the visual brand identity such as typography, logo, colour palette, graphics, shapes, tagline, packaging and your overall signature style.
EXPERIENTIAL: Experiential is an area of branding that is increasingly gaining focus, this brings in the senses and memory to create a relationship via an immersion or experience.
Experiences are delivered by activating the sense elements. These are taste, sound, feel and smell. Take smell for example, coffee brands, scent brands, many food brands work hard to activate your sense of smell, as it is so powerful for recognition and memory.
Sounds, actions (the Toyota leap) slogans and jingles, mnemonics (2 all beef patties). Secrets and memories. The feeling of things is also exploited, the softness of puppies, kittens and duckling sell tissues and toilet paper (advertised in the 1930’s as being “splinter free). Other kinaesthetic elements often used are smoothness, relaxation, comfort, coolness and warmth.
EMOTION: Emotion, the third layer of brand building is perhaps the most difficult to pull off, though it is also the piece that can create the largest point of difference
It is all about how your brand makes your customers FEEL. Strive to create an emotional connection with your audience. Often achieved by the use of brand storytelling, this is achieved by welding your message to emotion.
For many decades this has been the strong hold of TV advertising (which, make no mistake, it still is), but video, podcasting and blogging have all facilitated storytelling.
READ NEXT: BRANDING FROM THE INSIDE OUT