I would define a brand as the visual and emotional recognition of a business. Webster defines it as: “a class of goods identified by name as the product of a single firm or manufacturer”
“Put simply, your “brand” is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand name. It’s everything the public thinks it knows about your name brand offering—both factual (e.g. It comes in a robin’s-egg-blue box), and emotional (e.g. It’s romantic).” —Forbes
Have you ever considered what makes up a brand and considered why it's important? Today, I want to talk about why a brand is much more than just a logo.
When I think of branding, I think of the emotions and feelings a customer or consumer experiences when they interact with that particular brand.
We all associate emotions and feelings with specific brands, sometimes without even realizing it. Consider a few of these well-known brands: Coca cola, Apple, Nike, Target
We each have some sort of emotional connection with these—good or bad. You may even be able to recognize a product of a brand without even seeing the logo. I don’t know about you, but I can spot a Target or Apple commercial well before I’ve seen their logo or name.
This is because they use other elements than their logo to create that connection with their consumer.
A brand is made up of several different pieces. Let's break it down into 3 areas.
1 | Visual Elements
The visual aspect of your brand is often the first thing people recognize. Ideally, your visuals are unique and identifiable to your audience.
Visual elements often include:
Logo and brand mark
Photographic style (clean, bright, dark, vintage, rustic, etc.)
Font selections (modern, sleek, vintage, feminine, masculine)
Every visual element serves a different purpose. Your fonts, color choices, photography and social media graphics all matter just as much—if not more—than your logo. Your logo is the foundation for your brand, but without other key elements, it can only convey so much to your audience. You need all the complementary elements in order to form a complete, cohesive brand.
Your voice is identified through the type of words you use on your blog, through social media, and across your website. Some people include sarcasm or jokes, while others include excited words like yay! Or boo-yah! These types of things will help determine your voice and style.
2 | Your Voice
Every reader has a writing style they gravitate towards, even if they don’t realize it. Embracing your style can be a huge selling point for your particular audience. Certain people will like your style of communicating and keep coming back.
Also, the things you talk or write about will help establish your voice. I use social media as a place to encourage and motivate other entrepreneurs. I want my content to be valuable, but also motivational and thought-provoking. That may mean sharing more details of my life than some would prefer to share.
Being completely transparent about struggles and victories is very important to me, but it requires a level of vulnerability and honesty others may prefer to avoid. It can be risky to reveal your true struggles with your readers out of fear they may see you differently or doubt your abilities.
Decide what you want your voice to be and use your platforms to establish that voice with your audience.
You are your brand. It is an extension of who you are and should reflect you (especially if you are a solo-entrepreneur). You shouldn’t use photos or colors you don’t like, words you would never actually say, or content you yourself don’t agree with. Everything that goes in and out of your company represents you and your brand and is working together to form your unique voice.
3 | Your Client's Experience
If you have a storefront or restaurant, this is a huge factor for your brand. Even if you have an online business and communicate with your clients over the phone or email, the way you interact with them will say more than you think.
The process your clients go through when working on a project with you also contributes to your brand’s persona. Is your process organized, formal, relaxed, flexible, serious, fun-loving?
If your clients have a great experience, they are more likely to tell their friends and family about it.
Let’s use these two scenarios as an example:
Client A books a project with you. They pay their deposit and then don’t hear from you for a week. When they do finally receive an email from you, it’s vague and leaves them wondering about the next steps. Throughout the entire project, they have constant questions and have a hard time getting ahold of you. Their emails to you are returned with short, unfriendly responses.
Client B books a project with you and immediately receives a thank you email telling them how excited you are to work with them. The following business day they receive a welcome guide that lays out each step of the process and everything they can expect moving forward. Throughout the project, you arrange several skype meetings to make sure the client is in the loop and you answer all of their questions. Each time the client emails you about the project, you are quick to respond, upbeat and always have a positive attitude.
Which client do you think is going to refer you to their friends? Which client would you expect to leave you a glowing testimonial for you to display on your website?
You guessed it—the client who had a memorable, stress-free experience.
There are many elements that play a role in developing a strong brand. I hope this post helped you to think of some ways you can help your brand stand out. If you are in need of branding or website design, you can view my service packages here.
You may also find this post 10 Branding Questions Every Business Owner Should Answer helpful.