Rick Mess | Sep 6, 2021
Did you know that you already have a brand? Yes, even if you don’t run a business and haven’t spent a penny on branding. Even if you have never heard this term before, you have a brand. How is this possible?
In a certain sense, every person has a “brand.” Every company has a brand, regardless of whether it has invested in brand development. Why? Because a brand is what people think of you. It’s not an image or a self-presentation.
Your brand is your degree of being known, liked, and trusted by others.
Essentially, your brand is the mental image of you shared by the people you deal with. If you are running a business, these people are your clients, partners, and employees. It doesn’t matter if it’s small or big, specialized or not; people will always have some general impression of your company. You can’t stop them from having these thoughts. What you can do is channel them in the right direction to create a favorable picture. And to do that, you will need to put in some work.
I have noticed that many people misunderstand what branding is. They often mistake the attributes of branding with branding itself. They tend to think of branding as “logos and stuff.” This popular misconception leads to unnecessary expenses and frustration. More than a few companies have paid a steep price for it.
Think of your company as a man. The logo is the hat that makes him visible above the crowd. The hat is what makes him instantly recognizable to people who have seen it before. Branding is his overall impression on people. It’s not just his hat, suit, and shoes. It’s his expression, his eyes and smile, his gestures and tone of voice, his body language and temperament. It’s the way he looks at people, it’s the things he says and the emotions he broadcasts. Is he fun to be with? Is he nice? Just like a person, a brand can be likable or unlikable, exciting or boring.
Creating a logo is like wearing a dapper hat. It’s hardly enough to be liked and trusted. To take over the market and acquire fans, a company needs to work on its image.
Branding is a set of activities geared toward establishing reputation and trust.
Your brand is not how you imagine your company will look like tomorrow. It’s the image you have right here and now. This should give many of us pause for thought.
What should we do to improve this image?
A spice trader at the village market has no logo, but — surprise, surprise! — he does have a brand. His smile, friendliness, and attentiveness to customers automatically create a likable and welcoming image. This image is what encourages his customers to return, to seek him out, to recommend him to their friends. This is the very essence of what a brand is.
Today, our life and business are gradually moving to the virtual world. And in this world, nobody will buy anything from a seller with no face or reputation. “A nobody,” “a stranger,” “a suspicious character”: this is what this friendly guy will be called if he tries doing business on the Internet.
Some business owners mistakenly believe that they have no need for branding. This is especially typical of small companies running niche businesses that rely on personal communications with clients, such as small wholesalers or companies that sell cheap homogenous goods outside of their customers’ basic needs (for example, nails in bulk). Some do realize that they need branding but keep postponing it because it doesn’t seem like a pressing issue. Others think that having a name and a logo will suffice. This misconception is a serious handicap for any business. Perhaps the only companies that don’t need branding are monopolies with no competition in the foreseeable future.
Even if you do nothing, your clients and partners will have a mental image of your company.
This isn’t good news or bad news; it’s not even news. It’s just a fact.
When companies fail to work on their reputation and trustworthy image, they inevitably leave a bad impression on the market, their partners, and their audience. At best, this cuts into their profits; at worst, they are driven out by competitors that did not neglect to invest in their reputation and branding. Branding is always aimed at achieving impressive business results. So the secret to any company’s attractiveness is effective branding.
As we have seen, it’s not enough to be noticed: you must also become attractive. And for that you need a “plan of seduction.”
This plan starts with a brand platform. It’s a management scheme that is absolutely necessary for any company at any stage.
By working on your brand you are advancing your business.
A brand platform allows you a more objective view of your own company — the way it is perceived by the market, your clients, partners, and team members. You can adjust your growth paths and check your actions against the company’s ideals, goals, and mission.
A brand platform will help you to:
- create an image for your brand;
- introduce your company to investors and partners;
- give a quick idea of your business to new employees;
- set clear tasks for designers, advertisers, and SMMs;
- speed up organizational processes;
- promptly respond to market challenges and be more flexible.
Brand Platform + Visual Strategy = Brandbook
Designers should only be involved once you have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve and how you see your company’s future. Some people have it from the outset, while others only have a vague vision of their prospects even after years of doing business.
Branding will help both categories to see their goals better and achieve them sooner.
No business can succeed without a brand platform. And no platform can succeed without brand design.
Brand design is a visualization of the brand’s ideas and meanings.
Your clients and partners need to have at least some idea of what your company is. Imagine meeting someone online and being emotionally drawn to them. You would send your best pictures, tell them about yourself, make sure to maintain a proper tone, and make a favorable impression. You want to be liked, signaling affection and a desire for further contact. In fact, what you are doing is basically visual marketing. Now apply this skill set to your business. It involves all the same things. Saying “I’ll worry about brand identity later” is the same as sending someone a bland profile pic and expecting them to fall in love with you. It can be intriguing in personal relationships, but it will only breed mistrust in business.
Good visualization helps to build the brand image.
Creating a great idea platform for your brand is not enough if you don’t know how to pitch it to your audience. Bad, inappropriate, or low-quality design can easily undermine any amount of marketing effort. On the other hand, good design creates an impression of quality and reliability, which translates into consumer demand. It generates an emotional response, it is aesthetically pleasing and memorable.
Good brand design must do the following:
- Create images that correspond to brand ideas.
- Build a positive attitude toward the company and the product.
- Be impressive at first glance (good quality, exciting, relevant).
- Make people want to work with the company / purchase the product / use the service.
- Attract the audience and be memorable.
- Invoke emotions, trust, and a desire to stay with the brand.
Ideally, design should start at the stage of brand platform building and follow all further developments. A company’s image requires constant work. It should be maintained and developed all the time, as long as your business stays afloat. A rebranding may be necessary to prevent the design from becoming obsolete and stale. Branding is a process rather than a one-time act.
A brand is essential to identify a company in the marketplace. It builds reputation, helps to attract and retain clients, investors, suppliers, and employees. A brand helps to establish trust relationships with partners and consumers. All of which leads to a larger market and higher profits.
Branding is a way of promoting products. A branded product markets itself. As the brand becomes more established, consumers start recognizing the product among similar ones and prefer it to others.
Today, social media platforms are used to promote all kinds of businesses. This trend is definitely here to stay. Social media is a place for users to learn about brands and share this information; this works a lot quicker and more effective than traditional advertising. The target audience grows by leaps, the brand becomes recognizable, people start recommending it. But to be noticed on social media, you need to interest users. Visual marketing and unique design are two things that will help you make your brand interesting and recognizable.
To succeed in attracting attention and promoting your business, advertising must always be based on branding. When you have a brand platform and a visual concept, it is much easier to create advertising tools that will be right on target. It’s the only way to make sure your advertising is effective and worth the money.
We think in images; this is how our mind works. By painting a vivid picture, you create a more accurate impression of your company.
Branding helps you broadcast information about yourself. A brand will enable you to:
- Stand out from your competition.
- Impress your target audience.
- Create a positive attitude toward your company.
- Breed trust among users and partners.
- Make the company / product / service more memorable.
- Successfully interact with clients and partners.
- Save on advertising and promotion.
A strong, vivid, and exciting brand is not easy to create. But it is definitely worth the effort. A brand like that will always have loyal partners and clients, good profits and development prospects. In other words, there will always be a place for it in the future.