Branding. What does it actually mean?
The term branding people use it interchangeably with logo design, identity design, and even sometimes typography.
Let’s start with what branding isn’t.
Branding is not a logo. A logo is a very useful tool for a business, but it’s not a brand. A logo is a symbol for the brand. A brand is not a product.
When people talk about a brand, buying or owning a certain kind of brand, what they are actually really talking about is the product. That is not what brand is made of.
People say the brand is a promise the company makes to its customers. what they really mean is actually the policy.
Advertising people like to say “brand is the sum of all the impressions that a company makes on an audience”. Of your business is all about making impressions, that might be useful to you. But from a business point of view, why would your customers want that? How will impressions help creative people understands what they are doing?
None of those things is really what branding is all about.
So what is a brand?
Brand is a result.
A brand is a customer’s gut feeling about a product, service, or a company. It ends up in their head, their heart and it does in some way improve their quality of life.
They take whatever raw material you provide them and they make something out of it.
So in a sense when you create a brand, you’re not creating one brand, you’re creating millions of brands like however many customers or clients in your audience. Each one will always have a different brand of you.
Brand is a reputation
A brand is your business reputation, so everyone’s going to have a little bit different about what that reputation is.
Most companies and designers tend to look at branding as their point of view like “this is something that we are doing.” “We are telling a story.” We are making a claim.” but that’s not what it really means.
A brand is a result of all that.
How do you start making a brand?
If you don’t start there, you don’t know what you’re doing. You think you know and have it all handle well but you don’t.
From a business and designer point of view, we always tent to be working in a certain way following what has been done before rather following our gut feeling of how and why this should be done. We tend to try selling our product as hard as we can. From the client point of view, they’re going off the checklist. “I got the logo, I got the tagline, I got the ad campaign. All good!”. And they think they’re done. None of it is right.
What’s right is what happens in people’s head. What have you achieved from all that stuff? What’s the reputation that we’ve created through the products we’re putting out? How about the design of the product? What about the message we’re putting out? How is the look and feel of the product? Most importantly, how does that affect people? How does it affect our reputation? All that stuff counts as what Brand is.