What is branding?
Branding is the process of assigning a distinct identity and meaning (i.e. a “brand”) to a business so that it can be easily recognised and experienced by its customers and beyond. Successful brands resonate with their target market and make them feel part of something bigger. It’s all about marketing and design, and boy can it affect business success!
On-the-money branding is much more than a stylish logo, poppin’ colour palette and catchy strapline. It must also appeal to the right people in the right ways to truly stand out within its sector. Nothing puts off potential customers more than something bland, outdated, insufficient or mediocre!
How does branding impact customers?
When interacting with brands, consumers respond both practically and emotionally. Product or service quality is more likely to trigger a practical response (e.g. “The battery life is great!”), whereas visual identity, messaging and brand positioning are more likely to trigger emotional responses and associations.
Empathy, trust, power and a sense of belonging are all examples of emotional reactions that customers might experience when interacting with a brand. Good branding, then, is about harnessing these dynamic emotions. Take Tesla, for example – a brand that’s made its mark and successfully connected with consumers. By offering a particular kind of lifestyle – something innovative, forward-thinking and bigger than any one individual – Tesla built a loyal following (and a net worth of over $500 billion!)
In order to trigger these emotional responses, brands must have meaning – a purpose, vision, mission and values – and their business offerings should always solve a customer problem or fulfil a consumer need. If you know what excites and motivates your target market, you’ll be well on your way to leaving a lasting impression.
Why is extended identity important?
Even if you’ve not heard the term ‘extended identity’ in its entirety before, it’s likely that you know exactly what it is because it’s a huge part of successful branding!
Extended identity is the translation of brand meaning into something visual, vocal and memorable, beyond the core identity, values and logo. It can be communicated in a multitude of ways – from imagery, illustration styles, patterns and colours to layout, fonts, spacing and even tone of voice! Successful brands use their extended identity consistently across communications to trigger association and awareness and, in turn, generate loyalty.
In the current economic climate, quality branding and a solid extended identity can set your business apart from competitors, so don’t get left behind! Contact Create8 today to find out what our brand designers can do for you. And to learn more about our processes, check out this helpful blog: The Create8 Branding Process.
6 Benefits of Branding
Well, it allows businesses to distinguish themselves from the competition, clarify their offering and evoke emotional reactions from customers. And if you’re still not sold on why you need top-quality branding, here’s 6 more ways branding helps businesses thrive.
Quality branding is all about consistency, which is why the most successful brands follow a set of well-defined rules (called brand guidelines) that dictate the way they look, sound and feel.
If followed correctly, brand guidelines ensure businesses always stay “on brand”, since they provide those who are marketing the business (and all other employees, really!) with clear instructions on how to communicate the right message in the right way, every time. McDonalds, Visa and Cadbury are great examples of businesses with consistent branding.
Not only does consistency speed up internal processes and the creation of branded assets, but it also improves brand recognition among the target audience thanks to repeated exposure.
If brands uphold their purpose, mission and values, and repeatedly deliver on promises, they’re more likely to be seen as credible by customers. And credibility is a major factor affecting loyalty and conversion rates!
Elon Musk’s recent Twitter takeover is a perfect example of how loss of credibility influences public opinion. His failure to deliver on safeguarding and content moderation has seen a mass exodus, with 42% of staff leaving in the past month and thousands of active Twitter users swapping to social media platform Mastodon.
Sustainable clothing brand Patagonia, on the other hand, has been in the news recently for upholding its core value to “use business to protect nature”. As the owner handed the company over to a non-profit focused on fighting climate change, the brand’s credibility massively increased and it was propelled to the front page of newspapers. Patagonia has been on the tips of tongues ever since!
3. Brand Awareness
Some brands are defined in such a clear way that they become almost inescapable. Take Heinz, for example – one of the most popular food brands in the UK. Thanks to their quality branding and marketing efforts, their logo and extended identity successfully differentiate their products from those of their competitors so that everything they sell can be instantly recognised on the shelves of busy supermarkets.
If consumers are confronted with a choice, they’re more likely to select a brand they know over one they don’t – it’s easier to trust a brand that feels familiar (like Heinz does!) – and this also helps keep the competition at bay by preventing them from gaining any additional market share.
Sometimes brand awareness works so successfully that brand names are used interchangeably with the nouns that describe them – think Tipp-ex, Hoover, Rizla, even Bubble Wrap! This phenomenon is known as trademark genericide and these brands show no signs of failing any time soon… Just saying!
4. Customer Loyalty
Strong branding keeps faithful followers hooked! Just look at Apple – who see queues form at their stores around the world whenever new products are released – they’re credible and consistent and have built up trust over time with customers. This ongoing positive relationship and their clever use of emotional marketing keeps fans coming back for more.
Brand loyalty creates cyclical growth thanks to repeat custom and higher retention rates, which can only be a good thing for businesses! Plus, the more loyal your customer base, the less concerned they are with things like price – it turns out that people are happy to pay more for products or services from brands they love! And do you know what that means? More profit!
A consistent, recognisable and credible brand is suggestively authentic. It’s as simple as that. And perceived authenticity brings higher engagement. From websites and apps to campaigns and socials, the more consumers engage with brand touchpoints, the more likely they are to perform a desired action (such as joining a platform, making a purchase or learning about a cause).
Awareness should always be a top priority for businesses and emotional marketing can help brands to stay at the forefront (making them more likely to last and more likely to convert!) Just look at Dove’s ongoing Real Beauty campaign, which launched in 2004 to help women and children build body confidence. The campaign has won two awards and Dove’s sales increased from $2.5bn to $4bn between 2004 and 2020. Powerful stuff!
6. Company Culture
So far, we’ve seen how quality branding helps to engage and convert more customers. But what about company culture? Well, businesses that integrate their brand vision and values into their culture are more likely to attract employees who are aligned with their cause, which makes for a happier, more cohesive working environment.
And that’s not all! A recent Linkedin study reported that strong branding reduces staff turnover by 28% and 72% of recruiters stated that employer brand significantly impacts hiring decisions. So, not only does effective branding attract customers, it also attracts talented employees that can further the success of your business.
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Are you ready to put your brand on the map?
Whether you have a game-changing business idea in need of perfect branding or an existing brand that simply needs a boost, our designers are here to help. The Create8 Branding Process is thorough and effective, so you’ll be in safe hands if you choose us as your brand design agency.