What is Branding?
The definition of branding
Branding refers to all the techniques that help shape a favourable image of your company in the minds of the general public. Whatever the brand, everyone builds a certain image, and it is at this point that elements such as the graphic charter, the name, and more generally, the universe of the brand come into play.
What's more, the number of brands is so large today that it is essential to have a unique identity to stand out from the others. Ultimately, it seems difficult not to work on these aspects: it is necessary for a company to adopt an effective branding policy.
Why personal branding?
In the end, the logic of the approach is simple to understand: the more you work on the positioning of the company, the more you will succeed in getting closer to the consumer. Branding therefore allows you to be close to the consumer and fits perfectly into a more global marketing strategy.
Whether it is on social networks, via an advertising campaign, on a website or in a blog article, a brand must be able to extend its universe to reach the places where the consumer is. Over time, the brand will associate itself with certain values, a particular style of expression and a certain design, all of which will contribute to the positioning of the brand. Good branding design should result in a smooth and positive positioning in the consumer's mind.
How to define a brand identity?
Elements to be taken into account
An identity is more than just creating logos and translating product names into any language. This step requires care and skills in graphic design, psychology and communication. The most successful companies know this. This is why it is essential to remain in a permanent research process. This way, your concept can evolve over time and with your consumers.
It is essential to create a unique branding. However, all brands have to address the same issues:
- Finding a name, a graphic charter,
- Work on brand communication,
- Choose your physical and virtual media,
- Have a medium / long term brand marketing plan.
Find the right tool and the right supports
Many supports exist to work on your branding. Naturally, networks like LinkedIn and YouTube are the first to come to mind, since the former is aimed at professionals and the latter is the most popular online video site for companies to promote products and services to consumers. However, other types of media should not be neglected either:
- Business cards,
- The letterhead,
- The presentation brochures,
- Digital presentations such as PowerPoint,
- Social networks,
- Advertising inserts,
- Product investments,
- Blog posts,
- Publications on social networks,
- Stories on social networks,
- Publications on a partner website.
It all depends on the management of your campaign and the consumers you target. If some are not keen readers, blog posts may be out of the question. Conversely, you will need to work on the title of your content, its structure and offer added value to your consumers. A best practice guide, an encyclopaedia with up-to-date information, definitions for specific words: all this can be part of an approach in which the brand helps the consumer, so that it can then be able to attract their favours.
Choosing a tool is already less obvious since it depends on how you want to convey your message. There is no ready-made solution to create good branding. Nevertheless, we often find the same names among professionals in the sector:
- Photoshop and inDesign for the creation of your visual identity,
- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat for social networks,
- Hootsuite to manage your social networks centrally,
- Mailchimp to organize email campaigns,
- Video games like Fortnite to create an interactive branding operation.
Anything that can strengthen your brand identity, work on your brand image and make it easier to brand your company to the consumer is good to take.
How to create a strong brand identity?
The visual identity
The subject of creating a visual identity is far from trivial since it will serve as a banner for your brand in all its communication operations. This step is very important in your branding strategy and will prove decisive for marketing, especially when you organize an advertising campaign.
This work begins with an in-depth search for the meaning behind the various graphic design techniques. Indeed, colours, shapes and their arrangement are all aspects that convey a conscious or unconscious message in the consumer's mind. Specialized agencies are used to dealing with these kinds of issues, so you can entrust this work to professionals. Another advantage of using an agency is that it relieves you of a lot of work and guarantees you a result that meets your expectations.
The elements to be produced in priority
Visually, the following elements are of the utmost importance:
- Your logo,
- The name of the company and its typography,
- The colors of the logo,
- The graphic style of the brand's supports.
To work on them, you can call on a graphic designer who will be in charge of their production and who can provide you with suggestions in line with your brand's values. Once again, this step is crucial since it contributes to the development of your brand image.
The textual identity
Complementing a quality visual identity, the textual part of the branding relies as much on content as on form to get your messages across to your target consumers. You will find the following elements in this section. Here again, they will be essential in your brand marketing strategy:
- The name,
- The keywords to use,
- Sentence turns in your editorial content.
By creating an editorial charter, you ensure that everyone who will have to work with your brand will do so with one voice.
Visual design is important to your brand image. You will find it on your website or in your communication operations. In the same way, the way you write your content can make you identifiable in an instant in just a few words. The strength of branding lies exactly here, in the fact that you stand out whatever the medium.
How to create a brand image?
Adopting the right branding strategy
Of course, it is not enough just to post through and through to establish your brand identity and work on your brand marketing. Your brand image, in addition to your upstream thinking, will also depend on the actions you take to achieve your goal. If your plan doesn't follow a certain logic, your actions will never have the desired effect.
Here again, an agency can help you find the right strategy according to the targets you want to reach. It can also serve as a guide for your teams to deal with issues related to your brand identity.
Define relevant objectives
A good personal branding strategy involves setting a goal to achieve. How do you want to be perceived by your target? Do you have a strong identity that won't appeal to everyone, or does your name need to resonate with as many people as possible? Who do you want to reach in the long run? Who is your universe for? How are other competitors in your sector already positioned?
Our article is, of course, one of the many resources you will find when researching this topic. Rely on a solid website with good references for managing your brands.
Grasp the workings of the consumer mind
Brands seeking to enter into a proximity approach must understand what the consumer expects. What is their mind open or closed to? Is he or she sensitive to certain subjects: the environment, politics, health, the economy? Do they prefer regular, less frequent, more intense communication? How willing is he to make a mark on his life as an individual?
By tackling these different subjects, you will better understand how to get closer to your target. Depending on criteria such as age, profession, family background and level of education, your consumers will not be in the same place at the same time. For example, a user who is rather young and used to consuming video will certainly be more receptive to a video from you than to a documented article. A simple search can give you access to statistics on the subject. You should probably find a website specialized on the subject.
What is Brand Naming?
Choose your name
Choosing your brand name is an important step in creating your identity. To do so, you will need to be creative but also position yourself intelligently in relation to your identity. This part of branding is complex. The very nature of the exercise makes the process delicate: choosing a name that will reflect what your company does, the values it promotes and that will be easy to remember.
Another point of vigilance concerns usage. Can your brand be used on the Internet? By buying a domain name, for example? Make sure that the domain name is available for different extensions before making the purchase and registering your trademark.
Before choosing a name, research time should be devoted to three fundamental aspects of :
- Collect data on your target,
- Define your brand identity,
- Understand the positioning of your competitors.
A name should not be chosen until you know who it is addressed to and what it should evoke. Conversely, you will have a better idea of what you are looking for by knowing who the brand should speak to and what it should evoke.
Types of names
Brand names fall into four different categories. All of them have their advantages and disadvantages.
These names resonate immediately because they spell out what the company does or what it is. Burger King is a good example because it is immediately obvious that it is a company that offers hamburgers. Other examples such as PayPal are evocative. In the case of this service, it is a payment system. Microsoft, a contraction of microcomputer and software, inevitably evokes computing.
Among the advantages, we will note the ease with which these brands talk to people, even without knowing them. Be careful, however, it is not possible to register a word in everyday language. Indeed, a perfumery that wishes to register the trademark "Les Parfums" could not do so. Similarly, laudatory adjectives such as "Super", "Plus" or "Extra" cannot be registered. Finally, an appellation d'origine contrôlée such as "Bordeaux" for a wine cannot be registered.
DHL, KFC, HP, IBM and UPS are among the brands that have opted for an acronym. This does not prevent them from being popular and finding their audience, while having a name that is easy to use. Indeed, UPS is a much simpler name to pronounce than United Parcel Service.
Easy to pronounce and remember, the acronym is also very simple to file. Unfortunately, it has one major drawback: lack of personality. These names don't mean anything because they are just groups of letters. They have no particular meaning. Therefore, associating them with values in the consumer's mind takes time and money.
It's a double-edged sword strategy to choose a made-up name from scratch. These kinds of names are specifically designed to represent a brand and convey a particular feel.
Clients like to use these names, but it requires a huge communication budget to succeed in getting the brand into people's memories, but also into everyday language. Like acronyms, invented brands have no particular meaning. This does not prevent them from evoking certain things to consumers through sound and pronunciation.
These are by far the most impactful names. Apple, Virgin, Caterpillar and Oracle are good examples.
More than names, they are real slogans that immediately generate expectations or desires among consumers.
The most complicated thing with these kinds of names is to associate the idea of experience with the brand name. The choice of name is important, otherwise the brand will lose its attractiveness, but that's not all. The visual identity and the communication plan around these names play a major role in the perception of the brand by consumers.
How to make a good branding?
Create your branding strategy
This article would not be complete without an action plan to build your own branding strategy. We suggest that you follow the following steps until the end of the creation process.
Gather all the useful elements
It may seem tempting to consider a strategy without the necessary resources and with a hypothetical future in mind. Keep in mind that creating a brand is a long-term process that must be carried out with full knowledge of the necessary information. So, make sure you have the following before you start :
- Data on your target: Who is it? What is his or her occupation, salary, pace of work? What are their passions or dreams? Where does she go on vacation? How does she manage her budget? What brands are already part of her daily life? Does she visit any particular physical or Internet sites? What is her family structure?
- Your goals: If you know what your customers want, you can define goals that all your employees will have to follow. Your strategy will not have the desired effect without a common vision and approach if you do not go through this step.
Defining the mission
Why do you offer your product or service? What do you want to accomplish? Your mission should be summed up in one clear sentence. If you're self-employed, this is not about flexibility in your schedule or decision-making power. Look at your mission sympathetically and ask yourself what you can bring to others in realizing your vision. Think big and don't lack ambition. Whether you want to make money, make your clients' lives easier, fight against a large-scale phenomenon or simply innovate out of curiosity and push existing limits, all reasons are valid if they have a broader meaning than your person alone.
Consumers are not fooled. Over-emphasizing your mission, your commitments and your vision will not make them feel confident. It's up to you to be honest in your approach and to talk about what you know and master.
Define the nature of your core values
These values will be at the heart of all your future actions. It's about what you're looking for and the things you'll fight for. If you communicate around these aspects, you attract all those who share your values. This means that you will not be able to please everyone, but those who join you will share your vision.
Your values will also guide your choices in certain situations where multiple outcomes are possible. How to make certain decisions, which path to take, or conversely, which path to abandon, are all elements that your core values will determine. A simple example with the Google brand. Known for the simplicity of its search engine, it would not make sense for Google to associate its brand with a service that is too complicated or specialized. The company aims to offer simple services with a clean and intuitive design. This simplicity is part of Google's values, and all the tools produced by this company share the same philosophy. So you will need to adopt values that make sense in your approach, and again, not everyone will like them. It is also what will make you unique.
Differentiating yourself from your competitors involves identifying your strengths and motivations to determine the value you bring to your work. In addition to theory, it is by using concrete examples that you will give credibility to your brand. In concrete terms, how do you put your values into action? This question should lead to a simple, striking and indisputable answer. Naturally, if you deal with consumers, you will want to be sincere, honest and guarantee a certain level of service. Without falling into caricature, try to remain modest and honest.
Show some personality
Think of your brand as a person. How would you like her to behave?
It's not so much about designing a mascot as it is about establishing a behaviour for your brand. Think about her character, her moods, what she likes or dislikes and how she reacts in certain situations. This will allow you to define the tone you will use as well as your editorial line in your marketing operations. Use human adjectives to describe your brand.
Time for branding
You are ready to create your graphic charter with a logo and supports. This creative stage also contains a part of psychology in the choice of your colours and the design of your logo. You are now ready to use your brand.
Using a branding agency
If all these steps seem difficult for you, there are agencies ready to help you. Do not hesitate to ask them for help, even if you have already started working on the subject.
Think Sortlist for your next need!
Simplify your research process and find the agency made for you.