The idea that your branding is complete once you have a cool logo or a professionally designed website seems to be the dominant view-point.
As a brand strategy studio, it’s our job to dissolve these myths and defend branding as it should be.
Branding is the art of differentiation. It’s the reputation and feeling that your customers associate with your brand. Unlike marketing, where you can measure click-through rates or subscription numbers, it’s a much more nuanced concept.
Branding is the foundation of every wildly successful business.
If you object to this saying, “well my business is successful and I don’t have a good logo or pretty website.” I would argue that the promises you’ve made to your customer and the feeling that you are able to evoke in them from working with you, have gotten you to where you are. These things are closer to the true essence of brand strategy than a logo or website.
I would also argue that if you take the emotion-evoking foundation that you’ve created and couple it with stellar brand design and a strategic website, your business would grow even more.
We’ve have proof of this happening countless times.
Creating a consistent image is important in creating the gut feeling that your business is the right choice.
But more than just cool colors and a fancy logo are required to create that feeling.
The first step of course is to ask yourself,
Having a clear idea of your target audience, or who your business is most accustomed to serve, is important here. While pink, lacy, and frilly might make someone feel at home, it’s cringey to someone else. This is why it’s SO important to establish your customer personas and target audience first. Your brand simply cannot be all things to all people. When we try to do this, it falls flat and creates an unsustainable brand foundation.
Once you have the foundational “who is this brand for?” question answered, you can ask yourself about the feeling you want your brand to evoke.
The biggest mistake you can make as a business owner is thinking that people buy based on rational, matter-of-fact thinking. While appealing to the rational side of thought is a great supplemental strategy, it will never overpower the emotions that drive us.
Sure, you can buy a water bottle or a tumbler for $20 at target, but they’re not going to give you the rugged, outdoor hero aesthetic you would get from purchasing a Yeti.
Yes, you can buy 7-eleven brand water at the gas station, but it’s not going to give you the sense of elite freshness you get from reaching for a bottle of Voss.
These feelings propel our buyer behavior and establishing how we want our audience to feel is the most foundational piece of a solid brand strategy.
A website, logo, and cool packaging might be part of the answer to this question, but I urge you to think beyond just the visual aesthetics. Is there a bonus product or service that would surprise and delight your customer that you can send their way? Is there something that you can do for them that would really reflect the emotions you want them to feel?
If you want your clients to feel listened to, sending out a pre-project questionnaire or setting up a Zoom meeting where you answer questions and hear their ideas is a great way to cultivate this feeling.
If you want your clients to have fun, why not surprise them with a colorful gift that evokes the spirit of joy and emphasizes being carefree?
There are countless ways to do this. Being creative and not copying others in your industry is the best way to do this
Do some research. What are common practices you see in your industry again and again? Is there anything that stands out to you as being particularly impressive, disappointing, mediocre? How can you expand and improve upon what others in your industry are doing to add your unique and memorable twist? I urge all my 1:1 clients to create an experience that is centered around the client and how they want to make them feel.
Answering these questions is central to a solid brand strategy that helps you stand out from the crowd and wow your clients. Using this as a foundation before you even design a logo or develop your website is a great way to ensure your business doesn’t just look aesthetically-pleasing but is profitable and memorable to your client.