How Branding is More Than a Logo
As the idea of “blanding” continues to circulate within the marketing community, we feel it’s the perfect time to discuss what branding is…and what branding is not. While many think branding is simply a new logo and color palette, it’s important to consider all aspects of how your brand guidelines, personality, and values impact your whole organization, internally and externally.
The Pillars of a Brand
What is a brand? It might be easier to realize what a brand is not: two-dimensional. Your brand is much more complex because it’s a blend of traits and expressions felt in both the physical and digital space; it’s your personality and who you are in the eyes of the entire world. Redesigning a new logo, or refreshing your sales and marketing materials is simply a part of branding – not the entire concept.
Your brand is how clients feel about your company based on their experiences, both indirectly and directly, with your company. It’s what you believe in and the values you hold most dear – and how those values impact the way you treat your employees and customers alike. It’s about creating a sense of community with people that can genuinely trust you to be exactly who you claim to be.
When comparing brands from an outsider’s perspective, strong brands generally have taken the time to develop and establish foundational company values, missions, and virtues. If you’re still in the development phase of culture and client experience integration, it’s best to set your focus on this development before you jump right into the sea of consumers. When building a brand, you must focus on working from the inside out. Once you’ve figured out who your brand is at its core, only then can you truly express this character to others.
Building a strong foundation internally will only allow you to propel externally as you market to the world, and below every strong brand are these important pillars:
- Atmosphere— How your company looks and feels when employees and clients experience it digitally or physically. What kind of atmosphere does your brand have when customers come into contact with you? Are you playful or the ultimate professional? Are you transactional or emotional? And how does this play out for your employees? What benefits do you offer them that reflect what you care about? How does your office look and feel – and what does that say about who you are?
- Communication — This pillar is very important and has many layers. With a strong sense of communication, this pillar is how you tell your audience, and the world, about your company and what you do ; how you think, interact, and provide solutions. It should reveal your company’s character, internally and externally, through your storytelling, content strategy, copywriting, and general tone of voice. And it’s imperative to recognize that communication is more than the words you speak to clients, it’s about what your actions and values say too.
- Behavior — The way your company acts should undoubtedly align with your company’s main values and virtues. Understanding the matter of which your company is made of should make the behavior part fairly simple. How does team behave with each other and the world outside — think HR policy & processes, recruitment, leadership and organizational culture; but also your sales, marketing, and customer service teams and how they behave within their roles.
Strong Bones, Strong Brand
Without understanding who your company is from the inside out, it will prove to be a lot more difficult to build a strong brand, thus making life a lot more arduous for your team to propel success. But with a strong, stolid foundation of internal understanding, the external pieces of the puzzle fit a lot easier. Brands are meant to create an entire experience for people, and as a brand, it’s your job to create value – don’t be afraid to give your brand personality, tone, and philosophy. The main goal of branding is to keep finding ways to communicate your company’s core ideas and values in everything you do. It goes to show that putting in the time, effort, and energy to cultivate your true branding is essential to flourishing your success.