What is branding? It’s made up of these five key components:
1. The Intangible
You/your business’ core beliefs: what you stand for, who you are
Your mission statement
How you want your business to be perceived
2. The Visual
The colors, fonts, and photo/illustration style you use
The design and layout of your website, social media graphics, print materials, etc.
Colors have meanings associated with them. Fonts have personalities. Photos and illustrations have moods and styles. You want to make sure that your visual choices for each of these line up with what you’re about as a business. After that, you want to make sure you’re using them consistently so that Your Look becomes recognizable and associated with your business.
This is the part most often associated with the word branding. And as I said above, it’s not inaccurate, as it’s an important part of branding- just not the whole picture. Visual branding is also the part that I, as a designer, specialize in. I help you find your visual voice by taking all of those intangible ideas and translating them into designs that match and promote those same ideas.
3. The Verbal
How you communicate: the tone, length, and vocabulary
Written pieces: from your tagline to emails to blog posts to about pages to contracts
Spoken communication: on the phone, in person, at speaking gigs, in webinars/videos
I think we can all agree there’s a difference between “Good evening, sir” and “Heya, how’s it going?” as greetings. The same goes for everything we say and write. The words you choose to communicate with for your business can say a lot more than you think. If you’re aiming for a friendly, casual vibe, the words and phrases you use should back that up. A mismatch just causes confusion in potential customers.
As with visuals, when it comes to verbals you again want to be consistent. Mood swings are not something you want your business to be known for.
4. The Experiential
The experience your company provides while doing business
Personal interactions with your company by customers/users/clients
Includes: interactions with staff, ease of use of product, troubleshooting process, price point, etc.
5. The Reputational
Overall customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction
What people who haven’t directly interacted with your business think of your business
The feeling/opinion people associate with your company based on reviews, word of mouth, articles, etc.
Intangible, visual, verbal, experiential, and reputational. Put these all together, and your have your answer to What is Branding. It’s more complex that just your logo, but I hope seeing it laid out and explained like this also makes understanding branding simpler. Ideally it also helps you with your own business and evaluating where your branding is at, or how to build it if you’re just starting out.
Did this clear up the question of ‘what is branding’ for you? If not, what else can I clarify for you?
Need Branding Help? Helping you hone in on the perfect visual branding is part of my job.