10 branding elements and what they mean.
If you’ve never thought about branding before, you may not be aware that there are ten different brand elements to think about. So, let’s start with the basics and define what a brand actually is and why they are so important to any business.
Let’s throw in a bit of history for you here: it was more than half a century ago when the term “brand” started to become apparent; believe it or not, it was used as a way for cattle ranchers to identify their animals! However, today, a search on the internet can give you a range of diverse definitions as to what a brand actually is. For example, some agree that it is “the emotional and psychological relationship you have with your customers”, whilst other might define it as a “type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name”, or even the “name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s product distinct from those of other sellers”.
Although all of these answers are correct in their own way, it’s this blog’s purpose to eliminate the jargon, keep things simple, and to sum up for you what we define a brand as…
We say: “A brand is the personality of a business”.
Why is this so important to a business?
A strong brand can make a memorable impression and it enables your customers to know what to expect from your company. It is a way of distinguishing yourself from your competitors, helping you stand out from the crowd and build loyalty surrounding your brand.
A brand can help a business:
- Grow its reputation
- Win new customers
- Boost employee pride and satisfaction
- Build trust
- Support your advertising efforts.
Therefore, it is important that branding is not just overlooked, as it can position your company and tell your story in a successful way. So, let’s take a look at the ten different elements of a brand and what they stand for….
So firstly, let’s take a look at brand identity and its importance.
So what is brand identity?
Brand identity is the way people recognise the brand. It may be through the logo or other associated visuals.
For example, the ‘Swoosh’ logo of Nike is very simple, but is immediately recognisable worldwide, along with its strap line, “Just Do It”.
When creating your brand identity it is important to follow and create some brand guidelines, to make sure that your branding and the message you are portraying is consistent throughout. Your brand identity is built up of many different attributes such as: logo design, colour scheme, key message, typography, and other elements that add to the way consumers visualise your brand as a whole.
Secondly, how do people picture your brand in their mind?
What is the image associated with it?
The brand image associated with your brand can dictate how people perceive your brand and this can either be in a good way or bad way. For example, many brands have suffered from a damaged brand image, which as a result can be hard to change the consumer’s perception. A successful brand image is developed over time through your logo design, tone of voice and the way your company portrays itself. However, this brand image can be tainted within minutes through a misleading advertisement, a bad branding or design choice, or a controversial post with a misleading view.
The brand image also dictates what consumers expect from your brand. Consumers of Rolls-Royce, for example, are looking for high luxury products and expect high quality service; even if there is a gap for budget cars in its market, it would not stick to the overall brand image by offering this type of product. As a result of this, it may lose its branding demographic and some of its targeted audience may change their perception of Rolls-Royce.
Brand positioning is the process of positioning your product/service in the market, which segments what you are trying to achieve in a distinctive, targeted format. By positioning your brand it can justify your pricing strategies and determine the position of your brand. If you are thinking “I have no idea where to position my brand”, then ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you differentiate your brand in some way? How?
- Does it enable growth?
- What are your brand’s unique values?
- Does it produce a clear picture in your mind?
- Is your brand believable and trustworthy?
There are various tactics you can use to position your brand, such as competitive pricing, attractive packaging, and exciting promotions to help attract customers and transform them into repeat customers. Another effective way of figuring out your brand position is to research your competitors and think about how you stand out and figure out a way to build your brand around your unique traits. Creating a specific brand positioning statement can be used internally and provide structure and consistency for your marketing strategy
4. Brand personality
Your brand personality is just like the personality of human being – we all have different unique qualities that make up our own personality. However, your brand personality can be whatever you want it to be, whether that may be empathetic or even intelligent. Every element of your brand identity that we talked about before, including the colour, brand name, typography and brand positioning, adds and builds up your personality for others to see.
Branding professionals state that there are five traits within a brand personality these are:
- Sincerity (down-to-earth, honest, wholesome, cheerful)
- Excitement (daring, spirited, imaginative, up-to-date)
- Competence (reliable, intelligent, successful)
- Sophistication (upper class, charming)
- Ruggedness (outdoorsy, tough)
Have you ever noticed that although two brands might offer the same service or sell the same product, for some reason you relate to one brand better than the other. This may honestly be down to taste or your own personal preference but this can also be down to the personality of the brand and how you feel when you come across that brand.
It is more than common for new business owners to be unsure of the brand personality they want to portray to the world, as this can be seen as a daunting decision to make. However, our team of graphic designers have experience and expertise in branding and developing a new brand concept for various businesses comes as second nature to them. Our free design consultations consist of brainstorming ideas together, understanding your goals and creating a successful brand that stands for everything you stand for.
5. Brand equity
Brand equity is the value of a brand. It may include tangible financial value such as market share and revenue as well as intangible aspects such as strategic benefits of the brand. For example, Apple is a major technology brand and people perceive it is a premium, cutting-edge manufacturer of quality products. So, it is not only the sales but the sheer image that takes the equity to a different level altogether.
Positive brand equity can help a brand in many ways; it can be a strong catalyst for leading to brand extension and helping to develop a strong, trusting brand image. By strategically investing your marketing budgets in initiatives that help add value to your brand, for example additional services, contributions to charities or other additional perks, this can help drive short-term results.
6. Brand experience
Brand experience is all about how the customer feels when they interact with your brand -this may be a visual experience, a taste experience or just the feeling they get when they come across your branding. Also, if this is a service brand it may depend on the staff behaviour, the environment in which your service is offered, and the standard they expect when associated with your brand.
When consumers come across the Media Village brand we want their experience to be flawless and memorable. So we highlight high customer service as one of our main priorities within the Media Village. We like our experience to be flawless, efficient and sticking to any deadlines given to offer the best customer experience.
Brand touchpoints are an effective way of perfecting the brand experience journey for every customer, making the most of every user interaction with your brand.
Customer touchpoints shape a customer’s perception of a brand. These perceptions shape brand identity as much as the work of any designer or brand manager. After all, brand identity is all about what the customer thinks – not what you think. Customer perceptions are created by a series of touchpoints: the interactions customers have with a brand.
Make a list of all of those touchpoints that you know exist. They might include the supermarket, radio ads, your salespeople, and social media.
Name your brand’s most valuable touchpoints. This will require data analysis to follow the progression of every sale, from contact to conversion. Which touchpoints are most overwhelmingly present? Which ones serve to advance clients through your sales funnel with the greatest efficiency? Once you have identified these touchpoints, capitalise on them.
Establish a goal for each touchpoint and document the data that supports its effectiveness in relation to that goal. Make all involved accountable for the success of each touchpoint, and in time, your brand will reap the benefits
We can help you to design and develop a consistent brand that can be transferred across every touchpoint in your customer journey. These may include radio adverts, social media posts, billboard designs, leaflets and signage.
Perfect your brand experience and this can lead to great successful reviews for your company.
7. Brand Differnetiation
Differentiation, as the word suggests is how a brand stands out in the crowd. For instance our brand at the Media Village stands out in the creative and print industry as we can offer the full creative marketing solution all under one roof – which not many people can offer. So this is an additional service that differentiates us from our competitors.
- Product differentiation
- Service differentiation
- Image differentiation
- Price differentiation
- Creates value, justifies your decisions.
But you can also differentiate your brand from the elements we have mentioned earlier, such as visuals, customer experience, logo design, communication, key message etc.
8. Brand communication
Brand communication is the message it delivers through various sources like adverts, brochures, punchlines and hoardings. If the brand has to grow, it must be able to clearly communicate its core benefits to the customers.
We can help you with communicating your brand message through various mediums and platforms from online to offline. Delivering a consistent, clear message that speaks exactly to the right targeted demographic and suits your brand personality.
We work with a variety of different businesses that all have a slightly different way of communicating their brand to the public. For example, we have worked with Westholme School for a long time now and the relationship we have built together helps us to communicate their brand successfully.
Click here to read all about how we communicate Westholme’s brand values and image through creative print and design.
9. Brand gap
Brand gap is the difference between what a brand promises to deliver in its communications and what it actually does. For its own sake, the gap should not be very high. A successful brand must be able to deliver what it promises. No amount of advertising or content marketing efforts can save a bad product.
That’s why our design studio arranges personal meetings with every client before we produce any form of branding content for your brand. This way we are making sure that there is no miscommunication or gap between what the brand is claiming to promise and actually delivering.
10. Brand extension
The final element is brand extension, which basically means going beyond the brand origins and offering additional value or services to the customer. For example, the one main product that you first start offering may have room for additional services that you can offer once your brand is further established. Taking the Media Village brand as an example again, we started predominantly as a printing company, but over the years we have adapted our services to be able to offer additional value to our customers. This has eventually led to us being able to offer the full marketing and creative solution for our customers all under one roof. Our brand now offers print, graphic design, photography, web development – and much more.
Once all the other brand elements have come in to place and you have established your brand more, this may be the time to consider a form of brand extension. We can help you extend your services but keeps the same consistent brand offering the same values to your targeted audience.
Although there are many advantages with brand extension, there are also, like always, some negatives along the way. Not all brands are fit for brand extension and it has been known to lead to a misrepresentation of the brand persona that customers struggle to understand. For example, if the new product that has come from the brand extension fails then this can spoil the image and reputation of the parent brand.
Take the ice tea brand Arizona as an example; they decided to launch a nacho cheese dip product. Thinking about this strategically, would their demographic of ice tea drinkers really be craving a cheese dip product? Evidently, this is why Arizona’s brand extension failed, therefore we advise when considering a brand extension to always include competitor research, think about the added value this product is going to bring, and consider the influence it might have over your established brand image.
Now you know all about the ten elements of branding, it’s time to start talking about your branding today…
Book your free design consultation here, and let’s talk about these ten elements and much more, to make sure we tell your brand story in the best way possible.
Now you know all about the ten elements of branding, it’s time to start talking about your branding today…
Book your free design consultation here and let’s talk about all these ten elements and much more, to make sure we tell your brand story in the best way possible.