How Quality Branding Speaks Before You Even Say a Word
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You’ve heard it said, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” We know that in conversations, the tone is everything. Quality branding is much like tone–it’s communicating a message even before your written or verbal messaging says a thing. Getting your branding right sets the stage for your company’s voice.
Going Beyond a Logo
Typically, when someone thinks of a brand their first thought is a logo. Although a logo is part of the brand, it only represents one small piece of how that brand is visually interpreted. Branding is so much more than the logo–it’s the entire process of creating a positive perception of your company in the mind of your consumers. Branding done right not only communicates your company’s personality, but also the heart of your company values.
Perception is everything. There’s nothing more frustrating than what you meant to say is interrupted differently than you meant. The holistic approach to branding takes on the role of influencing positive perception through the following components: brand mission statement, brand promise, first impressions, and user interactions, tone, and design.
Missions, Promises, and Simplicity
A brand mission statement identifies the brand’s purpose and how they are going to get there. Refining this step is crucial to the brand’s overall perception because a good mission statement seeks to develop an emotional connection with the audience. It does so by identifying value alignment. Often consumers feel a connection when they share the same values and agree with the actions taken to achieve goals based on those values.
The brand promise describes how what you offer will make your consumers’ lives better by solving a problem that they have. To be more easily remembered and recognized, it should be simple, memorable, and inspiring. This promise is typically followed by your history/authority to do so. The true success of your brand promise is keeping that promise, time and time again–no matter what outside factors impact the promise.
First impressions and user interactions pose a significant impact on how your consumer relates to your brand long term. You’ve heard it said that first impressions make up a considerable percentage of the final perception, so how do you make a good first impression?
- First, know your audience. What inspires them? What motivates them? Why do they purchase a product and at what point do they choose to make that purchase? What are their values?
- After you have a good avatar of your audience, you can tailor their user experience to one that wows them, excites them, and motivates them.
- A lasting first impression will tell them clearly what it is you do, how it will help them, and what they need to do to get started.
- You don’t get a second chance on a first impression, so make it a good one.
Your brand’s tone is much like that of a spoken tone. It’s all about how you communicate. Your tone sets the stage for perception whether it be conversational, friendly, informational, satirical, etc. An informative tone may lead to being perceived as an industry leader whereas a conversational tone may be more relatable to the consumer. How do you want to be perceived? Ensure that the way you are communicating lends itself to that perception.
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Designing the Visual Element
Finally, design–the visual elements that represent your brand. Fonts, colors, images, graphics, and even where/how you use your logo or other graphics – your visually branded materials should remain consistent while adhering to your tone, messaging, and promise. This consistency will do two things: it will remove confusion and build trust. People often think of this stage as the “wow” factor of your logo or website, but it is the culmination of every visual element in your brand working together to achieve the goal of instant recognition.
An Emotional Impact for the Customers
Without all of these elements working together, a brand is just a passing picture or voice. It means very little until it has made an emotional impact on consumers.
After you have addressed the above components, you can purposefully demonstrate your brand identity. Brand identity is not only the sum of these components working together, but it also clearly distinguishes you from your competitors. It is the heart, the message, and the appearance all wrapped up in one.
So why should quality branding matter to you? Because quality branding, if done consistently and holistically, produces improved brand recognition and brand positioning over time. That means that when an individual is looking to solve a problem, your brand is one of the first ones on their mind as the solution, producing the motivation necessary for that individual to act (or purchase).
A few brands that consistently produce a quality perception and deliver on their promise:
Airbnb as an Experience
- Airbnb: They consistently deliver on the perception that it’s not just a place to stay – it’s a unique experience made possible by expert hosts. Want to live the full experience, stay where there is an expert host.
Burt’s for Planet Earth
- Burt’s Bees: Deliver on the promise that your skin and the earth should simultaneously be respected. They hold the perception in the minds of their customers that when they use their products, they are doing something good for both their skin and the planet – win, win.
Nike as an Inspiration
- Nike: Everyone knows that Nike is killing it on the brand game but why? It’s because they consistently deliver on the promise to bring inspiration to all athletes around the world. They don’t define who an athlete is, you do which means you’re equipped to discover the athlete within.