Why a brand is more than a logo
Sure, your logo and visual identity are an essential part of your brand, but a brand is far more than just the logo. Your brand is your organization’s most valuable asset and strategic business tool.
A logo is one of many elements in a brand’s toolbox that adds to your brand’s value. Many elements within that toolbox work collaboratively and build upon each other to build a strong brand. Some of those critical elements that make up a brand include:
Strong brands result from research, positioning, and long-term strategy that provides a framework for how your brand does business. Elements that serve as the brand foundation make up your brand compass. The five key areas to consider when building your strategy include the brand’s purpose, vision, mission, values, and strategic goals.
Brand culture is when your brand has permeated all aspects of your business. Brand culture starts from within with employees who can explain the brand and are on board with the purpose, mission, vision, and values. They understand how their functional role within your organization supports the brand’s strategic goals. When you have employees who understand the brand at it’s deepest level, you create brand ambassadors who can articulate and deliver the brand as was intended to be received.
Every brand has a unique set of characteristics made up of your brand’s thoughts, emotions, and behavioral patterns. Your brand’s personality serves as the basis for differentiating itself, relating to your target audience, building relationships, and creating deep connections with your market segment.
A solid organizational structure is essential to understanding the core brand, how other brands within a company’s brand portfolio relate to the core brand, and what differentiates each. A well-organized and coordinated architecture eliminates brand confusion and results in a better customer experience.
Brand name, logo, and tagline
A brand’s name, logo, and tagline serve as a visible aspect of the brand, differentiates it, communicates the value proposition, and connects with your target audience. In-depth market research, market testing, and focus groups are tremendously valuable in ensuring you get it right. When choosing a name, be sure to navigate the appropriate intellectual property channels to ensure you have a legal right to use the name, and that it’s not associated with something that might hurt your brand, create brand confusion, or be offensive. When Kim Kardashian launched her shapewear Kimono, she faced significant backlash for cultural appropriation, ultimately causing her to rebrand to SKIMS.
A brand identity system defines your brand’s purpose, promise, mission, vision, and values. It provides comprehensive brand guidelines on the correct use of and variations for visual elements such as the logo, wordmark, typography, font sizes, color, and visual examples for a broad range of marketing materials and channels. Brand guidelines serve as a tool for marketing professionals, designers, copywriters, and vendors to correctly understand and implement the brand.
Brand tone of voice and communications
Your brand voice encompasses your brand’s tone, communication, and writing style. It’s how you connect internally with your people and externally with your target audience through words. Regardless of the marketing or communications channel, your brand should be easily recognizable. Large organizations often have brand guidelines, and style guides specific to delivering your brand’s verbal expression.
Brand website and online presence
Your website is the most visible online brand touchpoint, often serving as someone’s first interaction with your brand. A clean, easy to navigate, and mobile-friendly site is critical to providing an exceptional user-experience and holistic brand experience for your target audience. Social media platforms should be chosen for brands without a website based on your target audience and used consistently and correctly to engage with that audience.
Now that we’ve taken a look at the many elements that go into building a brand, it’s essential to understand that branding is a systematic process. When branding is correctly done, the return on investment is substantial.
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