When you woke up one morning and decided to start a business you probably didn’t think too much about creating a brand or what it was.
If you’re like most of us, defining and discovering your brand was a rocky experience at first; a lot of trial and error, and some embarrassing graphics.
I hear you.
Even if you’ve been at this for a bit, or if you’re new and in the research phase, I hope these quick and easy branding definitions help you along your journey of brand discovery.
Branding Definitions to Know:
The word brand may be a noun, but it isn’t just one single thing. Nor is it really a physical thing.
A brand is the culmination of feelings and thoughts that people feel/have when they interact with your business.
Your brand is not just your logo. There are visual/tangible and intangible elements of your brand that cause people to feel a certain way; and the name of the game is strategically designing a brand that conveys the right feelings to the right people.
Your brand is like the walls of a house, keeping the rest of the terms on this list inside it. You can’t really have one without the other.
Brand strategy is the plan/approach that a brand uses to successfully market to its target audience in hopes to achieve its goals.
In that strategy are the tools and elements the brand will use while executing that approach.
It’s your plan of attack. It lays out the foundational philosophies, guiding stars, differentiators, etc of your brand and how those things should be used to increase brand awareness, revenue, opportunities, etc.
Sounds important right? Because it is! And while it may sound complicated, there are varying levels of depth that a it can have.
Your differentiation strategy defines the difference between you and your competitors and your plan on capitalizing on that difference.
Differentiation strategies are largely focused on the buying considerations of your intended audience.
Some value price over quality, some value convenience over experience. It’s all going to depend on your people. Those a some of the common buying considerations.
Your differentiation strategy needs to define which consideration is worth focusing on to better attract a specific group of people.
Your visual identity is exactly what it sounds like: all the visual elements that you use in your business. Your logos, photos, graphics, colors, fonts, illustrations etc. are all elements that should convey your style, voice, values, etc.
Collateral is the tangible pieces that are created to expand your brand past the basics of your visual identity.
For example, your brand designer may also offer to design a PDF or a business card for you. Those are collateral items. Other examples are stationary, thank you cards, studio welcome packets, wrapping paper designs, ebooks, etc. Your logo can also be considered collateral.
Now we’re getting into some of the intangible things that make up your brand.
Your brand voice is how you communicate and the words you use in all of your content. From videos, tweets, emails, to IG captions, your voice is a selection of words that convey your vision, values and aligns with your brand identity.
Just like we all value honesty and transparency in our personal lives, your brand has values you want to convey to your audience. These values could be efficiency, intelligence, empathy, encouragement, etc. Communicating these values authentically helps you connect with your audience on a deeper level.
Your mission statement is a statement that outlines the reason your business exists and it’s purpose. This statement should incorporate things like what you do, who you do it for, how you do it, and how it helps the people you work with. It should also mention things that your brand and business strive to do everyday to change your client’s mindsets, the industry, and or the world.
I hope this list of branding definitions cleared up some confusion that you may have when you’re diving into the whole branding and starting a business thing. Or if you’re rebranding and want to do it right this time so it’ll stick (I definitely understand that), hopefully, this gives you a deeper understanding of what goes into creating a brand that you love.
At the end of it all remember this: Your brand is not just a logo, it’s about how people feel when they interact with it. If you put your focus on creating a feeling and appealing to the feelings of your core audience, then you’ll find your sweet spot.
INSIDE THE THOUGHTS OF A BRAND STRATEGIST & DESIGNER
buckle in, folks
I'm Ashleigh Keith, a creative problem solver for woman led brands that prefer to cultivate relationships instead of the perfect Instagram photo. I use my background in Psychology to develop human-centered brands for women that want to do more than just run a business - they want to make a greater impact on the world around them.
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