Branding is a bit of a buzzword in today’s world, isn’t it?
But what really is branding?
Hop on Instagram and you’ll hear digital gurus describe branding as “being authentically you”.
“Just be authentic to you and your tribe will follow!”, they say.
But when we look at branding and marketing through a business owner’s eye, things are not so simple.
The point of branding is to stand out within your industry/market to attract your ideal customer — whether that’s to purchase your product or sell your services.
Branding is the way your business presents itself to the world. It’s the way it communicates and moves within the market. It’s a visual and emotional representation of your business at its most fundamental level, but also at its most complex. I like to think of the brand identity of a business the same way I think of the personality of a person. It’s a reflection of core values and beliefs but is also complex and ever-evolving.
Branding is about values. It’s about telling a story without saying a word. It’s both conscious and unconscious. And it’s emotional and deep — whether your audience realizes it or not.
Branding is most successful when the overall brand message — brand strategy, brand voice, and brand visuals — portrays your business’s core values to an audience that shares those same core values. To do this successfully, a strategy must be involved.
So why is simply “being authentic” never enough?
To create a brand that is memorable, recognizable, and trustworthy, you must first work to uncover the brand’s mission. From there, pull its core values. And more so, pull its audience’s core values.
Branding is like solving a puzzle.
It’s uncovering deep truths of a business and its ideal consumer, then finding the overlap within those truths, and creating visuals and messaging that accurately conveys that overlap. Within that overlap, and within the way that overlap is portrayed to the world, is where most successful brand identity lies.
Branding itself is a puzzle solver.
Brand strategy is the solution to your business’s problems. It acts as the north star in all marketing efforts and is something you and your team can reference when faced with issues in business. That’s because branding takes strategy and the work it takes to uncover that strategy, also uncovers the answers to many other problems within your business.
Being authentic to you, as a business owner and person, is great! But branding is not simply being authentic. Sure, your values and personality as the founder of your business may spill over into your brand. But to create a compelling brand identity, you must set individual preferences aside and focus instead on the deep whys within the core of your business and the core of your audience.
When those truths are uncovered and you’re able to portray them emotionally through visuals and messaging, you will find success every time.