Branding can be difficult to wrap your head around, particularly if you’re new to it. The following are answers to some of the more frequent questions we receive.
WHAT IS BRANDING?
Branding encapsulates the sum total of your company – how you look, sound, feel and act. Brand is NOT your logo or colors or company name or website. These are only articulations of your brand. If you are telling a clear, meaningful story across everything people experience from you, you have a brand. If you’re not, you have a message.
WHAT IS A BRAND STORY?
It’s a crystalized, transformed version of your company story. More than a mission statement, it is your reason for being — what you do, how you do it and why it matters. It’s your beginning.
WHY DOES BRANDING MATTER FOR STARTUPS?
We live in a highly competitive, short-attention span world. No company today can afford to be long-winded or unclear. Whether pitching to investors or selling to consumers, your story needs to be concise and immediately understandable. With this leg up, you’ll have a far better chance of connecting with and getting the responses you’re looking for from consumers, investors, partners, etc. It will also save you plenty of time and money on the content you create to connect with those audiences.
ISN'T BRANDING FOR WHEN MY BUSINESS GROWS UP?
No. First impressions matter. The first elevator pitch, the first tweet, the first email tells the world who you are and why you matter. And sometimes you don’t have the opportunity for a second impression. Getting it right from the beginning will ensure whoever you’re talking to “gets it.”
WHEN SHOULD I BE THINKING ABOUT BRANDING?
In an ideal world, Branding is done at the very beginning before you create any brand or marketing content – as your brand story should
drive everything you create – your logo, company name, website, social media.
That said, plenty of startups go without branding for launch. And only realize later that a concise story from the beginning would have made it far easier to make an impact with an audience, and easier for a team to create the content this audience engages with.
Growing companies, those expanding their portfolio, adding new products/services, reaching new audiences, often need to rethink their brand as it relates to their new direction.
Branding doesn’t reinvent you. It helps mold your best self into a unified expression. Brands, like people, all need a tune-up every now and then.
WHY IS HAVING A CONSISTENT LOOK + FEEL IMPORTANT?
If you want your company to stick in your consumer’s head, you need to constantly sing the same tune over and over and over…
DOESN'T MY DESIGNER CREATE MY BRAND?
No. Designers should be using your Brand Guide (and a solid Creative Brief from you), to inform the design choices. A guide provides the WHY behind your choices. Your logo, colors, design of your website should ALL be based on your brand, not chosen because you and your designer like the color blue. If all your creative resources (designers, writers, developers) are starting from the same point, you’ll ensure clarity and consistency across the board.
ISN'T MY PRODUCT AND BRAND THE SAME THING?
Yes and no. Your product is one articulation of your brand. Just like your logo, your name, your website and anything else you create are articulations of our brand.
CAN I BUILD MY OWN BRAND?
Yes and no. To save money, you might be tempted to build your own brand. And there are plenty of step-by-step guides available to help you do this. But you’ll probably end up spending too much time not getting the results you’d hoped for — which is clarity.
When you are deep in, with so many ideas you’d like to communicate, it is a challenge to see the brand through the trees. This is true for everyone. Brand Strategists have a thorough understanding of consumers, business, culture, marketing and design—as well as years of brand building experience. They are trained at distilling lots of information into simple and clear ideas, and expressing those ideas with compelling language and design direction. It’s not as easy as it looks.
If you have other questions, get in touch. We’re always happy to talk brand.
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