As promised in this post on “First Key Steps for an Early Stage Startup”, we will be looking at each of the steps mentioned briefly in individual posts. You can find the one on “Building an MVP” here and Tools for Early Stage Startups, here. Today I will be sharing some basic concepts about branding and what they actually mean.
In the article, “First Key Steps for an Early Stage Startup”, I mentioned that a perfect branding goes beyond the physical appearance of the brand in terms of logo, content, etc. (though they are a part of it), that it is more about the mental work of knowing what your brand is about, who needs that message (not just the product), and where and how you can communicate the message to them. We’d look at the italicized text individually but before that, let’s actually define branding. According to Cambridge dictionary, branding is the activity of connecting a product with a particular name, symbol, etc. or with particular features or ideas, in order to make people recognize and want to buy it. It goes on to say, successful branding uses design to reinforce customers’ visual memories.
Beautiful visuals without a solid message behind it = Gibberish
Solid message thrown around carelessly = No attention
Let’s dive into the terms
While branding is the action of getting people to recognize and perceive a company a certain way, the brand is what is actually recognized; it is the perception of people about a company, the physical representation of a company’s offerings and values which is chiefly influenced by a person’s comparison of the brand promise offered versus their perception, experience, and interaction with an organization, product or service. After a company sets the identity of its brand, consumers are entitled to their perception about the products or services offered. The opinions of consumers often tend to signify what a company’s brand stands for presently, that is, “brand image”. The image of a brand is a set of beliefs held about a specific brand.
Brand positioning involves the careful manipulation of all marketing elements in order to claim the brand’s desired market position and clearly establish its unique impression in the customer’s mind. You can position a brand by emphasizing what sets it apart from other brands, or you can market to a specific, segmented audience.
“Successful positioning rejects conformity. At its best, positioning elevates a brand above the fray so that people can’t help but take notice. The human brain instinctively looks for things that are different and unexpected. So a brand that stands in stark contrast to its competition will attract people’s attention and have a distinct advantage in the marketplace.” — Lee Frederiksen, Ph. D.
Communication that is strategically written to target an audience segment and encourage them to purchase and engage with the brand. The message is what informs existing and potential customers on what makes the company/product/service different from others in the market, tells them how it is beneficial to them, and informs them of the brand values. A properly developed messaging system defines how the brand “speaks” with the customer while also capturing the nuance with which it does it.
Companies create customer personas (target audience profiles) in order to help them tailor the products and services they offer and decide on the best way to market them. Your target audience is simply a specific group of customers most likely to respond positively to your promotions, products, and services. Identifying your target audience is important because the channels, language, and information you decide to use might not be as effective with one demographic as it is with another. Essentially, a target audience analysis gives you direction for your marketing and ensures more consistency in your messaging, so you can build stronger relationships with customers.
If what you offer and the products you present match what your audience is looking for, you’ll be more likely to gain a customer. If your customer is just “everybody”, you’re making it very hard for yourself to resonate with anyone on a deeper level.
The outward expression of a brand as it is seen and heard in the market — specifically the distinguishing verbal and visual elements and messages that appeal to the customer. These include the brand name, logo, tagline, tone and typography. Brand identity is developed with a focus on who the company wishes to appeal to, it reinforces the brand’s position relative to the competition and articulates the intended brand message. The visual elements defines a brand in terms of what it looks like and includes among other things, logo, typography, packaging, etc. Verbal elements are the non-visual elements that define a brand identity in written communications and spoken language. Consistency in verbal identity can be recognized by phrases, tone of voice and the brand persona.
Branding is about creating, selecting and blending attributes to differentiate a product, service or business in an attractive, meaningful and compelling way. It works to illustrate the brand using consistent themes that align with brand promises to build the preference and loyalty of the consumer.
There you have it,
5 important branding terms to understand
Have any additions? Share them with me in the comment section
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