Branding 101 covers the start of the branding journey, namely generating a loose customer persona to assist in the design and positioning of brand assets.
Branding 201 discusses the creation of basic branding assets and the role of color and typography.
Finally, branding 301 will delve into brand messaging, communication, and managing the brand on an ongoing basis.
The process of branding is one that involves constant communication between the brand and its customers and market. Branding is essentially animated and set in motion by marketing. Whilst branding advertises the brand to its target market, hopefully forging recognition, “I’ve seen these guys before,” brands are pushed to an audience via brand communications. This is where branding and marketing unite.
Brand communications revolve around what the brand wants to convey, examples include:
Encapsulating some of these ideas in brand messaging is the tricky part. Here are some examples:
Above is landing page material from Siemens. The messaging here is formal, precise, and highlights innovation.
Coca-Cola’s landing pages are typically very red for reasons described in Branding 201. Much of their messaging revolves around communicating their brand sustainability initiatives, e.g. making bottles from recycled materials.
The Apple website is very silver-grey, highlighting modernity. There are lots of slick slogans and wordplays.
Here is McKinsey’s current landing page material. It’s formal, typically aimed at a high-level executive audience.
Each of these examples is attempting to execute brand messaging that synchronizes with the brand itself. There are many stylistic approaches here that are established during the branding process. If you visit each brand’s social media channels, or their apps or other products, then it’s the same thing over and over again. Repetition is one of the most important concepts in branding – the advertising ‘rule of 7’ says that customers need to see or hear a brand’s message 7 times before they intend to take action.
Social media is vital for all brands regardless of their status as B2B or B2C. This is where well-executed brand messaging comes into play. In our blog on social media tips for small businesses, we highlighted a nutrition brand called Huel who regularly interacts with customers on their socials – and they’re not scared of confronting customers either!
Whilst this is potentially risky, the stats show that customers want authenticity from brands – Oberlo found that 86% of respondents say they’re more likely to buy from brands they deem authentic.
Interacting with customers is vital, but this too should carry the brand’s tone of voice. It’d look extremely out of character if a brand like McKinsey started cracking jokes with clients on Twitter!
One of the final pieces of the puzzle is brand management. In loose terms, brand management is the process of managing a brand to ensure consistent, effective branding across all channels. Poor brand management results in potential crises, such as when Kraft launched their ‘SendNoods’ campaign on National Noodle Day. It resulted in a massive backlash from their social media followers. There are lots of examples of brands really messing up on social media – preventing that is part of brand management.
As such, it’s wise to develop approval workflows for marketing campaigns so you – or your brand manager – have the final say before brand material goes live.
Another aspect of brand management is digital asset management (DAM). Once a brand creates a series of brand assets, e.g. logos, banners, typography, etc, DAM software can keep these assets stored in a safe central location for retrieval by any team anywhere. It’s a cloud-based repository specifically for branding materials.
Hopefully, this 3-part branding series unlocked some ideas and insights that you can implement either when launching a business or somewhere down the line.
Branding is still a thoroughly creative process, but it’s strategic also and can easily make or break a brand. Strong branding is so powerful but it’s not magic either – it’s possible to replicate the successes of major brands.