Branding Demystified: Eight Essential Words to Know
When you woke up one morning, or if you’re like me you were up super late wondering what the hell you were going to do with your life, and decided to start a business you probably didn’t think too much about creating a brand or what it was.
The excitement and the fear that comes rushing through you when you realize that you could create the life that you want and be in charge of your financial freedom, probably clouded your mind. I hear you. A lot of people don’t know what goes into making a brand. I didn’t when I first started.
Even if you’ve been at this for a bit, or if you haven’t and you’re in a research phase, I hope these quick and easy definitions help you when you’re reading all of your articles about branding and/or looking to hire someone to help you develop your brand.
The word brand may be a noun, but it’s not simply one thing. Nor is it really a physical thing. A brand is the culmination of feelings that people feel when they interact with your business. Your brand isn’t just one thing and it’s for sure not just your logo. The visual/tangible and the intangible elements of your brand causes people to feel a certain way, and the name of the game is to strategically design 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. You can’t really have one without the other. I go more in-depth about what a brand is and how it’s very similar to building a house if you’re still curious. You can check it out here.
Brand is the noun, and branding is the verb. So when you’re in the process of branding your business or you’re looking to hire someone to do your branding, you’re going through the process of synthesizing everything that makes you and your business special and form that into a brand.
Just like you have a personality, moral code, values etc. your brand should have those things of its own. Your brand’s personality can be different than yours, but it usually isn’t especially if you’re running your business on your own. Your brand identity can really come out when you’re communicating with your audience, the way you present your business and the types of decisions that you make down the line.
When you’re hiring a brand designer, a good one won’t just make you a logo (and honestly you should be looking for more than that). You should be looking for someone that helps you develop the whole picture: the visuals and how to use them to communicate your brand’s voice and values.
Your visual identity is exactly what it sounds like. It’s all the visual items that you use in your business: your logos, photos, graphics, colors, fonts, illustrations etc. All of these things should convey your style, voice, values, etc.
Collateral is a term you should definitely know when you’re thinking of hiring someone to do your branding for you. 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.
Now we’re getting into some of the intangible things that make up your brand. Your voice is how you communicate and the words that you use in every piece of content that you put into the world. From videos, tweets, emails, to IG captions, your voice is comprised of a selection of words that convey your vision, values and also matches your brand identity.
Just like we all value honesty and transparency in our personal lives, your brand has values that you want to make sure that you convey to your audience. These values could be efficiency, education, encouragement, etc. Conveying 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.
For example, here’s Hued’s mission statement: A boutique web design studio crafting stunning, bespoke and strategic Squarespace websites for entrepreneurs who are ready to lead the pack, not get lost in it.
I hope this list was able to clear 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 all 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 your brand. If you put your focus on creating a feeling and appealing to the feelings of your core audience, then you’ll find your groove.
Here are more articles that I wrote about branding that may be of further help: