Branding Basics

Branding / 05.08.15 / Stuart McDaniel

Are you having difficulty in defining or establishing your company’s voice? Your problem may stem from ineffective brand communication. To create effective brand communication, you must first understand what branding actually is. The following elements are all forms of brand expressions but do not singularly define a brand.

  • Name: The company’s name displayed in words.
  • Logo: The visual trademark or logotype that identifies a brand.
  • Tagline or catchphrase: A set of words strung together in order to capture a company’s essence.
  • Graphics: Much like the logo but also including the overall feel of advertisements, the website or any other interaction the company has with its target market.
  • Shapes: The distinctive shapes of the product like Coke’s iconic bottle design.
  • Colors: A company may identify with a certain color. For example, Target uses red in their logo and all of their other brand expressions.
  • Sounds: A jingle or set of notes attributed to a company. The Folger’s jingle, “The best part of waking up, is Folger’s in your cup.” is a famous example.
  • Scents: A company such as Bath & Body Works or Channel have trademarked smells unique to their companies.
  • Tastes: Many restaurants or food manufactures have trademarked tastes. For example, Pepsi has a trademarked recipe to produce the taste of their cola.

If a brand isn’t a name, logo, tagline/slogan, graphic element, shape, color, sound, scent, or taste what is a brand?

A brand is the gut feeling a person has about a specific company or organization. This feeling often induces a customer’s act or react instinct. If a new customer is drawn to a brand’s vibe, then they are more likely to act on a purchase. If the brand is viewed as repelling, then the customer will react negatively to the brand and avoid a purchase.

Such feelings about a brand cannot be wholly controlled but they can be influenced by using the different brand expressions listed above and through effective brand communication. Brand communication refers to how a company or organization transmits its brand message, characteristics and attributes to their consumers.

Before transmitting a brand message, a company should first answer the following questions.

  1. Who are you?

This may seem like a simple question but knowing who a company is and what it is willing to stand for is important to consumers because it shows a sense of self-awareness and this self-awareness forms a feeling of trust between the consumer and the company.

  1. What do you do?

This answers not only what services or products you provide but how these services or products interact with your costumers and the world.

  1. Why you do what you do and why it matters?

This is the most difficult question for most companies to answer but it is the most vital to effective brand communication. Why do you do what you do? This answer shouldn’t be “to make money”. That is already evident. In the world of business everyone is attempting to be profitable. This answer should sum up what makes your company different than your competitors’, why your product or service is necessary and the value of your company’s social/environmental footprint on the community and the world.

Once a company has answered these questions honestly, they can begin to transmit accurate and defendable brand communication. By showing this self-awareness in every facet and consumer interaction available, a company will attract their appropriate target market.

If you have questions or need assistance in effective brand communication, contact the professionals at GuRuStu.