Look around you. What does your coffee mug say? Can you see the Café Coffee Day logo over it? What make is your smartphone? Is it Samsung or an iPhone? Look outside the window. See hoardings of that same smartphone brand everywhere? That’s brand advertising. We will get to that later.
We are a branding agency and it just so happens that we wanted to compile this one big article that discussed (in brief) everything about branding. If you are looking for branding related research material or trying to understand what a company brand profile means, this guide is just for you.
This ‘ultimate branding’ or ‘essential branding’ guide will answer the most commonly searched queries such as ‘branding meaning’, ‘branding definition, ‘types of branding’, ‘branding process’, ‘brand identity’ etc.
We hope to keep the language simple and clear. Every section will be covered in a broader sense through stand-alone posts that will be posted later. We would also love to get notified by you, with regards to how we can make this post better. Feel free to communicate with us in the comments section below. Let’s get started then…
2. What is the meaning of a brand?
Before we delve deeper into the process of branding, we need to first understand, ‘what is a brand?’. Very often, companies indulges into a branding exercise, without understanding the purpose behind it.
When working with clients, we ensure we follow their brand guidelines down to the T.
We define their brand voice, update their existing brand story and define their brand guidelines.
“Your brand is what other people say about you
when you’re not in the room”
Setting up a brand image requires the company brand purpose to possess a spark, a drive that pushes the brand image to become unique. Many organizations confuse the brand image with brand goals. They feel it’s the same.
There are 7 P’s in the marketing mix. One ‘P’ stands for brand ‘Purpose’. Brand purpose defines your company’s branding. Without a purpose to your brand, you cannot set brand values, define a brand mission nor target a brand vision.
Brand values display your brand’s behavior and business ethics. It includes your company’s qualities, such as creation, innovation and more. The brand mission tells you, what you need to accomplish to reach a set of goals.
Brand mission outlines tactics and initiatives which drive various departments such as operations, communications, HR, etc. Brand vision encapsulates brand purpose, values, and mission. It could be a vision for the next 5 years or a desire to become the best company in your respective domain.
2.1 What is the meaning of brand identity?
Brand identity is the physical representation of your brand. Your brand identity is sort of a visual component of your brand. Brand identity includes the following components:
- Your brand’s typography
- Brand logos
- The colors your brand uses
- The packaging involved
- Communication that goes out
Brand identity complements the reputation of your brand. It helps in attracting new customers, while also keeping the current customers happy. You need to keep your brand identity constant. That is why brand identity needs to be created and designed smartly.
You can keep your brand identity constant by hiring a brand design company or branding agency. Synapse Communication Design will cover everything from brand identity creation to corporate branding collateral designing.
2.2 What is the meaning of a brand portfolio?
A brand portfolio is simply put, an umbrella that covers individual brands belonging to a particular company or firm. Brand portfolios are important because every brand is created with a certain creative boundary. Every brand cannot fulfill the requirements of various market segments.
A brand portfolio keeps check of all individual brands and their respective boundaries. Policies are framed, keeping in mind the resources that each brand needs most. A good example of a company brand portfolio can be General Motors. They have close to 14 brands (e.g. Chevrolet, Cadillac) within their portfolio. Each brand has its brand logo, target market, and pricing.
2.3 What is the meaning of brand guidelines?
Brand guidelines aka Brand Style Guides are a set of rules laid out by companies to govern their brand’s look-and-feel. The guidelines are set for brand logo, content that goes onto the company’s website, company branding, advertisements, and marketing collaterals.
Brand Style Guides maintain a standard across all formats or mediums. It is this consistency that makes us instantly recognize McDonald’s yellow & red arches or Google’s red, green & yellow. While brand guidelines are not rigid, they are, however cohesive.
2.4 What are the different types of brands?
Brand types can either be part of one category or can be a part of multiple ones. Some commonly known brand types are:
1. Service brands
When a company is in the business of providing solutions to clients, they need to do so consistently and at a high level of professionalism. Some examples are:
- Member associations
- Airlines, car rentals, banks & hotels
- Retail brands such as fashion stores, supermarkets, and restaurants
- Travel agencies and real estate agents
2. Individual brands
These are the most common type of brands. They are individual products that are tangible. These could be a drink, a car, a box of tissues or also grouped within sub-ranges as well.
3. Personal brands
A person can also be considered a brand. It could either be a single individual (e.g. a pop star) or a group of individuals who are associated with various personalities.
4. Group brands
Group brands comprise of collective individuals who are brand entities in their own right. An example of this could be a collective of 4 musicians who are all personal brands by themselves.
5. Event brands
Consumer loyalty & engaging experience are what brands in this ‘brand type’ try to achieve. An example of this would be the music festival Tomorrowland or conferences such as the TED series. Companies usually try to get associated with event brands to promote their products or services to participants.
Some more brands that need mentioning are Organization brands, Geographic brands, Private-label brands, Media brands & E-brands.
Did You Know?
The most valuable brand in the world,
with an estimated worth of $290 billion+ is
3. What is the meaning of branding?
You must be wondering, when will we start talking about branding. Now that we know the purpose of a brand? and are some common brand types, we are ready to look at branding and its appendages. According to Business Directory, every product/service needs to be imprinted as an image in the consumer’s mind.
Branding is a process. It is the process of creating/imprinting a company, business or organization’s imagery and name in the consumer’s mind. This process is set into motion through the creation of a brand theme, creating advertising campaigns and setting up a presence in the market.
3.1 What are the key branding elements?
To conclude, that your branding is successful, you need to set up a few entities. Once you have these entities ticked out, it is easier to then make a branding plan that makes use of these entities to good effect. These entities are:
1. Brand name
This needs to be unique. You don’t want consumers getting confused with another competitor. The brand name can be a letter, a word or a combination of words. They must be pronounced easily and preferably be able to relate to your product or services. Examples that come to mind are Usha fans, Oyo rooms, etc.
A brand mark is an instantly recognizable part of a brand. It can be the brand logo, brand design, a unique shape or distinct coloring. Nike ‘swoosh’ is a clear example. Amul’s girl, Lacoste’s alligator, etc.
3. Trade name
A synonym for ‘brand name’, a ‘trade name’ is the name of the business/organization. The trade name gives an identity to both the manufacturer and the product itself. An example of this is Godrej. Godrej is the brand name and the trade name for most of its products.
When both the brand mark and brand name are legally protected from duplicity, it becomes a trademark. Other businesses are prohibited from adopting a trademarked name.
Copyrights are applicable for artistic work, books, musical properties and provide protection to the work of an author. Nobody else can copy the author’s work.
Patents are similar to copyright. Any new inventions or processes are provided with legal protection. Unauthorized persons are prohibited to make any commercial use of the invention or process. The prohibition is valid for a fixed number of years.
3.2 Why is branding important?
Branding is important because it serves as a perfect platform for a business to promote merchandise, cater to consumer feedback, build a reputation and spread the brand logo’s reach. All these together create an alluring professional brand profile. Branding is important for the following reasons:
1. Branding creates an impact
Through effective and target-centered branding, you can influence the way a consumer perceives your brand. It can aid in brand awareness and also garnering fresh business.
2. Branding invites recognition
Being recognized by competitors and consumers alike is key. The brand logo is the most important branding element when it comes to representing the identity of the company or business. The brand logo hence needs to be powerful, instantly recognizable and make a lasting impression.
3. Branding adds business value
Branding is essential when looking to generate business. It also provides leverage to a business’ value within the industry. Investing time and funds on improving your branding can establish your business within the marketplace.
4. Branding creates a fresh business pool
Branding done right leads to the addition of fresh business. Strong branding leaves a positive impression among consumers. Branding breeds familiarity, which then leads to trust being built. Word of mouth referrals is benefited the most by smart branding.
The same employees who participate in building the brand, gain a sense of pride when strong branding is associated with it. Working for a reputable brand makes working for it fulfilling.
Branding also provides a professional appearance to your brand. This builds a polished professional profile within the marketplace. Good branding shows consumers that your business is run by experts and professionals.
3.3 What is the branding process?
The process of branding involves 3 phases – internal review, identifying target audience and research.
1. Internal review
Any business’ branding strategy starts with first conducting an internal review. This phase involves understanding the company’s branding goals, marketing strategies, individual perspectives and drafting a plan.
This is the phase where a lot of brainstorming and ideation occurs. Several point-of-views and inputs can be gathered.
2. Target audience
The next phase is to identify your brand’s target audience. See if your branding strategy covers the following questions with regards to reaching your intended audience:
- What are the industries that your brand caters to?
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What services can your brand offer?
- Who are the most important (designation) people your brand serves to?
Once you have identified your target audience, research must be conducted to understand their needs, motivations, and challenges better. There are chances that such research could expose a few gaps. Bridge those gaps at the research phase itself.
4. Brand USP
Making use of the above research, jot down pointers that make your brand stand out. Are your brand competitors offering better pricing? Is so, how can your branding strategy fix that? Your branding must be true to what your brand offers. The USPs offered must be relevant to your target audience.
5. Brand statement
Once you know what your brand can offer, it’s time to prepare a brand or positioning statement. It is a carefully prepared worded statement about your brand. It needs to be honest and aspirational. This is not your brand’s mission statement. It should ideally be around 4 sentences long and emit the essence of your brand.
6. Branding architecture
The final phase involves ironing out any confusion with regards to the emergence of sister brands or stand-alone products. This is when you establish a hierarchy to show a better inter-relation between any sister brands.
Any business or a branded individual can take advantage of numerous branding types available. Some commonly used branding types are:
- Personal branding
A common branding type is Personal Branding. Personal branding allows famous personalities such as politicians, celebrities and athletes to portray a positive image to the public. Politicians nowadays make use of social media to build a rapport before oncoming elections.
2. Product branding
Product branding allows consumers to differentiate a product from others. Product branding is easily noticeable when you are either walking through a supermarket aisle or seeing a large billboard.
3. Retail branding
Quite often, retail branding is adopted by larger industry players. Retail branding helps them to beat the competition. Consumer interest is piqued through heavy investments in brand advertising. This requires a proper branding strategy on its own to measure funds being spent, channel distribution, etc.
4. Corporate branding
Corporate branding is perfect for maintaining a good reputation in the market. Corporate branding encompasses corporate social responsibility, employee culture, products, and services. Every branding activity produces either a negative or a positive impact on the organization. A poor strategic choice, however can hit brand reputation greatly.
Co-branding allows multiple brands to associate themselves to a specific service or product. It is a marketing partnership through which a singular brand’s success can rub off on its co-brand. This branding type increases awareness and allows brands entry into newer markets.
6. Geographical branding
Geographical branding is limited to only a particular region. It’s of great use within the tourism industry. Popular landmarks, tourist destinations, and must-visit places can be targeted effectively.
3.5 What are the best branding strategies?
Building an effective brand strategy requires an understanding of the product/service, understanding the target audience and creating a strong brand plan. Brandingmag states that branding gains recognition.
A brand strategy is composed by keeping the following pointers in mind:
- Brand positioning
Positioning a brand smartly on every target audience’s mind is important. The positioning of the brand can be done at 3 levels
- On product attributes
- Using product benefits
- Amplifying product values and beliefs
Product attributes will include essential features of a product. For a car, it could be the colors, engine specification or design. But these attributes can be copied by competitors as well. To a certain target audience, brand positioning at this level could work. Consumers however just want to gain benefits.
The next level, positioning on benefits, should focus on the comfort the car can offer, air conditioning during summer, etc. The best brand positioning, however is done at the beliefs/values level. The same car manufacturer will try to impress upon the consumer, the passion with which the car is manufactured. The multiple years that the car company has been making cars is highlighted in every brand promotion.
2. Brand decision
The brand decision on a strategic level includes deciding the name of the brand. Naming a brand is part art, part science. A good example is Dr. Fixit. The name itself tells the consumer what the product intends to accomplish – fixing homes from water leakages. The brand name should be capable of getting registered. It should not be infringing on any existing brand names.
3. Brand sponsorship
A manufacturer can either start selling the same products it manufactures or contact resellers to sell it at stores. Spending millions on creating a custom brand name can get difficult for some manufacturers. Instead, they license their symbols or name to products that are already in the market. An example of this could be children’s products which are sold using imagery from popular children’s brands such as, Chota-Bheem, Disney, etc.
4. Brand development
To develop brands, a company can make use of up to 4 choices:
- Line extension – This includes extending the brand name through new colors, sizes or forms. It is a low-cost, low-risk method to introduce new products.
- Brand extension – An extension of brand to a new product category, is what happens with brand extension. This way the new product gains instant recognition.
- Multi-brands – This includes marketing several different brands within a single product category. This allows targeting a varied target audience.
Quick Synapse Tip:
Always Allow Your Brand To Tell A Story
Your brand is a direct reflection of what your consumers expect from you. With effective branding, your brand voice, brand mission, brand website, brand packaging, and marketing collateral can influence a consumer. Attracting new customer is one thing, retention of a current customer is also crucial. Some branding benefits which you should know about are:
- Clear strategy
Through branding, a company can drive the business forward using a clear strategy. You can always go back to your brand strategy and see if the product or services are aligned to your brand mission.
2. Unique entity
Branding allows a business to stand out in a saturated market. Maybe a consumer could like a particular company’s brand logo or feel that the product benefits offered are better.
3. Custom pricing
Branding done right lets you charge a fee or price that is worth your brand identity. Through branding, you can tell the consumer that your pricing is dependent on the high-quality work or products you offer.
4. New products
A strong brand will always retain your loyal customers. Therefore, any new product released will also be quickly accepted and appreciated by the same loyal customers. Customers are attracted to brands that share the same values as them.
5. Consistent decisions
Thanks to solid branding being done, you can always keep the brand’s typography, brand color and brand’s look-and-feel consistent.
After such a long blog post, we wouldn’t want to harp on about our services. But, for those who want to know what we do;
We are a Goa based, business communication agency that offers the best services for digital marketing, advertising, content marketing, brand storytelling, annual reports and presentation design.
We ensure better internal communication between you, your employees, your clients, your customers & your investors. Improve your company workforce efficiency and grow your profit margin through creative business communication.
We are experts – probably one of the best in India – for creating beautiful PowerPoint presentations that make your pitch deck standout. We are probably India’s best PowerPoint designers.
Our internationally award winning annual report designing experts present your company’s annual profits digitally. Impress investors with innovative & interactive report designs. Corporate reporting is our forte.
Improve your company sales targets by designing marketing collateral that attracts your customers and clients. Increase business sales by opting for effective content & marketing strategies.
We help businesses fix communication problems between clients, prospects & employees. With our bespoke content marketing services, content creation will never be a problem.
If you want to embed business storytelling into your business’ mundane internal or external business communications, then hire us. You won’t regret it…hit the button below to get in touch with someone from our team