What IS Branding?
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What is Branding?
But first, why should you care? The short answer is that people buy from and work with businesses that they know and trust. If you’ve ever felt like you are getting customers that you don’t want, or jobs that you don’t want, listen up. If you look at other businesses and think, “Why do people like them? They aren’t that great. They are so expensive. I run a better business. We can do better work,” it is likely that your “brand” is sending out the wrong message, which means people are struggling to trust you. Or, no message at all, so people simply don’t know you.
First, let’s answer, What is a “Brand?”
To answer the question, what is branding, we have to first understand what the word “brand” means. When it comes to the world of branding and marketing, and for the purpose of our conversation today, brand refers to EVERYTHING that contributes to the way your business is perceived. Let me say that louder for the people in the back…
Your brand refers to EVERYTHING that contributes to the way your business is perceived.
Now you realize, it is so much more than your logo. We can illustrate this point by comparing your business to people. When you hear the name Tony Robbins, or Elton John, or Elon Musk … what words or qualities come to mind?
How is the reputation of a person similar to the brand of a business?
With the names above, it was easy to quickly come up with some words to describe those people - rich, fire walker, influential, tall, powerful, flamboyant, sparkles, pink sunglasses, genius, engineer, cocky, Tesla, flame thrower etc.
You know right away if you are drawn to, repelled by, or indifferent to those names - and if you know who they are, your idea of them is VERY clear.
It took time and a lot of exposure for you to come to those conclusions right? You didn’t just hear of those names yesterday.
When someone hears the name of your business, what comes to mind? Would they think, friendly, successful, unassuming, powerful, talented, experienced? Or might they think disorganized, immature, irresponsible? Could they think of any other words? What about construction, Montecito, Santa Barbara, family, surfing, community, charity. Where did they get those ideas? Everything that contributed to those ideas is your “brand.”
It’s also possible that nothing comes to mind, positive or negative - they would just say “I don’t know, I don’t have an opinion.” Or, you might have very conflicting reports — some people would say they are very expensive, but do great work. Others might say they are sloppy and do poor work. These are all signs that your brand is not representing you well.
How do people learn about your “brand”?
Let’s think for a moment about how people come to know your brand. They might see your logo on your business card, maybe on a sign at your shop, or on your vehicles.
They might hear you, the owner, talk about it. They might hear what your employees say about working there. They might get an email from you, see an ad in the paper, or a magazine. Maybe they are at an event and they hear your name for one of the items up for auction. All along the way, they are perceiving your brand - and forming an opinion towards it.
Now that you know what a “brand” is, it is easier to understand “brand-ing.” Branding, is about having CONTROL over how your brand is perceived. What do I mean by that?
You cannot control what people think. People are going to love you, or hate you, or feel indifferent towards you. But you can control what you put out there to influence their opinion. *KEY POINT* The more persistent and consistent your branding is, the easier it will be to control your brand and make an impact - so that you are known for what you WANT to be known for!
How to control you brand, a.k.a “Branding”
Now we can talk about Branding! What can you do, or what can we do at Clever Punch, to have control over your brand?
Logo - ask yourself, does my logo accurately reflect what we do? Do I use the same logo everywhere, or do I have lots of different versions. Is it clear and legible. Or is it fuzzy and pixelated.
Colors - colors are linked to emotions. Orange and yellow could represent something light, positive, blues and greens can be calming, black can be understated yet powerful, red can be disruptive and bossy etc.
Fonts - do you feel like choosing a font doesn’t really matter. Well, fonts subconsciously evoke emotion too - so depending on the message you want to send, you can control that with the font you use.
Photography - not only the subject matter, but the style. Are they on an iPhone, or professional. Are you using a filter.
Language or Voice - in the emails you send, the text on your website, or even in the conversations you have with people, is the way you speak and act consistent? Or, are you going one direction one day, and another direction the next day. Do your employees speak the same language you do? Or do you have conflicting communication.
How can a professional like Clever Punch help you with branding?
We come in as professionals with the experience and education in understanding brands - we know how colors, fonts, and logos and language evoke emotion in your customers.
The first thing we do is have a conversation to understand what your business. What do you do? What do you charge? Who are you trying to attract? What do you want to accomplish?
Next, we compare that to the way your business is currently being represented. For example, you may say you are trying to attract these customers, at this price point, but now let’s look at the way you are representing yourself through your website, logo, brochures etc. If it doesn’t equate, we need to give a little tough love and fix the discrepancies.
Next, we will work on “Rebranding” your business. We clean the slate and take a fresh look at the language you want to convey, then the logos, colors, and fonts and photos to represent your business.
Everything we design will be uploaded to your Dropbox, and then we compile these designs in what we call a “brand guideline.” A brand guideline is simply a PDF document that explains your business, words and language to describe your business and the designs, colors and fonts you need to use consistently moving forward. From now on, anything you create to represent your business you will resort back to these guidelines so you can stay on track. (If you want to see an example of a brand guideline, you can look at Montecito Construction on our portfolio page. For their privacy, we did not include the “language” portion in this online version.)
Now we can use those designs to create your brand assets - website, brochures, business cards and more. Everything we make from now on is created with consistency and intention! Now we are conveying the look and feel we want! Everything we create with your logo, colors and fonts are called your “brand assets.”
How much does this cost, and how much time does it take?
We charge $2,500 for this service and it takes 2-3 meetings, and on average 2 weeks to complete. Can you simply find a graphic designer to make a logo for you? Of course, and this will only cost a few hundred dollars. In fact, we recommend this if you are a new business owner. You should create a simple logo, and use it consistently while you start generating sales, and learning about your business.
But once you are established, it is worth investing with a professional and bringing in their objective opinion and creative ideas. That way, you can have control over your brand, get the price you want, the clients you want, and the jobs you want. When someone says the name of your business - you want a very clear message will come to mind immediately!
Once your professional branding is complete, you are ready for MARKETING! What is marketing? Doesn’t that mean advertising? Isn’t it expensive? Do I really need to worry about marketing if I am just a construction business?
Until then, think about the Nike Swoosh. That logo cost just $35 to design. Marketing is the reason the company is valued at $35 billion dollars today.
Next up, article No. 3 - What is Marketing?
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