What branding is has little to nothing to do with design. I know. Shocking. Here I would enter one of those super famous iceberg pictures where the tip of the iceberg is visible, but 90% of it is under the water. The visual part of branding is just the tip of the iceberg. And I am here to walk you through what branding is.
The definition of branding is;
And while we can argue that marking something with an iron is indeed branding, it’s not the coffee we’re about to brew today. Unless that is what you truly were looking for when you clicked to read this post. I mean VALID POINT – but it’s not what we’re about to talk about so, I will give you a change to X out.
Branding happens first. It’s why you started your business. Literally. Your “why” aka, your purpose, is part of branding. I know, a lot of people didn’t know this, but it’s the micro brew of the day. Again, usually when people talk about branding, they assume you’re talking about the visuals of a brand, but this could not be further from the truth.
When you first decide to start a business, you need to figure out your:
When you have these figured out, you have the most inner layer of your cake figured out. Next you need to move on to the next layer, which contains your target audience, niche, unique benefits, taglines, brand identity, brand voice and tone. Believe it or not, but this is all part of your brand. I hope you’re starting to see that whether you want it or not, you already have a brand. Everyone does, but some of us chooses to focus on it and gain the clarity they need in order to pursue the right kind of people. With language and visuals that attracts those people.
While your marketing is the thing that gets attention to you – branding is what keeps attention on you. And this is what you should want! As a business owner, you should want to have as many as possible eyeballs on you. We all know visibility leads to sales. So, what you should do is figure out your branding FIRST. Then do the copywriting. Then do the marketing.
You don’t want to do marketing before all this because if you’re brand… well, sucks, people won’t keep their attention on you. Branding makes you look official and more trustworthy. So that when you do marketing, people will actually stick with you because they trust you and want to know more.
Just like mentioned above, branding attracts people. Why? Because, when you have solid brand foundation, you know who your target audience is, and you can speak directly to them. Using their language. You can relate to these people, and they can relate to you because you enjoy the same things. You can use their specific language to showcase them the right solutions to their issues. Without branding, you’re like a person, a body, but no personality. Empty vessel. There is a reason why you like your friends, for instance, because they can relate to you and you can relate to them.
As you have probably noticed, all these points pretty much go hand in hand. It keeps attention on you, attracts clients and all that equals to loyalty. And what business doesn’t want loyal customers!? I can think of so many companies that I am fairly loyal to, I keep going back to them because I simply like them. Like Oatly or Keen (these are both very ethical and sustainable brands, btw, definitely check them out). But in order to get to the point where you do have customer loyalty (and retention), you need to have your branding on point.
Branding will be with you forever. You will always have a purpose, mission, and vision. Visuals might change over time – correction – they should change overtime, but your brand foundation should stay the same. Now, some brand designers will say that your niche, audience, etc. will never change either, but I am here to tell you that they will most likely change over time as well. Mission, vision, and purpose are always going to be the same, though.
This is truly the biggest and most important part of branding. Because without these, you’re like a moose without antlers, weird looking. Some people mix products, services, and prices with branding, but they are not. Those are part of marketing.
Here is what I like to tell my clients, branding is the reason why you’re in business, but also the personality, and the clothes. Branding is a like a 7-layer dip that just keep surprising you every bite you take. And while there are a lot of misconceptions about what it is and what it is not, this is how I view it. And now, if you want to hear more about branding or come challenge me and tell me “you got it all wrong,” send me a DM on Instagram. You can also send me a DM if you found a lot of value in this post too. I won’t get mad. Or if you want to see 10 reasons why you should work with me here you go.
You know that feeling when you put on a new outfit and suddenly feel like a million bucks? That's what I do for wholesome brands. Minus the awkward changing room lighting.