What is branding?
Branding is an age-old concept. In the past, cows were branded by their owners so that farmers could not steal each other's cows. On the basis of a 'stamp' they recognised their own cows and could be distinguished from the neighbour's cows. Much later, branding became a marketing tool.
By applying branding to your online and offline brand communication, you distinguish your brand from others. You make everything you share "your property" as it were by putting your "stamp" on it. This ensures recognition and more trust among consumers.
There are many different definitions of branding. The American Marketing Association describes branding as: "a name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or a group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competition."
Branding is about every detail of your brand communication. Your font and your colour palette, but also images, videos and icons are worked out down to the smallest detail.
What you will learn about branding
- How do you start branding?
- Investing in branding
- What branding is not
- Branding tools
- Branding services
- Branding cases
- Help with your branding
- Types of branding
- Good vs Bad Branding
- Branding concepts
- Read more about branding
- Branding FAQ
How do you start branding?
Branding is a form of marketing that is not so much about activating your target audience, but more about building brand equity that will support your other marketing activities. Working on your branding is working on your brand.
- Branding manual
- Brand book
- Brand guideline
- Brand personality
Investing in branding
Investing in your branding is a smart move to position your brand in the market, differentiate it from the competition and generate more consumer trust. By pouring all your brand communication into your branding, you create consistency and recognisability.
- Branding benefits
- The uses of branding
- Branding strategy
- Branding & marketing
- Branding & Advertising
When should you invest in branding?
Do you want to build a strong brand? Then you have to invest in branding. It is best to invest in branding at the start of your brand. This way you enjoy the benefits of consistent branding right from the start. Later in your process, branding or rebranding can boost your brand.
What branding is not
Before you start your branding process, it is important that you know what branding is about. Branding is not a short term strategy. So don't expect immediate results after implementing your (new) branding. It takes a while for consistency to come through and consumers to start recognising you.
Recognition, brand awareness and trust take a while. Branding only enhances this process.
A brand book is often drawn up to record the guidelines of your branding. This sets out all the guidelines for your branding. After that, it's up to you and your communication staff to apply the branding consistently. You mainly need design tools to extend your branding.
- Photo stock sites: Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, etc.
- Typefaces sites: myfonts.com, etc.
- Creative assets: creativemarket.com, Envato.
The branding of each brand is different. So each brand needs a tailored approach depending on what your brand needs to build consistency.
- Design corporate identity
- Branding website
- Flyer design
- Presentation design
- Marketing materials
- Social Media Templates
- Brand strategy
Corrina Grace is a social entrepreneur, engineer and sustainability leader with over 15 years of experience building and empowering community organisations. Living and working with underprivileged, economically marginalised communities on the front lines of climate change for more than 10 years has solidified her personal commitment to justice and equality for people + planet, a commitment that shapes her work at all levels.
In recent years, Corrina has made the transition from founder of a non-profit organisation in Guatemala to consultant fundraising and systemic change for various organisations around the world. Her experience and her idea of changing the story of systemic change is based on her understanding that the world is interdependent and interconnected.
This led Corrina to decide how to position herself as an author and leader of meaningful and transformative change. She needed an impactful brand that could capture and reflect who she is.
Impact Marathon is a global running series with competitions in 4 continents, based in the United Kingdom. Their business model is different from that of a standard race organisation. They focus on the social impact of each event and combine volunteering with running. Their clients, or 'Impact Runners' as they are called, are extremely mixed and diverse as they attract runners from all the local communities where they work, as well as international runners.
Due to the rapid growth of Impact Marathon, the branding lacked continuity and a clear identity. Their templates and designs were made for each local market, usually under the time constraints and pressures that go hand in hand with event planning. For this reason, they wanted to bring all branding together with a more professional, consistent and energetic branding.
SheRACES aims to be a platform that helps event organisers make their events more inclusive; helps brands understand how the sporting events they sponsor can support female runners; helps athletes choose competitions that provide an equal opportunity to compete and a fair experience when they do.
Like many movements, the SheRACES team knew they needed to have a strong brand before launching and sharing their why so organisations, brands and runners would want to support their cause.
Although their name is "SheRACES", the team wanted to differentiate themselves from the classic colours and styles associated with a feminine look. They wanted to show a much bolder, more modern and sporty look. A brand that everyday women, pregnant women, runners of all genders and sports enthusiasts could identify with. They wanted to become speakers for the positive movement and what they wanted to represent.
Help with your branding
Some brands build their own branding, others prefer to call in professional help. There are several options to have your branding recorded professionally.
- Branding agency
- Branding company
- Freelance brand manager
- Design agency
- Design studio
- Freelance designer
- Graphic designer
Types of branding
Branding is for everyone. Whether you have a start-up, you are a solopreneur, a nonprofit, branding is the step towards a strong brand and consistent communication. Only This way can you be recognised and strengthen the bond of trust between you and your target audience.
- Branding for business
- Branding for startups
- Branding for products
- Personal branding
- Branding for nonprofits
- Branding for solopreneurs
Who is branding for?
You often hear that branding is only useful in large companies. But branding has nothing to do with the size of your company. Branding is all about building recognition and strengthening the consumer's trust in your brand. You determine, as it were, how others think about your brand. In short: big or small, investing in branding is always a smart move.
Good vs bad branding: examples
Branding is a powerful tool. Thanks to branding, you can influence the way people think and speak about your brand. It is of course your goal that through good branding people trust and recognise your brand. Good branding makes your brand come across as a 'good and reliable friend'. If it's done right, of course. Because even with branding you can seriously go wrong as a brand. Just take a look at some of these examples:
When London knew they could host the 2012 Olympics, they immediately started designing a logo. They invested $800,000 in a logo they believed to be “simple, distinctive and bold.” They thought it was a good idea to ditch the traditional rings and completely modernise the logo. After the release of their logo, the reactions were anything but positive. The logo was seen as disrespectful to London and the Olympics. Not the reaction you want to provoke with your new logo.
Tropicana Orange Juice
Some time ago, PepsiCo decided to rebrand some of their products including Tropicana orange juice. Tropicana is known for its boxes with a straw that comes out of an orange. After the rebranding, the packaging was a plain white box containing a glass of fruit juice. The font was completely changed. After sales fell 20%, PepsiCo realised they had done something wrong. Their new packaging resembled the unbranded version of their original product. Oops… After missing out on $130 million in sales, they decided to go back to their original packaging.
Comcast is an American cable company with a very bad reputation for customer service. At one point, they had the most hated customer service in all of the United States. In 2010, they decided to change their name in the hope that people would soon forget their bad experience. They wanted to prove with their new name that they had overcome their customer service problems. But of course, a change in your logo won't make people forget about your bad history. Instead of investing money in a new logo, Comcast should have invested in improving their customer service and business structure.
University of California
In 2012, the University of California decided to rebrand its logo. However, the new logo resembled a 'toilet bowl' and was not liked by practically anyone. Although they only wanted to use the logo for general communication, and they never intended to replace their official one, the damage was done and they decided not to use the new logo anymore.
We all know Starbucks as the coffee bar that always misspells your name. Even the simplest names are misspelt by their baristas. A very smart marketing strategy. Because almost everyone has already shared a photo of their Starbucks cup on their social media.
When we talk about good branding, the magic of Disney can certainly not be missed in the list. Disney is one of the most loved brands in the world. Young and old dream of a trip to Disneyland and look forward to every new movie
- Internal branding
- Brand strategy
- Corporate identity
- Brand strategy
- Brand identity
- Visual identity
- Branding guidelines
- Target Customer
- Brand advocate (or ambassador)
- Brand Aesthetics
- Brand agency
- Brand studio
- Brand Consultancy
- The Golden Circle (by Simon Sinek)
- Brand alignment
- Brand architecture
- Brand Audit
- Brand book
- Brand loyalty
- Brand personality
- Tone of voice
- Brand or core values
- USP – Unique selling point or Value proposition
- Corporate identity
- Creative brief
- Creative process
- Customer journey
- Customer experience
- User experience
- Design process
- Design research
- Mood board
- Intellectual property
- Market research
- Responsive web design
- * SMART goals
- Style guidelines
Read more about branding
- Start with why by Simon Sinek
- Building a story brand by Donald Miller
- Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits by Debbie Millman
- The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design by Marty Neumeier
- Branding: In Five and a Half Steps by Michael Johnson
- Identity Designed: The Definitive Guide To Visual Branding by David Airey
- Book Of Branding by Radim Malinic
- Branding at Thefutur.com
- Strategy at Thefutur.com
- Branding Strategy at Medium.com
- BP&O - bpando.org
- Branding News
- The Branding Journal
- How to Build a Consistent Brand: A comprehensive guide to effectively define, launch, scale, and monitor your brand with HubSpot and Brandfolder.
- Social Impact & Brand Purpose: Everything You Need to Know by Joe Kattan
- The Future Of The Purpose-Driven Brand by Chris Martin
- Let’s Talk About How to Build a Brand: It’s about more than fancy fonts and clever logos by Felicia C. Sullivan
- Five ways to brand your business by Lucy Werner
- 7 Steps to Branding Your Business on a Budget w/ Expert Data by Martina Bretous
- The Ultimate Guide to Personal Branding by Emma Brudner
- Why Your Brand Needs A Strong Visual Identity + 5 Examples to Inspire You by Katrina Kirsch
- BRAND A-Z: My personal glossary of 1000 essential brand terms by Marty Neumeier
Frequently Asked Questions about Branding
What is good branding?
Good branding positively influences the way your target audience feels. They recognise you and trust your brand through consistent communication. The basis of a good branding is your Unique Value Proposition. Think about what makes your company or brand different from the competition and make it clear in your communication. Also think carefully about who your competitors are, what they do and how they communicate. This is the only way your brand can distinguish itself.
Why is branding important?
Do you want to grow as a brand? Do you want to position and distinguish your brand from the competition? Then you need a good branding strategy. Every smart company invests in branding.
How much does branding cost?
How much you will have to pay for your branding depends on several factors. The price is influenced by:
- Whether or not to provide useful information yourself
- Which agency you work with
- The quality and completeness of your branding
Tip: don't choose the cheapest studio, choose a studio that matches your brand identity.
How do I start my branding strategy?
Before you can start with your branding strategy, you need to know how you want to appear to your target audience. For this you have to determine and record your brand identity.