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🏢 Companies
Branding

Updated at 2015-01-17 00:30

Your brand isn't what you say it is. Your brand is what other people tell their friends it is. Affecting what they say about you is branding.

This note is about branding and is related to company culture, company vision and naming.

Brand is a name, term, symbol, design or combination that identifies goods or services of one provider from other provider. It's mean to reassure customer about consistency of quality.

A company has one or multiple brands.
A brand has one or multiple products/services.
A products/service cannot have multiple brands.

Branding is a lot more than just creating a visual identity. Branding is the art of becoming known, likable and trustable. Brand can be seen as a measure and type of reputation. Logos are only symbols that remind about the brand.

Branding can be applied to almost anything. Companies have their own brand but each product that company produces may also have their own brand. People can also have their own brand, which is well seen with celebrities.

Sustainable brand requires active work. Brand must produce, communicate and capture value to become a sustainable brand.

  • Producing Value: brand must offer something relevant to the customer.
  • Communicating Value: brand must be able to communicate the produced value to the customer.
  • Capturing Value: brand must be able to produce return of investment to the owners.

Brands has a strong placebo effect. On blind tests, westerners can rarely tell Pepsi from Coke. But if the brands are told, most westerners prefer "Coke", even if it's Pepsi. It's the same with wine. Only educated wine drinkers can tell a difference between $10 and $90 wine but to a layman, that $90 bottle sure as hell tastes better after they hear the price.

Do branding as late as possible. Aim to make it right the first time. Rebranding is expensive, time consuming and confusing for people. But it can be right decision if the previous reputation really sucks.

Start by going with your gut. Be open with feedback from others inside your company.

1. Create a clear, concise and simple brand promise.
2. Be consistent with your messages and actions.

There are three key elements in branding: focus, values and personality. All must align with the focus and values of the company. Otherwise the brand cannot be taken seriously.

Brand Target        = What is the thing you offer that provides value.
Brand Focus         = For who you do what you do.
Brand Values        = Why you do what you do.
Brand Personality   = How you do what you do.

Brand Focus

If you had a brain tumor, would you hire neurosurgeon or general practitioner?

Brand focus is a subset of company vision.

Brand focus is your target audience and problem domain. You will never please everybody and you will rarely offer services for everybody.

Copywriting market is too broad focus.
Copywriting for small businesses that sell tractors is good focus if there
is a market.

Good focus makes it easier to find the brand. Focus makes it clear for who you are offering your services and products.

Brand Values

Apple: different, luxurious, cool.

Windows: efficient, affordable, conservative.

Brand values are a subset of company culture values.

Brand values are what the brand stands for. Be clear what your brand should stand for.

Brand values helps your brand against competition. People choose products by the value the product delivers. People choose brands by values the brand stand for and according to the symbolic value of the brand.

Efficient   <->     Friendly
Fun         <->     Functional
Eco         <->     Cheap

Communicate your brand values clearly. Do not teach your employees strict scripts to speak, educate them the values. Make sure your partner companies understand your values.

# Create swag that supports your company values.
Educational Software => Distribute notebooks with your logo on them.

Brand Personality

Marlboro: masculine

Virginia Slims: feminine

Brand personality affects how you interact with customers, e.g. copywriting and marketing.

Experience vs. Conservative
    Organizing bungee jumping or cocktail parties?
Energetic vs. Focused
    Advertisements with people dancing or well thought story?
Tidy vs. Dirty
    Lumberjacks or suits?
Family vs. Business
    Family-oriented or business-oriented?
Fun vs. Formal
    Is your web site copywriting quirky/fun or cold/efficient?

Brand personality must align with the brand values. There are some personalities that go better with specific brand values.

You value fun and experience.
    => Your personality should be energized and carefree.

Brand personality is usually build over time. But it still helps to plan for it.

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