Common Branding Terms & What They Mean For Your Business
You’ve probably heard the word “branding” used in tons of different contexts. Terms like brand, brand identity, and brand image get thrown around quite frequently and can be quite confusing.
You think you just need a logo and then you’re good to go, but you keep seeing color palettes and mood boards galore and your head is spinning.
Don't get overwhelmed, because we're going to settle this once and for all so you'll know exactly what to ask for, what you need, and what you'll ultimately receive if you decide to work with a Brand Designer.
Let’s get to demystifying the common branding terms, shall we?
A brand is not just one thing, but the combination of design, strategies, voice, values, and so on that create an experience that has possesses the power to communicate and influence your audiences perception of what it is that you do. Think of it as a tree. Without each element (branch) and the smaller groupings of aspects of those elements (twigs and leaves) there would be no tree, it would just be a stump. And you don’t want your brand to be a stump, you want to be the biggest, most luscious tree (ahem, brand) you can be!
Branding is the strategic process in which an entire brand is born. During this process, certain elements and aspects are crafted carefully and intentionally in order to create a specific perception for a particular party (aka audience). These elements range from brand identity (vision, voice, values), target audience, and more.
Re-branding means that your existing brand isn’t working so you need a new one. Your current brand may not be working for many reasons, maybe you DIYed when you first started, changed your target market, removed or even added services or product types. Many businesses do eventually go through a re-brand, it happens (seriously, even the big guys like Apple and Starbucks!). Over time businesses can change direction and this may cause a disconnect with the existing brand, but this is nothing a well strategized re-branding can’t handle. You’'ll go through the same process as regular branding but your previous branding will be assessed to identify misalignments.
Your personality makes you you, right? Same goes for your business. It is through the process of branding that you will build a brand identity in which essentially crafts a persona for your entire brand. Your brand identity is made up of smaller pieces like your style (visual appearance), vision, values, voice and more; similar to the characteristics that come together to form you and who you are as a person. The more distinct, specific, consistent, and cohesive these are, the higher the likelihood that they will shape a unique brand that is relatable, connectable, and admired.
Your brand image is essentially the perception of your brand and/or product(s) by your audience. These perceptions involve personal experiences, impressions, feelings, and knowledge that they may have about your business (You know that feeling you get when something just feels right? Or that gut feeling you get when something doesn’t feel right? These are the types of personal perceptions that we’re talking about). Although, a brand image isn’t an element you can completely control as it is pure consumer perception, but it is something that you can strategize to achieve through proper branding.
Your brand’s vision should essentially be your why and where. Why did you start your business? Where do you see it going? When you put meaning behind what you do and a greater goal in place to strive towards it gives you purpose. When there’s purpose, there’s motivation and that’s how you’ll make the most impact with your brand.
You personally have values that you stick to, your business can share these same values or even have separate values for its own. These are things that you stand for and believe in as a brand. By creating and communicating these beliefs, you create both an attraction and a stronger connection with the audience that shares those same values.
Every person has a voice, and whether you realize it or not, every brand has a voice too. A brand voice is the form of communication used in order to attract your ideal audience. The way your brand speaks on all platforms can make or break the love language you want to have with them. For example, if you’re a trendy clothing brand looking to attract middle-aged men, you wouldn’t use sweet tone and words like “hun” to draw them in right? That would just be confusing (and a bit weird tbh). Tones and terms are taken into consideration when creating a brand voice. You want to make sure when your brand hops on that soap box and gets to talkin’, you and your audience speak the same language and understand each other so you can clearly communicate your message to them.
Visuals (aka Visual Identity or Brand Style)
This is literally the visual appearance of your brand. This is crafted during the branding process and includes elements like logos, color palette, typography, patterns, textures, photography, and more. These are usually displayed in the form of a brand style guide which is a short and sweet little guide that shows you your brand’s visuals all together.
A logo is a branding asset that is developed with your brand identity in attempt to shape your brand image. This can be in the form of an icon, written words, or combination of both that tell people your brand name and help to visualize what your business is all about. In the grander scheme of things, a logo is a key element of a brands identity. It helps build brand recognition and should convey elements of your brand’s personality and values. However, a logo on its own is not your brand. The words “logo” and “brand” are most often used interchangeably, however they are not the same, as your logo is only just a small (but still important) part of your brand.
Understanding the difference between these common branding terms can be all sorts of overwhelming, so we hope that clears up any confusion you might have!
Looking to step up you business with some impactful and intentional branding? We’d love to work with you!
Have questions about aspects of a brand or what a branding process is like? Ask us your burning questions below!
Grab a glass of wine and get cozy in your favorite spot while you tackle my 9 Signature Brand Principles your business needs in order to be successful. This is the exact Brand Blueprint I use with my 1:1 coaching clients!