Branding is more than just what you see, it also about the experience and how your customer feels. A great analogy for describing this is an iceberg, we all know you can only see the small tip, yet below is a huge amount of ice supporting it to float.
Most people are familiar with the visuals of branding but it only works when supported by all the assorted events around it, of running a business.
You can be forgiven for thinking that a brand is just a logo, it’s what a lot of people think it is and you’re right to an extent .. it is THE thing we recognise when interacting with a business product or service. It’s how we ‘mark’ a business and there are a variety of ways to make logos. There are word marks, symbols and icons, letter marks, emblems and combinations of the above. All of these elements can make a series of logo elements that when combined provide aspects of a brand. This way you’ll have brand recognition across all platforms that you work within, ie. social media, website, printed promotional materials etc.
So there’s the logo, well that logo also has a colour or a few colours, more than likely a texture somewhere involved and may have a strapline / tagline, depending on how you personally name it. Mine is simply my services: photography, branding & design. Very simple and clear. Clarity can never be overvalued .. the ability to get a point across in a short space of time is very very valuable. It’s your elevator pitch in 5 seconds.
There’s also a business portrait, not well known as a branding move but it should be. As customers we buy from people we trust and recognise, a faceless business is just one in a million. But you, you have a story and your presence tells that story with 10,000 words in a single photo. Cliché I know, but still apt.
So all the above is what helps us visually recognise a business but what comes after is all about the soft warm fuzzy feeling we want to have. Although the cool, clinical calm of a job well done is never to be overestimated either. When interacting with a business we are seeking a solution, one that either inspires a feeling or one that removes a negative feeling and leaves us calmer, ie. removing stress. All of these feelings come from interaction with your business and that is the ‘hidden’ part, as a customer we don’t usually record a phone call dealing with a complaint, but we feel better if our complaint has been heard, appreciated for the pain it caused and resolved quickly by an excellent customer support person.
We feel great when we chuckle as a business having a sense of personality and wit, that helped us solve a problem with a smile. That is the business voice, its a living personality and outward presentation of value. Most often they can be very boring and dry, but the smaller and medium sized businesses that don’t have the thousands of voices talking internally (rather like the borg *geek humour alert*), then the ‘talk’ has a chance of vibrancy and life. Rather like how I’m writing this. I’m a person, talking to a person, I’m a business, talking to you a potential customer wanting to know about branding. It doesn’t have to be more complex than that.
A brand also shows through our website and social media consistency, do they look the same, share the same profile picture or style of ‘voice’? Do all the systems work together or disjointed. If it’s disjointed then that is a fragmented voice talking and consistency is a high priority in my book.
So in just one short blog post, you can already see that a Brand has a high visual impact, but what lasts beyond that is how we make customers feel. All of that is influence by how we interact with our customers .. so we need a smooth system to be able to talk to them in places they socialise, help them ask questions of us as a business, guide them in solving problems or providing solutions for some or all of their problem.
For me, you my reader are a potential client. You probably need help with branding a consistent voice for your business which includes its visuals. You don’t know enough tech to make your website and social media integrate smoothly, how to pre-qualify your clients using a contact form, how to build your business process so that it integrates with and is supported by your business systems.
I build websites, brands and do fabulous photography for you and your business, but what I really do is listen to your problems and provide a full business solution to help you find more paying customers. That there, is my value by integrating all the seen and unseen aspects of branding, supported by tech.