What are the key elements of branding?
Updated: Sep 30
As we've seen in our previous blog post, branding is a process by which a business "creates a name, symbol or design that is easily identifiable as belonging to the company" (Branding Magazine).
Branding is fundamental to make your business unique, position it in the market and reach the right audiences. To learn more about why branding is so important for your business see our latest blog here.
So what are the key elements you should consider for your branding?
Here's the list.
1. Brand Positioning
This is where your brand is positioned in the market. It takes into account both your competitors and your audiences. To understand where your brand is positioned you need to identify your core customers as this will dictate where you are. You might also want to consider your price point and how this differentiates from your competition.
To start, draw a matrix using two categories that are most relevant for your business. On the horizontal line you can use the level of quality that your brand is offering to customers, from low to high. This will indicate the types of customers your brand is attracting.
On the vertical line you may consider your price point. Are you offering low cost or expensive products?
Once you have positioned your brand within the matrix, it is a good exercise to see where your direct competitors are positioned too.
2. Customer Segmentation
During your brand positioning exercise, start conducting a full customer segmentation. This will highlight the types of customers your brand is attracting. It will differentiate the high value to the low value ones. It's important to have in mind your overall business strategy when conducting customer segmentation as this will help you understand what types of customers you would like to attract the most.
And don't worry, discrepancies between your desired brand positioning and your customer segments are common. You might want to position your brand as high quality / high cost but you find that the majority of your customer segments are low value ones. This is where an effective marketing strategy can realign brand positioning and target customers.
Your customer segments are identified by key characteristics like purchase types, socio-demographics, interests and motivations. Once your segments are identified, define your buyer 'personas', an identikit of each type of customer. For example you may find that your high value customers are female marketing senior professionals, married with children, living in urban areas, interested in travelling and art. Your persona for this segment would be a profile of a fictitious 'Susan' with all the above characteristics. Personas will help your marketing and sales team to define the rights messaging to attract this specific audience.
3. Brand Proposition
Brand proposition is - simply put - what your brand is promising to customers.
Is quality for example the key component of your products and services? Do you want your customers to trust your brand? Then your brand proposition should be focused around trust. Or is your promise about helping customers achieving the bast value for money?
Whatever your brand proposition is, you need to communicate it clearly to your customers aiming at connecting with your audience on an emotional level as an effective proposition should have the power to turn prospects intro customers.
Advertising campaigns are usually designed around a clear brand proposition. For example, the Apple's Watch advert clearly promises a product that has more features than before at a more affordable price, going after a wider market. The strap-line is straightforward and self explanatory.
4. Brand Mission
A mission clearly communicates a brand’s purpose, its objectives and how it plans to serve its audience. It is action-oriented and gives an idea of what your business does and what impact it wants to make.
Let's look at four mission statements of well known brands.
To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful
To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together
To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy
To offer our customers the lowest possible prices, the best available selection, and the utmost convenience
You might find many more examples in an interesting article by content marketing platform ClearVoice.
5. Brand Vision
A brand vision is what your brand wants to become in the future. It's aspirational and provides clear direction. Brand vision is not centred always on commercial objectives and it provides teams and customers a purpose and a sense of belonging.
Let's see the vision statements of the four brands considered above.
To create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce
People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them
To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles
To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavours to offer its customers the lowest possible prices
6. Brand Identity
This is the visual element of your brand. It is your logo, your overall design, your colour palette, your font type and all the visual elements that make your brand unique. Your identity is the tip of the iceberg of all that your brand represents and it should be able to express visually what is your brand is all about, its vision and its personality.
Brand identity is different from brand image. Whilst the former is what consumers see, the latter is what consumer think of your brand, their perception of your brand.
7. Brand Personality
Brands also have personalities. These are a set of human traits that can be attributed to a brand (source: Investopedia). As if you would describe a friend or a family member, so you should be able to describe a brand with human characteristics.
For example, Coca-Cola - one of the most valuable and recognisable brands in the world - is someone straightforward, honest, open, happy.
Apple, a technology brand, is on the other hand aspirational, innovative, imaginative, forward thinking.
8. Tone of Voice
Finally, your brand tone of voice is how your personality, beliefs and values are communicated to your audience. This is the way you speak, the words you're using, the length of your sentences or the velocity of your speech (source: Medium).
Your tone of voice helps building an emotional connection with your audience that will ultimately lead to more consumers use and recommend your brand.
All the elements of your branding are formalised in your Brand Guidelines, a document produced by your marketing and design teams. It's your brand bible you can use to align your brand to your overall marketing strategy.
And if you're ready to discuss your branding strategy get in touch and book your free initial consultation today.