What is branding, and do I need it?
Updated: Jun 17
Branding is a logo, yeah? Well I’ve got that sorted, my brother’s friends’ cat’s neighbour knocked one up for me in return for a take away a few months ago. D.O.N.E.
Noooooooooo! This is the worst thing a branding expert can hear. For your business to succeed you will likely need more than just a logo.
Your brand is what makes your business unique, it tells people how you are different to others and makes you stand out from the competition. Having a distinctive brand will create authority and establish trust with your audience… if it’s the right one! Your branding is a visual representation of this and brings your brand to life.
So what about brand identity?
Brand identity is the combination of visual elements that make up your brand. Your logo is an important part of this, and usually the starting point. However, brand identity covers many more items depending on the nature of your business.
As well as the usual suspects that nearly everyone will need - a website, social media presence, maybe business cards - other elements will depend on the function, and resulting needs, of the company.
Do you run a restaurant or bar? In that case you will no doubt need signage, menus, staff uniforms, interior colour scheme and styling. Or what about a company that sells beauty products or candles? Then your identity will be across packaging, bags and advertising campaigns. A gym or fitness company? Then you might want to offer a range of branded merchandise: clothing, sweat towels, water bottles. Items that will promote your business for you for free!
How do I approach a branding project?
Clients tell me time and again that they value the input and insight that I give them. This is because unlike most designers I won’t actually think about what you want. What?... Wait a minute! The reason why I don’t focus on my clients directly is because I am always thinking about the needs of their clients. After all that is who we are hoping to attract, engage, impress and ultimately make a sale to.
While sitting at my desk at Working Progress HQ in Bedfordshire I consider the target audience. My education covered an exciting mix of design, visual communication and psychology. This means that I naturally ask the questions that matter, enabling us to work out who your ideal client is and what will attract them. Are they predominantly male or female? Do they live in the countryside or more urban areas? What’s their star sign and favourite flavour ice cream? Ok, the last ones might be going too far but hopefully you get the idea.
But what if you already have an established identity?
Yes, it’s OK to update, refresh or change it completely. Remember Opal Fruits and Marathon? Nope? But you probably know what a Snickers is, right? As fashions change in terms of what we wear and how we have our hair cut, from Aretha’s bee hive to mullets to ‘the Rachel’, so does branding. A dated font or colour scheme definitely won’t help you to attract new clients of any demographic.
What you wear is a reflection of who you are and your business is no different. If you turned up to a formal work function in jeans you would look out of place and unprofessional. Your branding is the same. We’d recommend dressing to impress like the pooches above!
Edith Head was a multi award winning costume designer. Her most famous quote is ‘you can have anything you want in life, as long as you dress for it’ so make sure your business looks the part and attract your dream clients.
Here at Working Progress we can tailor a branding package to suit the needs of you and your business. We are happy to guide you through the creative process to create a brand that you will be proud of and that your customers will love. We have examples of some of our branding work here and here, plus some more logo and website designs on our Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn pages. Please let us know what you think!
Image: Sam Lion/Pexels