Anatomy of a Brand
Let’s talk about branding. We could fill a book with all of our thoughts on the subject (spoiler alert: we’ve got lots of opinions), but because there are a lot of competing definitions and approaches to creating a successful brand, we’re going to start with the basics.
What’s in a brand?
When you hear the word “brand” what comes to mind? Logos, right? When we think of successful brands like Nike, we can even visualize the iconic swoosh logo in our heads—that’s the mark of a strong brand. But can you tell me what Nike’s brand colors are? Or the fonts Nike uses? Are you able to describe their brand voice or explain why you always just know when you’re looking at a Nike ad—even before you see the logo?
The point is, there’s so much more to a brand than just a logo. There should be strategy and thought behind every aspect of your brand, because it plays a critical role in setting you apart from your competition.
So let’s break it down
We approach branding in two distinct parts: strategy & creative. Here’s a high-level breakdown of what each part involves:
Whether you’re creating a totally new brand or evolving an existing brand to be more modern or effective, it’s important to understand how people recognize and perceive your brand. This includes defining who/what your brand is and how you want to convey that information to consumers. It’s an important first step to developing a cohesive, impactful brand.
Brand positioning simply refers to how your brand fits into the market. In order for your brand to make an impression, you must first clarify what you do, why it matters and how you stack up against the competition. By clearly conveying points of differentiation, you’ll be able to position your brand ahead of others to ensure success.
All brands should have a distinct personality and voice. Beyond ensuring all brand messaging is consistent across the board, this is just another way to set yourself apart from your competition. Some brands incorporate humor into their personality, others take a more straight-forward or educational approach. Developing a voice for your brand involves determining word choice and tone to clearly and effectively communicate your messages.
A strong brand doesn’t just have a great logo. It has several great logo versions that are designed to be used in various ways across the brand. From a full-color logo with a tagline or simple, graphic mark, to a reversed-out logo version (all white) created specifically to be used on colored backgrounds—you need options.
Selecting colors to represent your brand may seem trivial (“They’re just colors!”), but a great creative team understands the importance of drawing on color theory to present your brand in the most effective light. This process may be influenced by the industry you’re in, your competition, the personalities behind the brand, the products/services you sell, how you intend for your brand to be perceived by others, and much more.
Fonts aren’t what they used to be. Today, there are so many unique, interesting fonts to choose from, you’ve got plenty of options when it’s time to decide which ones best represent your brand. And there’s truly a craft to making the selection, so working with a creative team who understand your brand is crucial.
Photography + Creative Assets
In addition to the basics, a good brand package includes a myriad of additional assets to be used across the board—from photography direction and illustrations to creative patterns and elements that complement the brand. These assets are used to present a cohesive visual presence that promotes brand recognition across all applications.
The most important thing to remember when you’re creating or evolving a brand is that the end goal is to clearly communicate competitive offerings to consumers through content and design. Engaging a seasoned creative team to accomplish this is a critical first step in building a brand that takes your vision to the next level.
Ready to talk all things branding with our amazing team of creatives and strategists? Start the conversation!