There are many new companies established every year, and every one of them must have effective branding in order to make an impression on potential consumers. A business would not succeed without branding since it lacks a trustworthy and dependable identity that people can trust and rely on. There are a few key elements of branding that must be taken into account.
The five main critical elements of branding are position, promise, personality, story, and associations. Smaller elements to branding include the audience, the market, and the market’s goals, and these elements are also important to consider and develop when branding.
There are a lot of important elements when it comes to branding, and we will talk about each one and the little steps you must take to fine-tune each element. This will help your business to have a better brand and overall offer a more enticing and trustworthy product or service.
What is branding?
Before we talk about all of the elements of branding, it is important to clarify what branding is and why it is even important. Branding is the whole process of giving meaning to an organisation, a product, a service, or a company. This is done by creating a brand in the consumer’s mind.
A brand is a bit different from branding. While branding is the process and all of the elements that make up the consumer’s experience, a brand is all of the elements together that the consumer associates with that product. A brand is the impression of the company, while branding is all of the elements individually.
Branding is so important to the success of any company. In short, having good branding will make your product or service much more enticing to potential customers. In the long run, however, branding will help you keep loyal customers for a business because it is familiar. A business without branding feels unfamiliar, inconsistent, and a bit untrustworthy.
Here is an example of why branding makes a successful business:
Let’s say a consumer needs to buy a cosmetic product. There are a bunch of different brands to choose from, so they purchase the item from a brand that they have heard about, or has a familiar logo or personality. Now they are even more familiar with that brand, and if they enjoy the product, then when they need a slightly different product, they are going to choose the brand that they are familiar with. Good branding has created a loyal and consistent customer.
Now that you know the difference between a brand and branding, we can introduce each of the five big branding elements and talk about why they are all essential to building a brand. As a refresher, the five elements of branding are brand position, promise, personality, story, and associations. Each of these elements is essential when creating a brand.
Brand position is the very first element of branding, and it has a huge effect on the overall branding. The brand position has a lot of different elements to it, but in general, it describes what the company or business does and who it is for. Brand position defines its main audience, its products or services, and why it is unique from other brands.
Not all products can be for people of all ages and backgrounds, so when creating a brand, it is important to establish who the audience is. Establishing a primary audience allows the company to lean into that aesthetic or demographic so it has more of a defined position. People outside of the main audience can still enjoy what the company is offering, but by picking a targeted group of consumers, a business will be more successful than if it tries to cater to everyone.
A good example of how a specific audience helps a business is a clothing store for teenagers and young adults. This clothing store caters very clearly to a younger age group. Because it is designed for that audience, a high percentage of that age group is going to purchase products from that business. There will also be a small percentage of younger and older customers. If the store had a bunch of different targeted audiences, then only a small percentage of each would shop there, as it is less appealing to any of them specifically.
Products and services
A very important part of brand positioning is deciding clearly on the kinds of products or services that a business will provide for its customers. When a company decides on a specific group of products, it creates a brand position for what it will provide. This allows for more funding to be put into the few products it sells, rather than a little funding going into a lot of different products.
This also helps make the brand more clear to the consumer as they will know that “(brand) makes really good shower products”, instead of, “(brand) makes good shower products, but their clothing isn’t that great”. This would paint the brand in only a half good light. Ideally, the products or services provided by a company will be very similar so that it is identifiable as a clothing brand, a hygiene brand, etc.
The final part of brand position is all about what makes the business unique. While branding requires a consistent audience and high-quality products or services, an important part of brand position is deciding how this business is different from the rest. This differentiation will interest new customers in the business and, if it lives up to it, they will stick around.
Some examples of differentiation used in brands are things like being all-natural (unlike others), similar products, having fast results, being cheaper or higher quality than competitors, and many other distinct factors. This marketed uniqueness is what will interest customers and will help create a more brand clarity.
The next element of branding is brand promise. A brand promise is exactly what it sounds like. It is the one thing that the business promises to provide to the customer every time they use their products or services. This promise will help bring out the unique aspects of the company that are made clear in its brand position. The difference in promise and position is that promise is one element of the product that will be consistent, while the position is a bunch of elements of the brand that will stay consistent.
A brand promise helps create a trustworthy brand that people are going to want to return to. When a business makes a brand promise, they are going to make every interaction with the customer fall in line with that promise. This helps the consumer know that every time they use that company, they are going to get the same thing out of it. It also creates an assurance for new customers because they know if the product doesn’t live up to the promise, then they can request a refund or file a complaint.
Brand personality is next on the list. Out of all of the elements of branding, this one affects those inside the brand the most. A brand personality is what the company wants to be known for. The personality is built on a bunch of different traits that the company has decided to emulate. These traits are for the employees and customers alike.
The best brand personality is about 5-7 traits long. These traits should be simple, 1-2 word adjectives that describe the company and its employees. These personality traits are what will attract new customers. If the traits exhibited by employees are good, then-current customers will describe the company with praise, which will attract new customers. The personality of a company helps ground it and makes the branding of it more consistent and trustworthy.
The next element of branding is brand story. A brand’s story is more than just its history of how it came to be—it is also what will help customers relate to the company. A narrative is a powerful tool and is used for a lot of different things, including branding. When people are told a story, they now have the context to the business. They feel included because they know the origins. A brand story tells the customer about their call to action, which invigorates the customer to purchase their product and support that call.
A brand story is a powerful tool. It tells customers about the products or services that a business offers, gives the customer context to the business, and shapes the values and traits that the company stands for.
Some examples of brand stories include: who the brand is, how and why they got into the business, the obstacles that made it more difficult, and the gaps in the market that the company fills. Narratives like these bring so many new customers to a business, making them essential to branding.
The final element of branding is brand associations. Brand associations are the things that customers associate with your brand. Examples of these associations are logos, names, taglines, fonts, colour pallets, and so on. Every brand needs associations because this is how consumers are going to recognise them. Having memorable associations will help a business stand out against others.
Brand associations are a powerful tool for any company to have. The best associations are simple, clear, and represent the company. A good logo is one of the best associations to have. If there is an image that represents your company, consumers will recognise that image and consider your company. A memorable logo will bring about a lot of business. An easy name to remember and a catchy tagline can help create recognition among consumers as well.
Like we mentioned before, the best brand associations are simple. Keeping it simple is one of the first principles when it comes to designing branding, and associations are no exception. Simple associations make it easy for the customer to read, understand, and remember a business at the times when they need the services or products they offer.
The importance of consistency
Consistency has been mentioned a few times throughout this article, but we have not really covered why it is so important to be consistent. The main reasons consistency will benefit a business are based on how consumers are persuaded to purchase products.
People like to know that the things they love will be consistent. This is especially important for businesses to understand because they need and want customers to keep returning. If a business consistently makes good products, and they are all consistently the same quality, then customers will return again and again because they like the product, and they will always know what to expect. Consistency in products or services is only one part of how it will benefit a business.
Being consistent in relationships is a major help to any business. If a company changes its logo, name, font, or tagline frequently, then there will be nothing to remember them by. A customer might have enjoyed the product or service from that company, but now that their logo has changed or the name is a bit different, they will not recognise the company and are less likely to find it again.
Being consistent in personality, promise, and position is very important too. When the overall feel of the company stays consistent, then customers will want to come back. If one year the products are intended for teenagers, and the next they are for children, then there will not be returning customers because the products do not apply to them now. Returning customers are very important for a business to have so they can count on having some business even without new customers around.
Consistency is so important in any company or business. Keeping everything consistent will help reassure customers that they can rely on the company. It keeps it recognisable and reliable, which is attractive to consumers. A consistent company with strong elements of branding will thrive.
The elements of branding are important tools for any company to have. A combination of elements will create a powerful brand that consumers can recognise and rely on. Consumers will always be looking at businesses through the elements of branding, so it is important that they are attractive, memorable, clear, simple, consistent, and trustworthy.
If you keep these elements at the front of your mind when designing your next campaign or product then you are sure to see an increase in sales because customers are able to rely on finding what they need without even needing to look around.