Branding can be a confusing topic. When I bring it up to my clients they have heard the word branding over and over again, but actually understanding its importance and what it means is a different animal. The best way I have heard it described is this: Think of your business as a person. It's logo/identity is the actual face of the person and the branding is the personality, interactions, and experiences you have with the person.
Chances are when you meet a person you might remember their face, but what you really remember is the experience you had with them. Like Becky with the good hair, you remember she had great hair but what's more memorable is she's the woman that Jay-Z cheated on Beyonce with and inspired an entire revenge album.
Boom. That's branding folks. I'm pretty much done with this blog post.
Kidding. So why is branding important to your company? Because it defines the entire customer experience, builds loyalty, and keeps your customers coming back for more. You want your customers to think of you first when they are going to purchase a product or service, so creating a memorable and great experience for them is just as important as your visual brand identity.
For example when I think of Target I think of their modern bright logo and marketing (which is a target,) but I also I think of the shiny-happy, pleasant-to-look at products and displays that have been carefully crafted for my customer experience. Or when I think about Sephora, I don't think about the elongated S mark, but I do think of the beautiful black and white bags, packaging, store displays and oxygen that can magically cure a hangover (that's a story for a different blog post.)
Your branding experience doesn't have to be physical, though it can be on your website, with your customer service, or your communication. Personally, I will pay more for a product or service just because I know that their customer service is the bomb.
My insurance company is a great example. Is my insurance that expensive? No, but I could definitely get it cheaper elsewhere. However, I know that when I was in two accidents within 3 months (neither were my fault, people!) they held my hand through the entire claims process--they even asked me how I was doing! (What? They actually cared?) They did their best to explain everything to me(#adulting anyone?) When I purchased a new car, of course I went back to them and purchased the best coverage I could afford. I will forever be loyal to this insurance company and the people in that office because they had my back when I really needed it.
You want your customers to have a unique experience when interacting with your brand. Let's take Mailchimp for (another) example. I LOVE Mail-kimp (Serial fans?) Not only do I think its easy to use, but I love the personality on their site. Such as, before you send a campaign there's a nervous chimp finger about to press the red button, and under the "Send" button it says "This is your moment of glory." After you send your campaign you get "High Fives." I love it! You can fully understand the personality of the brand just in those few steps, but this personality is carried throughout their entire user experience.
Utilize your points of contact with your customer to give personality to your brand. If you're sending an email campaign (using Mailchimp, maybe?) does your subject line have a funny and catchy line? Is the copy full of your personality? Does the visual on your ad reflect the brand positioning of your business? Does your logo reflect the personality of your brand?
The most important point to take away from this blog is that your identity and your branding experience need to work together to create unbeatable, badass, beautiful branding. Your branding should reflect the identity you have designed (or paid a designer to carefully craft one for you) and your identity should reflect the personality of the branding you've worked hard to create. Are one of these major elements not up to par? Maybe there are some small adjustments you can make to create a symbiotic relationship of branding awesomeness.
Think about unique brand experiences you have had, good or bad, and leave your comments below. Not sure where to start with developing your branding experience? Download our Brand Positioning worksheet to set a foundation for your brand experience.
If you found this blog helpful, check out these other related topics:
- 17 Tips To Help You Build Your Brand
- 3 Ideas to Improve Your Brand Experience
- Establish A Brand Voice To Ignite Your Social Engagement