The purpose of branding is to create a powerful and lasting emotional connection with customers and other audiences. A brand is a set of elements or “brand assets” that in combination create a unique, memorable, unmistakable, and valuable relationship between an organization and its customers.
The brand is carried by a set of compelling visual, written and vocal tools to represent the business plan and intentions of an organization.
Branding is the voice and image that represents your business plan to the outside world. What your company, products and services stand for should all be captured in your branding strategy, and represented consistently throughout all your brand assets and in your daily marketing activities.
The brand image that carries this emotional connection consists of the many manageable elements of the branding system, including both the visual image assets and language assets:
- Core and product brand hierarchy and relationship structure
- Product names and identities
- Brand design elements: color, shapes, proprietary elements, etc.
- Intentional visual and vocal associations
- Intentional legal and tradename and trademark relationships
- Internet domain name, URL and other web resources
Executive management sets a business course and documents the organization’s plan through the creation and ongoing adjustments to a business plan. The means to create a communications structure to enable this Business Plan to be articulated is through the creation of a companion Branding Strategy.
This process of managing the brand to the business plan is important not only in “big change situations” where brand redefinition is required, but also in the management of routine marketing variables and tactics.
This does not have to be a “ground-up” situation where there are wholesale changes to the business. Rather it is more common that specific changes to the business plan are incremental and the work of the brand strategist and designer is to interpret these changes and revise the branding strategy and resulting brand assets and define their use in the full range of marketing variables.
Measuring Brand Effectiveness
There are many metrics to measure the potential of and actual effectiveness of brands. The simplest means is to apply the concept of what we call the 4 D’s of Branding™; differentiation, distinctiveness, defendable, “digit-able.” An effective and powerful brand must measure-up in all 4 areas.
- Distinctiveness: your brand should be distinct when compared to all spoken and visual communications to which your target audiences will be exposed. The more unique and distinct your communications, the wider the field of effective competitive strength it will have. There are simple means to apply to test the distinctiveness of your brand. Ask us!
- Differentiation: the brand strategy and brand assets must set your offering apart and clearly articulate the specific positioning intent of your offering.
- Defendable: you will be investing in creating your brand assets and in all cases your brand must have proprietary strength to keep others from using close approximations. This applies to your trade names and other proprietary words as well as to your logos, symbols and other visual assets.
- Digit-able: in most businesses there is strong and growing element of electronic communications and commerce that dictate that all brand assets be leveraged effectively in tactile and electronic forms. This goes for all brand assets.