When you think of brands and branding typically the first thing that comes to mind is the graphic image, logo or trademark that identifies a business or company with that particular visual identity. Think, Nike's tick or Apple's bite marked apple for example, simple but strong graphical symbols that are the "face" the company presents to the public that becomes their identifiable mark.
But there is much more to branding that goes way beyond the surface of an instantly recognizable identifying mark or logo. There are three important elements that define a strong brand. First there's the presentation – the visual appearance, or "face" presented which makes up all of your marketing material. Secondly there's perception – this is how the public sees your business based on your presentation but also when doing business with you. Thirdly there's experience – this is about the kind of experience you want your customers to have. How you or your business makes them feel especially when engaged in business with you.
Let's look more closely at the three elements and discover how they relate to each other to create a strong brand identity.
This is about the visual elements of your business. Your logo, stationery, website, and marketing materials. It's also the style and tone of your marketing copy, communications and interactions with the public. It encompasses the services or products your business offers and how you present them. The way you conduct your business and the type of atmosphere your business cultivates is all part of the presentation package. Getting your presentation right will go along way in attracting the customers and clients you want.
How you present your business will influence the way people perceive or see your business. People will have certain expectations of your business based on how they perceive your visual and written communication. It goes without saying that if a customer's experience does not meet expectation, the resulting negative feeling towards your business will have a damage impact on your brand identity. Make sure you can live up to the image you present, be authentic in all your interactions.
The brand experience is how people feel having engaged in business with you and how the experience affects customer satisfaction and loyalty. Creating a positive emotional connection with your customer makes your brand accessible. When people can refer to your brand you gain their trust, and as long as you're genuine you will win loyal customers who will happily spread the word that your brand is one people can trust.
As you can see all three elements are interrelated to create a solid brand identity and the foundation for a successful business.
Remember that everything about your business is an advertisement.
Your brand is about who you are, what you believe, what you offer and most importantly, how you make people feel.