We live in a fast and noisy world. Every day there are thousands of companies competing for our attention from the moment we wake up. In the modern business world it’s challenging to stand out and be heard amongst this noise with Fortune 500 companies dominating markets, startups launching at lightning pace to disrupt the status quo, and every type of business in between all fighting to be noticed. To stand out from this crowd companies need to be unique and recognizable by customers. A strong brand is essential to give customers an anchor to attach their experiences to feelings about a company and grow its business.
The term “brand” has become very common to hear when discussing companies or products but it is often misconstrued. People often think of a company’s logo when talking about a brand but that is only one aspect of the entire experience. An effective brand speaks to who the company is, not what it creates or provides.
As business becomes more personalized people want to feel like they’re doing business with other people, not a faceless entity. Active and deliberate branding lets the personality of a company stand out and establish trust and credibility with target audiences by delivering on its promise through consistent visual and emotional messaging. Unforgettable brands aren’t built overnight.
So, if a brand isn’t just a logo or a product, what is it? The Business Dictionary defines a brand as a unique combination of symbols, words, designs employed to create an image that identifies and differentiates a product from its competitors and over time becomes associated with a certain level of quality and credibility in a customer’s mind. By standing behind certain ideals and values a brand provides a platform for customers to align themselves with in a crowded marketplace.
There are several key components in any successful brand that all work together to identify a business and tie in to its promise:
Any business is driven by a mission and has well-defined goals to solve specific problems. The executive messaging gets to the core of the brand and carves out why the business exists. The company needs to set priorities and align itself with values at the beginning so that everyone moving forward knows the direction the company is going and the personality it is presenting. When creating a brand these details are necessary so that the team can ensure that it elicits a specific emotional response at every touchpoint.
Once the foundation is laid it is important to then research the target markets and analyze competitors to understand how to properly position the brand so that it stands out and attracts business. The brand strategy takes all this research and determines the best way to combine visual ideas with specific messaging and practices that will create a marketable experience that lasts and properly conveys the why behind the company.
Easily the most recognizable and memorable component of a brand is its visual identity, or who the company is. The visual identity is how the company represents itself to customers and is where unique aspects like the logo, color palette, media, advertising, fonts, language, all come together to attract attention and create a lasting impression. A good visual identity presents the brand consistently and memorably in a way that increases brand awareness in target markets. It is the personality of the brand.
The visual aspect alone does not allow a customer to form a complete feeling or opinion of a brand. They need to interact with the brand and experience the product or service it is offering to form a full picture and determine if it meets their expectations and aligns with their values. Every touch point and effective interaction a person has with the brand the more it will stay present in their minds and the more loyalty they will have to it. The brand experience is the opportunity for a company to present how its brand uniquely serves the target audience.
Meticulously combing through these components is what we know as the branding process. It is crucial to get right at the start to create a lasting impression in customers’ minds. It’s a very challenging and time-consuming process that often involves hiring a branding or creative agencies to work through it. These companies specialize in understanding the business and markets of their clients and in creating a strategy that results in a unique identity which delivers on the clients’ promise to their customers.
At Decent Labs we partner with early-stage startups and founders to understand their vision and build them an identity and product that aligns with their goals. We work closely with them to take their idea and turn it into an effective business and brand strategy that will enable them to get ahead of their competition. Our process carefully addresses each component in building a brand to ensure our partners walk away with a market-ready product that creates a lasting impression.
If you have a product or an idea you want to effectively bring to market just answer a few questions for us and we will get started to ensure the right people know who you are and not just what you do.
Part 2 of this article will take a deeper look into our branding process here at Decent Labs and the essential role it plays in building a product.