Recently Branding is a controversial issue between designers, marketers, and business owners.
Branding is not a new concept, but has existed for ages, since the time of Pharaohs and Assyrians. Where they used “Marking”/”symbols” to denote ownership and to distinguish the products they were making at the time. It, then developed, not only to show that: "this is my property”, but also to say: "this is a product made by me”. Later with the industrial revolution the concept of brand development was there to better distinguish the producers to their customers. Competitions at that time were a fundamental role in developing the concept. To rectify the modern connotations of that concept, they referred to it as not only visual identities, but also as a whole tangible integrated identity in the minds of the clients, linked with emotions, experience and impressions. However, the modern definition has changed very much. Here are some definitions collected carefully
- “Brands are built on what people are saying about you, not what you’re saying about yourself.” ~ Guy Kawasaki
- “Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” ~ AMA
- “Branding is not building a temple; it is about creating a religion/a system of believe.” ~
- “Brand is your spontaneous reputation that comes to minds of people when hearing your
name.” ~ Yazan Alterkawi
There are four main components for a brand, starting with the brand promise within the values of the brand, then ending with the elements and the visual identity.
Values are the spirit, the essence, and the (DNA) of an organization. They determine the direction, aims, and clients of the organization. Values are answers to the questions: "Who are you? What do yo do? And what do you provide?". They are the core that the company must strive to keep safe.
Is the set of human characteristics associated with an identity. They cover all genders, social classes, social status, and all emotional and psychological conditions.
It is a set of features in a product or service which distinguish it from others. The reason for their existence may be for either the product itself or its source or company.
Elements are very important fundamentals in brand identities. But each one of them alone is not a brand. However all of them combined are a huge part of a brand. They are very important in helping build a brand equity in people’s mind. (Name, Logo, Slogans, Characters, Symbols, Internet Address, Packaging, ETC) These are all brand elements that can be used anywhere they are needed. To have strong brands, these elements must be memorable, meaningful, representative, likable, transferable, adaptable, and protectable.
So, How Are Brands Built? Brand building is definitely a long process. However, the ongoing effort will result in establishing long-term relationships with your customers. The progress of building a brand needs a long term strategy in which the board members/business owners work with the whole team with a firm vision to create the right brand for them, and to get the results they want. First, you determine the audiences. Then, define the branding mission statement, then make an outline for the key qualities & benefits your brand offers. Focus on the qualities and benefits that make your company unique, and make sure to show the values and “Points of Difference”. Creating a great brand logo and visual identity is not less important than the other steps that make the visual identity of a company. It is the face of it that all the people see; and people usually judge on appearances.
Combining all that has been mentioned above will give a distinctive position to a brand in the market and in the clients’ mind. Positioning relies on research, content, advertising, and mainly on the brand promise. These four parts are the base that the brand stands on and start from. They are the building foundations that might not be visible to the public, but are what the building could not exist without.
For positioning your brand, you have to be distinctive between all of the endless brands in the market. So, there must be points that differentiate your brand from others, and you must spot the fundamental associations that other brands have and provide them in your brand. To put it simple, Points of Parity (POPs): are qualities that you share with competitive brands deemed to be excellent. These POPs won’t win you business, but the absence of points of parity could cause you to see customer churn. While, Points of Distinction (PODs): are attributes, behaviors, or qualities that make you stand out from your competitive set.
Last but not least, branding is building enjoyable and beneficial experiences for your clients. This requires you to understand the target segment of your brand, and to reach out and tell them about your brand's promise attributed anywhere, and always.