Branding, as I understand it, involves the design of all consumer touch points from customer service through to their digital experience online. It elevates companies into corporations and can influence our consumer spending. Many companies will misunderstand the term “branding” and assume it’s just the logo design.
An icon can be picked up anywhere nowadays. Stock vector logo sites come up all the time. It’s all meaningless without a physical corporate guide, a document outlining your corporate differentiating factor in the marketplace. (like Apple)
Long ago in college, my new media instructor took us on a field trip to some gardens. At the time I admit we all thought he was a little nutso but he was right about one thing:
To create this guide or any piece of design work really, is to walk some one through your garden. Introduce them to everything using their senses. It involves using the creative tactics of show not tell. To create a brand, is to create an immersive world to which all designs spring from.
The visual brand details things like logo design, fonts, imagery, what not to do with your logo, and everything it takes to make your brand have a consistent look and feel. This is the fun part and it’s important that all visual touchpoints remain consistent.
People are getting bombarded with messages all the time. To be heard through the crowd friends on what type of messaging you are giving out and if it is consistent. My fiancé recently updated the interface on his Ford Edge himself via a download from Ford’s website. When he encountered the hardware compatibility issue he went to the dealership only to be informed that the release wasn’t out yet. A negative and inconsistent experience such as mis-information can turn people away from your brand and can severely effect your reputation.
This is really the sixth sense people have with your brand. How do you want your customers to empathize with your brand? Do you want to express excitement (Leons) or longing (lava life)? Many people define their buying decisions based on the vibe they get from the place. If it’s uncomfortable for them, they will sense it and leave.
It’s really an important piece of the puzzle. It helps build trust in your company, which unfortunately many businesses neglect. The potential of this allows you to compete against the big corporations if the consumer “pie” is to be shared. In the words of a person I heard on the radio during this week’s London Olympics, “Go big or go home”.