Many people today still aren’t clear on what the term branding truly encompasses and it’s time we change that. If you ask some people what branding means, you’ll get answers like a company’s logo or the colors and fonts on their websites. If you’re a business owner yourself, you’ve likely invested in a branding package at some point that included all of the above — but hopefully a lot more.
The reality, however, is that your brand is so much more than those tangible items — it’s about how your company makes people feel and the experience they have when they interact with your brand. Take Nike, for example. As an iconic, international brand, they make an easy case to define the power of branding. If someone asked you what Nike’s brand meant to you, what would you say? You wouldn’t say “checkmark” or “Just Do It.” You’d probably say that Nike inspires you and makes you feel like you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. That, my friend, is exactly what good branding does. It’s not about the logo or slogan, but about the FEELS.
Elements of a brand
So how, exactly, can a company start to create and define how they want a customer to feel when they interact with their brand? This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a great place to start. And, some of them are going to surprise you but they all play a role in shaping that customer experience.
Here are the elements of creating a brand that customers will remember:
BRAND NAME: this is the word(s) used to define your business, product, or service and we know that people are willing to pay more for things that come with iconic names, so this isn’t a decision to be made lightly.
SLOGAN: this is your one-liner, your catchphrase, your theme line — whatever you want to call it, it’s how you quickly position your brand in a memorable way to consumers through your communications.
LOGO: a visual trademark that represents your brand, your logo should be synonymous with your brand name and distinguishable enough that it can be used alone and still fully represent your company.
GRAPHICS: different from your logo, graphics are something that can be used consistently enough that they become synonymous with a brand and are recognizable without the presence of a brand name or logo — think about the red and tan plaid lining that Burberry uses as a great example of this.
SOUND: the consistent tones and sounds that consumers hear when they see your brand will help to shape your brand identity and have the potential to endlessly stay stuck in people’s heads — this can be in the form of a jingle or simply be the notes that chime for two seconds at the beginning of every video or show.
COLOR: quite possibly one of the most important elements of branding, color can be used in countless ways to create a memorable experience — it should be considered carefully for everything from your website to your retail store.
SMELL: one of our most powerful senses, smell can become a powerful branding element and isn’t only applicable to perfume — retailers, restaurants, and any in-person venue can use the sense of smell to create a memorable experience for consumers.
MOVEMENT: this is one of the more abstract elements of branding, but it’s important for products that have the ability to expand, condense, or shift — the way things consistently change back and forth is a form of visual imagery that remains ingrained in a consumer’s memory.
TASTE: if you’re making anything edible, taste will be crucial to differentiating your brand — did you know that KFC trademarked their fried chicken recipe?
SHAPE: the consistent and memorable physical shape that consumers see when they look at your brand; some great examples of this are a Coca-Cola bottle or a Volkswagon Beetle.
Creating an experience isn’t easy, but it’s the name of the game when it comes to branding. Start with these 10 elements to ensure your bases are covered and you’ll be well on your way to creating the total experience to differentiate your brand.