What is Branding?
Branding is an essential element to any business, the personality and identification of a product. It is a process for a company to build a brand image and have it recognized by the public, and there are many elements involved to create and sustain it. Brands do not necessarily have to be designated to one particular product, but instead can encompass a range of products made by one company, all of which share a certain standard of quality or some other characteristic. A well-established brand should evoke a sensory association, starting with visuals.
Essential elements of a brand include a name, logo, and color scheme. A name, such as Apple, is one that brings to mind several products under one overarching company – from iPod, to iPad, iMac, and iPhone. Apple’s logo is simple: the image of an apple. For this reason, and because the company is already extremely well recognized, Apple does not need to include their name in the logo; the image itself stands for the brand. Other companies, like Coca Cola, use a logo that is only the name of their brand, without an image. With this type of logo, the font is what makes the logo recognizable. A branding best practice is to place the logo everywhere possible – from company mailers, to packaging, advertising, business cards, and of course the product itself. Beyond the visuals, a brand often includes some kind of audial designation, either a catchphrase or sound that evokes recognition of the product. Tag lines describe the product or call a consumer to action, or both, like Subway’s slogan Eat fresh. Jaws capitalized on only a sound; one cannot hear a two note, half step progression without thinking of the shark attack movie franchise. Other companies, like Southwest Airlines, use a combination of a sound and a catchphrase which was repeated over and over again in commercials over the years.
Brands include other elements, like the particular design of a product (Volkswagen Beetles), scents (Chanel No. 5), or other characteristics (Rice Krispees snap, crackle, and pop). There is a nearly limitless number of ways to create a brand, but some essential characteristics are that the brand evokes a positive sentiment about the product or products, it is easily recognizable across platforms, and it in some way connects with a value of the company or a specific characteristic.
With all of these elements and a quality product, a company can build trust among consumers. Once trust has been established, a company can grow their brand to encompass other products, or spread to other markets, demographics, or countries. This requires a lot of caution, because expanding outside of an original purpose or place means adaptation, and this adaptation must not interfere with the integrity of the brand. In the end every element of a brand must be carefully decided upon, so that all work together to create the most positive and successful image and perception possible.